What can psilocybin therapy do for you?
What are the effects of psilocybin therapy on our mental and physical health? We ask Pieter, who besides being a team member at Earth Awareness, has a background as a medical doctor.
Pieter, many of us know you as a team member at Earth Awareness. Can you
tell us a bit about your background? You received medical training and practised as medical doctor. How did mushrooms enter this story?
“Sure, I’ve always been fascinated by the human psyche. And I actually already experimented with magic mushrooms before I started my studies. In 2014 I graduated and began working in the field of integrated psychiatry and later on addiction care. Around the same time I met Mark and Maya at Psy-fi festival, and immediately felt enthusiastic about their approach. Gradually I became more involved with Earth Awareness. In my role as medical doctor I can be of help with the intake procedure, especially when participants have questions about medicine use. I am also trained to offer psycho- therapeutic support in the integration process after a mushroom journey. I still work in regular health care once in a while, but I also started my own practice, Dr. Aquarius, in 2017. As such I experience more freedom to develop my own approach - which I often describe as alchemy between yoga and sound. I combine sound healing with meditation and teach my clients several self-healing techniques. I also offer psychedelic therapy, mainly focussing on guided microdosing and integration.”
How does psilocybin therapy work?
“Generally speaking you can work with psilocybin and other plant medicines by either macrodosing or microdosing. When you join a ceremony in the Nature Temple, you will get a macrodose. However, it is also possible to spread a full dose over the course of 1 or 2 months. Every other – or third – day you ingest about 1/10 of a full dose. The trick is to find your optimal dose, by which you enter a so-called ‘flow state’.
How psilocybin therapy works? From a bio-chemical perspective psilocybin interferes with certain neurotransmitters in the brain: it acts for example on the serotonin receptors. Which makes you feel more cheerful and energetic. Psilocybin also decreases brain activity in certain areas of the brain and increases connections in other parts. This downplays your self-awareness (ego-consciousness) and offers you new insights into your own being. Psilocybin already received breakthrough status in the treatment of therapy resistant depression. And promising results have been found for the treatment of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you take a broader look than just the biochemical perspective, you can approach a plant medicine as an entity in itself. You can enter a conscious relationship with this entity and it will guide you in your process, and teach you certain lessons. Ultimately it’s about transcending yourself and becoming aware of a broader reality. That is why it’s important to consciously connect with the medicine, and to work with an intention. When guiding people I always ask them to keep a diary: to receive more insights about their own development. ”
In what way is psilocybin therapy different from regular health care?
“The consciousness part is neglected in regular health care. You have a complaint and there is a standard treatment in the form of a pill. A so-called ‘quick fix’. There is not much attention for the responsibility of the client and his or her self-healing abilities. Psilocybin is by no means a panacea that solves all your problems. It’s more like a tool: you don’t necessarily need it, but it is very handy when you use it. However, you still have to do the work yourself! The mushroom supports you and reveals new insights, but you have to keep consciously acting on them.”
In what cases would you advise either a macro or a micro dose treatment?
“Follow your own gut feeling! They both complement each other. In some cases macro dosing might be too exciting for someone. Microdosing can be a nice way to get acquainted with the medicine. It’s also very suitable if you want to work with psilocybin for a longer period of time: the integration process is more naturally interwoven with your daily life. People come to me for microdose guidance for example when they need inspiration, feel stuck, are struggling with fear or are feeling low in energy. When there are deeper parts in yourself that you need to confront, I would recommend a macrodose, as the veils will be lifted up higher, so you can see more.”
What is the effect of psilocybin on our general health?
“First of all I’d like to stress that psilocybin therapy has no harmful effects on the physical body
whatsoever, and it’s not addictive. It increases abstract thinking in the long run, and enhances
spiritual consciousness: it makes you experience more meaning in life. Scientific studies found that participants often describe the psychedelic experience as one of the most profound experiences of their entire lives. ”
Pieter is connected to Earth Awareness as a medical doctor. You can get in touch with him through his website: www.draquarius.com.
(Thanks to Judith Südholter for the interview)