There are a lot of people drinking ayahuasca, A LOT OF PEOPLE.
If you are reading this, you likely are, will be or want to be one of those people. But what good is ayahuasca actually doing for people? Yes, some people report that the experiences were “healing” and “transformative”, but just because you feel something was healing doesn’t mean you are a better person or that it has changed you at all.
Increasingly, a prevalent theme is emerging in the discussion, research and practice of ayahuasca. It could be summarised as the ceremony is only as helpful as the integration practice is effective. This is to say that the process or practice of integration is a crucial element of the healing capacity of the ayahuasca experience. Otherwise, we may just go back to our regular lives, slightly alienated from our friends and family due to their (likely) complete ignorance or even discomfort as to what we went through when we drank ayahuasca, and eventually, alienated from what the experience itself offered. Without good integration, we may even become traumatised by our experiences with that lack of support (which was the case for me back in 2014).
But what does ayahuasca integration mean and how do we do it? This is the question our guest for this episode, Rachel Harris PhD has been exploring intensely through research, clinical practice, and her own direct experiences.
Rachel Harris, PhD, although retired now, was a practising psychotherapist for 35 years. She received a National Institutes of Health New Investigator’s Award, has published more than forty scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals, and has worked as a psychological consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the United Nations. She is also the author of the book Listening to Ayahuasca.
She is on the show to talk about her research with ayahuasca and what integration means, however, a very interesting tangent-at-depth emerged during the conversation between her and I… hearing voices! In particular, hearing the voice of ayahuasca in your head as though it were an entity of external agency and intelligence, during and after the ceremony. To say that this is a dicey topic in the realms of conventional psychiatry and psychology, might be an understatement, but include in that fact that Rachel herself proposes to hear this voice and it was what guided her along her groundbreaking research, and we have thoroughly entered the medical and academic fringe.
I very much enjoyed this connection with Rachel Harris and trust that you will too.
Thanks for listening. Enjoy.
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- Research foundations, extent, and observations.
- Relating to the spirit of ayahuasca.
- Hearing voices: religious or psychosis?
- God as an attachment relationship
- Ayahuasca as the perfect therapist.
- Criticisms of biological psychiatry’s approach to mental illness.
- Differentiating psychosis from spiritual awakening.
- Dark entities and entity attachment.
- Spiritual bypassing and spiritual materialism
- Integration: theories and practicalities.
- The importance of community transparency and social relationships in the integration process.
- Tips for finding safe and supportive ayahuasca experiences.
Here you will find more info about Rachel and her book, Listening To Ayahuasca. You will also find other interviews and videos with Rachel and a contact page to connect with her.
If you are struggling with making sense of an ayahuasca or other psychedelic-type experience and need support, or would like to get some support and info for an upcoming experience, you can schedule a private Skype call with me. Details here.
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