McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
psychedelic, trauma, healing, ayahuasca, psychotherapy, DMT, phenomenology, IPA, medicine, challenging
Psychedelic medicine is a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm with potentially significant clinical applications. This study contributes to an understanding of the aspects of challenging psychedelic experiences that may contribute to therapeutic outcomes. Interview and written data from five participants about their challenging Ayahuasca experiences was analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The results of this analysis revealed a phenomenological structure of challenging psychedelic experiences consisting of a change process that moved the participants from a sense of disconnection to a sense of connection with themselves, others, nature and the cosmos. Findings from the study suggest that challenging psychedelic experiences may be therapeutic when they involve emotional and somatic processing and release of past traumas in the context of a multi-layered relational network. These factors are combined to form a Relational Healing Model that may be used as a guide for clinicians supporting clients as they prepare for and integrate psychedelic experiences.
guthrie, l. (2021). A Phenomenology of Challenging Psychedelic Experiences: From Relational Trauma to Relational Healing (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/2011