Takiwasi: Addiction treatment in the “Singing House”
In the treatment of addiction at the Takiwasi Centre in Peru, a therapeutic integration of traditional Amazonian and Western techniques has been pioneered for over 20 years, yet there is surprisingly little data available on within-treatment patient effects. Between 2014-2015, I conducted an observational pilot study combining biological, psychological, and anthropological methods with the aim of understanding Takiwasi’s treatment approach, as well as measuring within-treatment patient change. I collected cortisol samples on a monthly basis, administered a battery of repeated-measures psychological tests, and carried out ethnographic fieldwork over a 10 month period. Grouped results indicate an absence of harm and positive therapeutic change for the majority of patients. The ethnographic fieldwork process also raised some interesting questions regarding the therapeutic use of traditional medicines.
David O’Shaughnessy is a PhD candidate from the James Cook University medical school in Townsville, Australia. His background is in psychology (GDip, Hons; Adelaide University), although his current doctoral work at James Cook draws on anthropology, psychology, and biology in order to understand the evolution of patients undergoing treatment for addiction at the Takiwasi Centre in Peru. The results of the study will be presented at ICPR 2016.