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The healing power of the icaros: A phenomenological study of ayahuasca experiences

Institución de Educación:
Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California


Tipo de Publicación Académica: Thesis

Propósito de la Publicación: Thesis for the Degree of Doctor in Philosophy in East-West Psychology

Fecha Publicación: 2008.

Tabla de Contenidos

  • The Takiwasi Center
    • The Patients
    • Treatment at Takiwasi
  • Guiding Philosophy: What is the Role of Las Plantas in treatment?
  • The Plants and the Relationship
    • The relationship
    • The Pedestal breaks and People start Talking
    • Trust
  • The Problems
    • A speech and the Internet: How I arrived at Takiwasi
    • Engaging with the Medicine: Ethnographic Implications
    • Ethical Roadblocks in Ethnography
    • The Notion of Traditional: How a French Doctor became a Peruvian Healer
    • Keywords: “Traditional”
    • Costs and Funding: Traditions of the South Meet the Resources of the North
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography



In September of 1992, four Peruvian health professionals and a French doctor established a drug addiction rehabilitation center in Tarapoto, Perú. They intended, by founding the center, to investigate the systematic use of Amazonian "shamanistic knowledge" in the tratment of drug addiction (Mabit, 2005). Today, the Takiwasi Center for Drug Addiction Rehabilitation continues to use medicinal plants of traditional Amazonian medicine in conjunction with Western psychology in the tratment of patients from around the globe. For almsot fitteen years, the Takiwasi Center has sought, and continues to seek, "an efficient, low cost and culturally adapted alternative theraphy" (Giove, 2002).

I had the unique opportunity to spend two months as a research intern with the Takiwasi Center in the summer of 2006. The internship was established on the premise that I would complete an ethographic research project during my stay. At Takiwasi, some of the plants that they administer to trat drug addiction are consciousness-altering. Both patients and provider participate in the ritual ingestion of the plants. I was interesting in how the communal, ritual ingestion of these plants affected the pattient-provider relationship.

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