Treatment Stages

Nine months are required, as a minimum, and twelve as a maximum, of confinement time. In particular cases of minor intoxications or limited availability of the patient (e.g. mandatory family obligations), a shorter period or staggered phases of residence time can be negotiated and agreed.

The treatment is divided in 5 stages, of which the main 3 take place during the residency:

The first requisite for the treatment to take place is at the patient’s request.

Local patients should attend certain interviews in the Center so that their motivation is explored and to get informed about the treatment, its modalities and the Center’s norms. If the patient lives far away from the Center, once he does the initial contact he receives indications by phone or email.

At his arrival, the patient will have a medical admission evaluation (medical record, physical exam and basic analysis) in order to know his physical health status and pathological background. This evaluation will be repeated automatically after one month of residency, and after six months or when it is considered necessary. He will also proceed to a basic psychological evaluation where psychiatric features will also be examined.

The work focuses primarily on cleanliness and physical recovery. It’s a stage of purification from drugs through the intake of depurative plants, baths with plants, saunas, massages and physical exercises. There is also a special diet to be followed, which is an integral part of the whole treatment.

The patient, when starting his residence, will be between 8 and 10 days in isolation, where he will follow the detoxification treatment and his physical recuperation. He will ingest plants with emetic and purgative effects; have a daily sauna session; receive different types of accompaniment therapies (oil cure, massage, interviews, etc.). These techniques can greatly reduce the withdrawal syndrome and avoid the use of medications.

The contact with patients that already started the treatment is not permitted until he finishes this isolation and initial detoxification stage.

There’s a tradition that arose within the residents that consists on the total cut of the new patients hair, at the beginning of the treatment, and also the stripping of “decorative” attributes (beard, mustache, piercing, etc.). It’s not about an act of humiliation but a symbolic sign of change acceptance, cleaning, and ruptures with the past and certain patterns of behavior. It indicates the extent to which the person is willing to give something from within and to sacrifice secondary aspects of his personality in order to reach the essence of his true nature.

The accompaniment and psychological follow-up is constant and tends to strengthen motivations to continue treatment, as well as provide information about activities, therapies, rules and treatment customs. Each resident has an assigned personal psychotherapist.

Upon successful completion of the isolation period, the patient enters the community residence. He continues with depurative methods until he participates in his first ayahuasca session, usually after one month of residency.

At this point, a little ceremony is made where the resident makes a vow or commitment of healing and renunciation to drugs before what he considers most sacred.

The orientation of the psychological work focuses on the awareness of the damage the patient made to himself and others. He seems to awake from a long sleep and there is usually a process of remembrance of past events with strong emotional charge that need to be properly processed.

This stage lasts for approximately 2 months, and finishes with a first “diet” retreat and the two following post-diet weeks.

In these first 3 months (until he finishes his post-diet), the resident can’t see his familiars or communicate with them, in order to avoid emotional interferences that could be destabilizing. However, it is desired that the family would have a fluid relation and regular contact with the therapeutic team.

Physical recovery is almost complete, except in cases where deterioration is too severe. The unveiling and resolving of psychological and emotional burdens last about 4 months. The therapeutic work will focus on finding and bringing to surface emotions or repressed experiences that unconsciously support the dependence structure It also concentrates on the identification of personal, familiar, social and existential factors that could power addictive behavior, and, consequently, on the emergence of possible solutions.

Psychotherapy techniques in an individual and group approach are applied, as well as the traditional medicine plants with psychosomatic effects and "diet" retreats, in order to allow the patient to gain awareness of the hidden causes that have originated his emotional, existential or spiritual problems that led him to drug consumption.

Patients reinforce contents of the first stage, and at the same time deal with their relationship with nature, the outside world and with what they consider "different" (generally speaking). This way, they begin a process of essential differentiation, necessary to get out from states of emotional dependency. As personal problems start to clarify, the sphere of the other appears in the horizon (the other person, as someone different from me), as patients inquire within their own emotional environment.

All of this takes place in cohabitation with other patients. Every incident is taken as an opportunity to clarify and modify unconscious behavior patterns. This restructuration of personality naturally leads to the existential definition of the patient’s own life, and therefore to go deeply into his transcendental dimension. The introspective process is oriented towards metaphysical concerns, while the attitude is more realist and pragmatic. Spiritual and religious elements are reencountered and are offered as pillars of a new life oriented towards personal growth. The mayor achievement at this level consists of discovering the meaning of his own life, his individual vocation, and to be able to shape it through the elaboration of a concrete life project. Keeping this perspective in effect is a guarantee of cure.

This stage involves the reincorporation of familiar, labor and social spaces. An individual orientation is given considering the particular characteristics and interests of each resident. No patient is released from the treatment without knowing what is he going to do when he comes out of the Center, without a project that point to a change in lifestyle.

The reinsertion and the departure of the patients from the Center imply a lot of details to be taken care of, such as the actualization of documents, completing studies, training in professions, find out possible jobs, etc. We need to anticipate structural changes in the family and changes in address: at the beginning a patient cannot go back to live with his parents. Doing so generates relapses in almost all of the cases.

The patient will follow a progressive program of outputs to resume family and work contacts.

In case of youths without formation it is also proposed to follow brief technical-occupational curses, or scholar studies. While he is in contact with the outside world, the patient also continues participating in the Center therapies. He carries on with psychological reinforcement and learning relapse avoidance techniques (conflict resolution, frustration tolerance, opening of new social and relational circuits, etc.).

When he definitely egresses he will attend programmed appointments that are part of the Monitoring, a crucial stage to consolidate what was learned during the treatment. It is also provided psychological attention to the wife and sons of the patients when given the circumstances.

The treatment does not end with the egress, thus a long time of observation and accompaniment is needed to consolidate a definitive cure. The solution to dependency and compulsion is a profound revolution in the personal structure, whose changes, initiated in TAKIWASI, will continue to be carried out throughout life. It is estimated that after 5 years of abstinence with a structural change in personality and the way of life, healing is fully achieved.

When possible it is recommended to the ex-patient to assist minimum once a month to a personal interview with a therapist, and, eventually, to participate in a plant ingestion. Then those therapeutic encounters can take place less often, depending on the pace and the needs of the person.

For people that are established far away from the Center, to the extent possible, a connection is established with institutions and therapists familiarized with the TAKIWASI model and dwelling near the patient's home.

The Center is always available to host in detention for brief periods to patients which, having successfully completed treatment, seek to participate in a strengthening therapeutic process that would include depurative and/or psychoactive plant ingestions and/or a "diet" (retreat).

There is no necessity to wait for a relapse to solicit reinforcement. During the treatment each resident learns to recognize in his own body and emotions when he starts to charge in a negative way, and in that way to discriminate situations that can lead him to a crisis. To make a reinforcement program possible it is preferable to request it in advance so, Takiwasi can organize and prepare the stay and avoid activity overlap.

Takiwasi - Etapas del Tratamiento