Psychospiritual Integration of an Ayahuasca Retreat Experience
Ayahuasca is an entheogen that has been used for several thousand years by the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle for healing, learning, and divination. This research was conducted at neo-shamanic ayahuasca retreats in Brazil that were led by a transpersonal psychotherapist. The retreats were conducted without the overlay of a religious doctrine or a particular cosmology. Twenty-two international (English-speaking) retreat participants completed quantitative and qualitative assessments on a conﬁdential website using a repeated measures design. This study investigated how an ayahuasca retreat experience was psychologically integrated. An ayahuasca experience can bring about a transcendent or peak experience. Maslow felt that peak experiences, in themselves, were life changing and valuable. A transcendent experience can lead to a whole range of phenomena, from a spiritual emergence that is positive and transformational to a spiritual emergency that is regressive and overwhelming. Integration of the experience is essential for spiritual, psychological, and physical health. If the experience creates a crisis for the person, the integration process cannot begin until the acute symptoms of the crisis are stabilized. If the ego is not developmentally mature enough, an altered state experience can precipitate a traumatic reaction. In this research the ayahuasca retreat experience was associated with positive affective changes in the Big Five Inventory (BFI). There was strong evidence that attending an ayahuasca retreat was correlated with a decrease in Neuroticism and an increase in Agreeableness. The stability of personality traits has been debated in contemporary psychology, but most psychologist feel that they are ﬁxed in adulthood. This study indicates that an ayahuasca retreat experience may be powerful enough to positively effect personality traits in adulthood.
This video is from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference taking in place in San Jose, California on April 15-18, 2010. The conference was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation.
This video was produced by Green Fuse Media, contact Nathan at email@example.com.
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