Effective factors of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of addictions in the psychotherapeutic context
In Takiwasi Center in Peru, drug addicts are treated by a combination of psychotherapy and traditional medicine of the Amazon, in which the use of psychedelic brew known as ayahuasca plays a pivotal role. The aim of the study was to identify effective therapeutic factors of ritual ayahuasca use and explore the interactions between ayahuasca use and psychotherapy. The research had a qualitative design. The sample consisted of ten patients enrolled in a long-term addiction treatment program in Takiwasi. The data were collected primarily through in-depth interviews, as a complementary source about 150 reports from ayahuasca and psychotherapeutic sessions were used. The study identified a variety of effective factors of ayahuasca sessions. Some are already known from psychotherapy, others are specific to ayahuasca use. Psychotherapy has a specific role in the context of ayahuasca sessions and can help to maximize the benefits arising from the psychedelic experience.
Rita Kočárová is psychologist working as a sitter and researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health in the team where effect of psilocybin is studied on healthy volunteers. She is also a chief coordinator and co-founder of Czech Psychedelic Society and trainee of Gestalt therapy. In her work, she focuses on change of values after use of psychedelics, therapeutic and heuristic use of psychedelic drugs in the 60´s and nowadays. She stayed as an intern in Takiwasi Center in Peru in 2014, where psychotherapy and psychoactive plants are used to rehabilitate drug addicts.