Feeding the soul with Ayahuasca-assisted therapy: A promising treatment for the healing of eating disorders
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive plant-based tea originally used by Amazonian indigenous groups for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Preliminary scientific studies and a history of ethnomedical use suggest that ayahuasca has promise for the treatment of mental health issues. Eating disorders (EDs) are regarded as highly treatment-resistant disorders and new healing modalities must be explored. Anecdotal reports have indicated that some individuals with EDs have engaged in ceremonial ayahuasca drinking with positive results. Fifteen individuals with a history of an ED who have also drunk ayahuasca for healing purposes were interviewed in order to better understand this medicine’s potential value. The data suggest that ceremonial ayahuasca use can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool, giving hope to those along the continuum of disordered eating, including individuals with refractory ED or those for whom standard medical treatments have been ineffective.
Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson PhD, C. Psych is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Laurentian University. She is also a supervising/consulting psychologist for a number of generalized and specialized mental health agencies across Canada and in Europe. Dr. Lafrance Robinson is an author of several publications in the field of clinical psychology and she is co-developer of Emotion-Focused Family Therapy. More recently, she has begun to explore the use of psychedelics, and in particular the use of ayahuasca, in the healing of eating disorders.