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    psychological values therapeutic effect ayahuasca iowaska ICEERS study

    Psychological Variables in the Therapeutic Effect of Ayahuasca


    Psychological variables implied in the therapeutic effect of ayahuasca: a contextual approach

    Alba Franquesa, Alberto Sainz-Cort, Sam Gandy, Joaquim Soler, Miguel 脕ngel Alc谩zar-C贸rcoles, and Jos茅 Carlos Bouso.

    Psychiatry Research



    About the study

    Decentering, values, positive self and public control of the self are all variables related to psychological well-being and a focus of change in psychotherapeutic interventions. This study explores the link between them and ayahuasca use with the aim of characterizing the eventual factors that may explain the therapeutic potential of this admixture.

    The study was performed with 122 participants who completed the assessment scales. From the total participants, 41 had never used ayahuasca (non-users) and 81 had used ayahuasca between 1 and over 100 times.

    According to this study, the ayahuasca-induced experience would not only be related to a cathartic reaction, but it would be integrated as part of a positive self, allowing these benefits to be integrated as part of daily life.



    Background: Ayahuasca is a psychedelic decoction originating from Amazonia. The ayahuasca-induced introspective experience has been shown to have potential benefits in the treatment of several pathologies, to protect mental health and to improve neuropsychological functions and creativity, and boost mindfulness. The underlying psychological processes related to the use of ayahuasca in a psychotherapeutic context are not yet well described in the scientific literature, but there is some evidence to suggest that psychological variables described in psychotherapies could be useful in explaining the therapeutic effects of the brew.

    Methods: In this study we explore the link between ayahuasca use and Decentering, Values and Self, comparing subjects without experience of ayahuasca (n = 41) with subjects with experience (n = 81).

    Results: Results confirm that ayahuasca users scored higher than non-users in Decentering and Positive self, but not in Valued living, Life fulfillment, Self in social relations, Self in close relations and General self. Scores in Decentering were higher in the more experienced subjects (more than 15 occasions) than in those with less experience (less than 15 occasions).

    Conclusions: Our results show that psychological process variables may explain the outcomes in ayahuasca psychotherapy. The introduction of these variables is warranted in future ayahuasca therapeutic studies.


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    Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , psychology , psychedelics , hallucinogens , psychotherapy , values