10:00am - 10:30am
Track 1: Auditorium
In Conversation with a Recipient of Psychedelic Therapy Integrated with a Contextual Behavioural Therapy Approach for Complex Trauma
Diana sought support in preparing and integrating her own psychedelic healing. She now volunteers to speak out about the benefits of psilocybin truffles followed by a trauma-focused integration therapy.
In preparation, we considered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy practices such as the ‘reverse compass’ for leaning into emotional pain and self‐as‐perspective for noticing and exploring negative views of self and shame. Diana then traveled to the Netherlands with a trusted friend to experience psilocybin in a safe context with music chosen to support her. Into her first ceremony she took the questions: ‘Why do I always feel like a burden?’ and ‘Would the world be a better place without me?’
Integration sessions included much imaginal exposure for both specific incidents and long periods of childhood trauma, as well as a new ACT-consistent ‘Spectrum of Selves’ model (Whitfield, submitted) that integrates parts work (IFS) with Self-perspective taking as understood in Contextual Behavioural Science. It appears as though the psychedelic experience enhanced Diana’s ability to confront and process her extended childhood and adolescence of complex trauma memories that came from abusive relationships, neglect, and chronic illness throughout her upbringing.
After 23 therapy sessions and two psychedelic ceremonies, Diana reflects “I feel like an adult now. I can cry without suffering. The pain in the memory is absent ‐ it is a memory, not an actual feeling, but something from a long time ago.” Those decades of traumatic memories appear to be processed, the lifelong pattern of feeling she is a burden to others is broken, her relationships are different, and dealing with difficult people is even a process she can be enthusiastic about.
Her narrative brings to life how a trauma‐focused ACT‐consistent approach to psychedelic preparation and integration can be helpful. Her therapist shares specifics and reflections on doing working with complex trauma assisted with psilocybin, whilst we can ask her directly what her side of the story is.