There is Relief for Grief
Loss is part of everyone’s life, but the loss of a child is an extraordinary wound that brings with it extraordinary pain, and just as the relationship between a parent and child is uniquely strong, so too is a bereaved parent’s grief.
We know that the bereavement experience of parents is severe and long, that it brings with it intense yearning, extreme sadness, and a sense of isolation from others. But we know as well—because bereaved parents tell us so—that the pain of loss can remit over time, even if it doesn’t ever really go away.
Healing is possible; healing is real
Rarely, this process unfolds from within without assistance. More often, bereaved parents describe needing help to connect with themselves and with others to return to a sense of engagement and meaning in their lives.
For some parents, the customary types of assistance like bereavement support groups, grief-oriented psychotherapy, or even medication are not enough. Or sometimes these modes of support simply don’t feel right. Despite engaging with these therapies, parents might describe that they still can’t accept the reality of the loss of their child, or that they cannot fully reinvest in their relationships with the living, or that they cannot find joy in their life again. For these parents, we believe that healing is also possible. We believe this because our work with bereaved parents has shown it to be true.
Medical and psychological research strongly suggests that psychedelic-assisted therapies using medicines like psilocybin are powerfully effective in treating anxiety and depression. In practice, our group has seen that this same practice is a supremely powerful tool to facilitate healing for bereaved parents on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Parents for whom no other kind of grief therapy or intervention has helped, have found real, durable healing in a lovingly guided psychedelic experience.
Psilocybin helps with depression, anxiety, and addiction. It also helps with grief.
My client Joan was bereft. Her son David had died 10 years prior to cancer when he was 14. She had not been able to truly move on with her creativity and return to any real joy for life. She felt constantly in the throes of depression and heart heaviness. During her mushroom experience, she felt David's Presence, a soul floating near her, calm and serene. She felt her own serenity, her own calmness, her joy of life. When she shared with me afterwards, her main comment was; " I am alive and he wants me to be in my life again. He is ok." The heaviness lifted, she reported feeling 80 % less depressed. She said this was truly miraculous.
~Francoise Bourzat, psilocybin guide
One of our depression volunteers had a child who died shortly after he was born. Almost 10 years later, the pain, guilt and grief were still present. In her first psilocybin session, she experienced being back with her son as he was taking his last breathe, but this time rather than feeling helpless and fearful, she breathed his last breath with him, and with that, let him go. She felt at peace with his death and that stayed with her throughout the study. (Mary Cosimano, Johns Hopkins psychedelic session guide
~Mary Cosimano, Johns Hopkins psychedelic guide
When my 17 year old son died in a car crash modern psychiatry and psychology had nothing to offer me that worked for my grief. Nonordinary states of consciousness were my road back to mental health. They helped me to come to a deeper understanding of life, death,
the meaning of relationship, and love. I have encountered my son in medicine journeys and now have a continuing relationship with him. I
know not everyone will encounter their loved one but I was lucky enough to have seen him and talked with him. He wants me to live my
life to the fullest and to know he is fine. He tells me I will be with him again when I have finished what I came here to experience. These
journeys into non-ordinary states of consciousness have saved my life.
Another volunteer had lost his young daughter decades before he joined our cancer/psilocbyin study. He thought he had healed from the grief of her passing but in his psilocybin session he had an experience that brought him back to that time and he relived her death and his grief. During the session he sobbed and sobbed and felt he finally made peace with her death, and a lightness took over.
~Mary Cosimano, Johns Hopkins psychedelic guide
A seven-day group retreat in Jamaica,
centered around healing individual and group mushroom experiences, will be combined with extensive one-on-one work with therapists and guides
to prepare for the retreat, and then to integrate the insights, emotional
shifts, and spiritual gains of the retreat into your regular life after it
is done. Safety and support will be prioritized within the context of a
holistic program of activities that emphasizes connection to nature
and incorporates personal and group ritual.
Our group of supportive psychologists, physicians, and highly trained psychedelic guides will offer this treatment in a way that is safe, legal, and based on best-practices.Your guides and therapists will have decades of experience between them, and we will partner with local palliative care physicians to build relationships in the community and add an extra layer of support for safety and oversight.
Francoise Bourzat, is a Somatic counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area. In collaboration with healers in Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico, she has practiced and guided ceremonies with sacred mushrooms for the last 30 years. She teaches at CIIS in San Francisco, runs online courses and lectures in various institutions. She is one of the lead investigators in a FDA approved research on psilocybin assisted therapy for Covid related grief in Los Angeles, and collaborates with various physicians on treatment projects. She trains psychedelic guides internationally and is the author of the book entitled Consciousness Medicine, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA
Dingle Spence, BSc., MBBS, DMRT, Dip. Pall. Med, FRCR, is a Jamaican physician with training in both Clinical Oncology and Palliative Medicine. She is the Senior Medical Officer of the Hope Institute Hospital, Jamaica’s only dedicated Oncology and Palliative Care unit. Dr Spence is an Associate Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and is also the Director of the Jamaica Cancer Care and Research Institute (JACCRI), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of cancer care and palliative care in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Dr Spence is also interested in research around the use of plant- based medicines such as cannabinoids and psychedelics for holistic symptom relief for people with palliative
Chris Adrian, is a pediatric palliative care physician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He trained as a pediatric oncologist at the University of California San Francisco, and as a hospital chaplain at Columbia University Medical Center and the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York. His research interests include integrating narrative medicine methods into palliative care education and using psychedelic assisted psychotherapy for complicated grief. He trained as a psychedelic guide under Francoise Bourzat's group.
Neil Hanon, MD, FRCPC, is a psychiatrist in Kelowna, British Columbia and is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is the Year 3 Director (the clinical year) of the Southern Medical Program of UBC in Kelowna. Dr. Hanon also does inpatient work at Kelowna General Hospital, and outpatient work at Outreach Urban Health (an Interior Health operated, primary care clinic where he works with homeless, street entrenched people struggling with addictions and other mental health challenges), and at his private practice. Dr. Hanon has a research interest in legally sanctioned trials with ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin for the treatment of complicated grief, treatment resistant depression, and severe addictions. Dr. Hanon got involved in Holotropic Breathwork first as a participant to help with his grief after the death of his 17 year old son, then continued on to become certified as a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator in 2015. He is faculty for Grof Legacy Training Canada, and is training Faculty for TheraPsil Canada, an organization to help people with end of life anxiety access legal psilocybin treatment. Dr. Hanon was fortunate to have Dr. Ralph Metzner as his teacher and mentor from 2015 until Ralph’s death in 2019. He was also trained by Francoise Bourzat.
Kari Brown is a Jamaican physician and researcher. After completing her medical degree at the University of the West Indies and an MSc in research Oncology at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam in the Netherlands, she joined the Jamaica Cancer Care & Research Institute (JACCRI), which focuses on improving the quality of cancer and palliative care in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Her other professional interests include holistic approaches to patient care and wellness.
Steven Smith MBBS, is a Research Associate and Project Manager at the Jamaica Cancer Care and Research Institute (JACCRI). He attained a medical degree with Honours from the University of the West Indies, Mona. His research interests include the identification of health disparities associated with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer within the Caribbean and the improvement of regional cancer research and partnerships. His work with JACCRI focuses on projects aimed at regional palliative care collaborations and the development of integrative treatment options for end of life care in low-income and disadvantaged populations.