In whatever form it is administered, ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew or tea, has the extensive capacity to illuminate issues underlying addiction, anxiety and also depression. most commonly derived from Banisteriopsis caapi, a vine containing monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and the leaves of Psychotria viridis, ayahuasca often reveals the unprocessed drama that is at the root of these issues. The awareness ayahuasca brings allows deep healing to occur.
Neurological research has shown that trauma affects the emotional brain more than it does the rational brain. While research has not definitively identified the neurophysiological mechanisms through which eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and other body-based trauma healing works, some similarities such as the resolution of past pain and healing imagery indicate that ayahuasca may be activating a set of related natural processes.
Trauma is the emotional and physiological imprint that’s formed by anything that’s too fast, too much or too soon for a person’s nervous system to handle, such as a terrifying incident like rape or a gruesome accident. Trauma’s effects are extensive, manifesting in individuals as a chronic sense of disconnection, either from one’s authentic self, one’s surroundings or others. Unlike with exposure therapy, ayahuasca addresses the trauma’s somatic basis, strengthening a person’s sense of agency and self while also activating internal resources.
Below, we discuss some of the ways in which ayahuasca heals trauma.
- Summoning and reliving experiences.
Ayahuasca has the tendency to dig up past traumas in individuals in vivid forms, and it seems to have the capacity to detect unresolved past traumas that might be blocking a person’s growth. These recollections sometimes come up with complete emotions that the individual may have felt at the time.
- Bringing awareness into one’s body through the intensification of sensations and emotions.
An important feature of somatic psychotherapy involves exploring an individual’s embodied internal experience in the present time. This triggers intense visceral waves of emotional and somatic information, freeing what’s been long held by a person’s body. This may present in form of freezing cold or heat sensations, yawning, trembling or vomiting. These in-body-based trauma therapies are recognized signs of trauma discharge.
- Releasing suppressed memories.
An ayahuasca session can dredge up buried memories from the subconscious. In most cases, this involves childhood trauma. The signs of trauma discharge mentioned above may be observed during this period. This process helps an individual release past memories and the emotions that accompany those memories and instead create room for growth and progress.
- Giving rise to new realizations
The cognizance that arises in an ayahuasca ceremony can bring healing perspectives on a person’s past as well as present. This reconnects fragmented facets of a person, thus freeing an individual to choose a more understanding interpretation of the past. The creation of new experiences that go against the limitations imposed by trauma change an individual’s neurological wiring.
In addition to this, ayahuasca generates forgiveness for self and others as well as compassion. While follow-up work is important in the healing process, commitment, emotional wisdom and ego strength will help an individual work through what needs to be released.
From the above, we can clearly see how valuable ayahuasca is to the field of therapy and how it can be effectively used to help alleviate trauma and repair damage caused by trauma. While its techniques may not be as popular as those of somatic trauma therapy or EMDR, they are worth looking into and may be as effective, or even more effective, than these more common approaches.
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