While many in the psychedelic community might argue that there is no “bad trip,” only “challenging trips” – the potential harm from psychedelic trauma is real. Here we discuss the ways of addressing negative outcomes from psychedelic ceremony.
Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder is a clinical psychologist with 20+ years of investigating the therapeutic potential of the ritual use of psychedelic plants.
In this brief interview (watch below) captured at the World Ayahuasca Conference in Girona, Spain, Anja shares what to do if a psychedelic ceremony leaves you traumatized, feeling messed up, and struggling with PTSD months later.
Anja describes how a bad psychedelic experience can leave you with real trauma that looks a lot like the symptoms of PTSD: including insomnia, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Not only that, but it’s also totally possible to have lasting trauma from a psychedelic experience even without preexisting mental health conditions. This is a fact that is sometimes overlooked in the psychedelic community.
Someone who’s had a traumatic psychedelic experience needs therapy of some kind – whether that is integration therapy, psychotherapy, body work, breathwork or some form of combination therapy, will depend on the person’s situation. People sometimes even need antipsychotic medications or sleeping pills.
Watch to learn:
- Why a qualified guide is absolutely essential for vulnerable people entering psychedelic plant medicine experiences
- Some of the distinct advantages of Western facilitators serving Western seekers
- A simple, efficient way to know if an indigenous healer is qualified or a charlatan
- How a psychotherapist approaches reintegration of a person who was traumatized during an ayahuasca ceremony
About Anja Loizaga-Velder
Anja Loizaga-Velder, PhD, is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist who has been investigating the therapeutic potential of the ritual use of psychedelic plants for over twenty years, in collaboration with indigenous healers. She holds an MA degree in Psychology from the University of Koblenz/Landau, a PhD in Medical Psychology from the Heidelberg University in Germany, and is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Health Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Anja is a founding member and director of research and psychotherapy of the Nierika Institute for Intercultural Medicine in Mexico and is an adjunct professor and researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where she researches the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in intercultural therapeutic settings. She is involved in the first comprehensive field research project on the therapeutic use of ayahuasca to treat addictions, the Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project (ATOP) as well as in the collaborative research project: “The role of ceremonial ayahuasca use and the healing of eating disorders: A qualitative study.” She works as a psychotherapist with humanistic and transpersonal orientation in her private practice.
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