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    ayahuasca iowaska grief death grieving mourn ICEERS study

    Therapeutic Potential of Ayahuasca in Grief


    Therapeutic potential of ayahuasca in grief: a prospective, observational study

    Débora González, Jordi Cantillo, Irene Pérez, Magí Farré, Amanda Feilding, Jordi E. Obiols, and José Carlos Bouso.




    About the study

    This study investigated the long-term effects of ayahuasca in participants who were grieving the death of a loved one, following a sample of subjects with a history of grief who willingly attended ayahuasca ceremonies at an ayahuasca center in Peru.

    This research is part of a broader study that aims to prospectively assess the long-term effects of ayahuasca on well-being and quality of life, as well as psychopathological symptoms in different subsamples with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and grief.

    Eventually, the authors observed that increased acceptance and decentering following the ayahuasca retreat have a significant correlation with improvements in the severity of grief, as acceptance is considered a key mechanism of change in complicated grief treatment.



    Rationale: Recent studies have assessed the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca for the treatment of depression with promising preliminary results.

    Objectives: Here, we examine the course of grief over 1 year of follow-up in a bereaved sample that attended a center in Peru to participate in indigenous Shipibo ayahuasca ceremonies. We also explore the roles of experiential avoidance and decentering as mechanisms of change.

    Methods: Bereaved participants who attended the ayahuasca center responded to an online survey that included the Texas Revised Inventory of Grief, Symptom Assessment-45, WHO Quality of Life-Bref, Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, and Decentering. Baseline assessment was completed by 50 individuals (T0). Of these, 39 completed the post-assessment at 15 days (T1), 31 at 3 months (T2), 29 at 6 months (T3), and 27 at 12 months (T4) after leaving the retreat. Pearson’s analysis was performed to examine the relationship between the severity of grief and mechanisms of change during the period of T0 and T1.

    Results: A significant decrease in Texas Revised Inventory was observed at all time points (T1: Cohen’s d = 0.84; T2: Cohen’s d = 1.38; T3: Cohen’s d = 1.16; T4: Cohen’s d = 1.39). We found a relationship between experiential avoidance (r = 0.55; p < .01), decentering (r = − 0.47; p < .01), and a reduction in the severity of grief.

    Conclusions: Our results suggest that the ceremonial use of ayahuasca has therapeutic value by reducing the severity of grief. Acceptance and decentering are both psychological processes that mediate the improvement of grief symptoms.


    Link to the article


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    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , therapeutic , grief , psychedelics , hallucinogens