Psychedelic Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.” – Peter Levine
PTSD develops after we experience a traumatic event. The event is so jarring, unexpected, and painful that we become terrified that it may happen again, and we recreate ourselves in attempts to avoid this pain. Encounters with death, sexual aggression, violence, and war are common experiences that can trigger the development of PTSD.
PTSD is more common than you might expect, with 7-8% of the US population experiencing PTSD at some point in their lives. While we often think of the combat veteran who experienced life and death situations or witnessed the violent death of a friend or teammate, PTSD can develop from:
- Car collisions
- Natural disasters
- Childhood abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual violence
Where there is PTSD, there are unfelt emotions and a rigid protective structure ensuring that the violent or threatening episode is not repeated, no matter how these adapatations might impact the life and vitality of the individual. At the core of PTSD is a need for safety and trust, something our team at Within takes great care in curating.
PTSD and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy
PTSD is the one of the most well-studied conditions utilizing psychedelic therapies. The work the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has undertaken, particularly in relationship to combat veterans experiencing PTSD, has earned a great deal of scientific acclaim and media attention. MDMA-assisted therapies are substantially more effective than current pharmacological and psychotherapeutic strategies. The trust, safety, and connection emphasized by the MDMA experience permits the client to re-explore the traumatic event from a new perspective with the help of an attentive and empathic guide. These changes extend past the realm of personal experience and phenomenology, with structural differences observed in the repatterning of neural circuits such as the default mode network, among others.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions have the potential to significantly enhance an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, leading to noticeable improvements even after just a single session. By engaging in comprehensive processing of traumatic experiences and subsequent resolution, individuals with PTSD often uncover an inner wellspring of strength and resilience that they can tap into for future support.
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