Therapists in Canada have requested the federal government to allow them to take psychedelics doses as they treat patients, for a better understanding of the experiences. This comes after a few terminally ill patients filed a petition to have them access the drugs. As bizarre as it may seem, the therapists highlight reasons why dosing themselves will be beneficial for improving levels of treatment.
These requests come from a nonprofit organization, TheraPsil, whose mission is to increase access to psilocybin as a psychotherapy treatment in Canada. The group states that if therapists are allowed to take doses of psilocybin, they will have firsthand experience in understanding the effects of the drug in therapy.
In an interview with an online media outlet, a therapist, O’Sullivan stated, “The fundamental reason to expose therapists to their own experiences with psychedelics, is that unless you have visited these realms, you are unlikely to understand their importance. The point is to allow therapists to understand the field they’re plowing in.”
TheraPsil’s executive director Spenser Hawkswell reinforces this point when he explains why therapists need high-quality training for them to have better results while treating patients. “It’s greatly beneficial if therapists have had psychedelic therapy themselves,” he added.
This isn’t the first time TheraPsil is making an appeal for the legalization of psilocybin for terminally ill patients. They filed a petition in 2017 but didn’t get a response till early this year when the government rejected the application.
TheraPsil was relentless and in April, helped four seriously ill patients apply for petitions to the Ministry of Health to allow them to use psilocybin. Up to now, they haven’t received any response and both the therapists and patients are lift in limbo not knowing if it will bear fruits.
Hawkswell says they aren’t giving up and will continue to communicate with the ministry to respond to the matter. They have made more recent efforts to have clinicians exempted from the ban of psilocybin.
He adds that it might be challenging for therapists to comprehend what their patient’s therapeutic experiences fully. “If you’re not attuned to this possibility, not aware of this possibility, then it’s just going to slide by you,” he stated.
So far, patients that are facing the imminent end-of-life are treated with pharmaceuticals to help them deal with feelings of depression or demoralization.
The TheraPsil clinicians believe psychedelics will be useful in treating such patients because it causes a “mystical” experience. “It’s a spiritual journey that takes the patient to other out-of-worldly psychoactive realms. The therapists say such experiences will help change the patient’s perception about life and the world in general, and will accept death as a natural occurrence.
They also highlight how different psychedelic therapies differ from other antidepressants, with patients requiring guidance and help on its usage. The same sentiments are supported by another group of therapists, Field Trip Psychedelics Inc., which focuses on ketamine therapy. On their website, they describe these changes in perception as “to press reset on your mental health.”
Psychedelics are banned in many countries because of what many researchers call “disorienting side effects.” It is for this reason that many government institutions are adamant in legalizing the substances.
Researchers are now working on coming up with psychedelic treatments that have health benefits, without causing adverse effects to the patient. This is exactly the kind of research that entities like Cybin Corp. have been engaged in for years.
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