Magic mushroom therapy is rising in popularity, in the US and beyond. A holistic health center called Tierra Adentro, exemplifies what this therapy process looks like in Mexico.
Tierra Adentro is an independent holistic health center in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. It combines “medicine, psychology and ancestral wisdom with the medicine of the earth.” The center does this with both group and individual sessions, which are facilitated by a therapist who gets acquainted with client issues and needs prior to the sessions. The idea is to treat symptoms, while investigating root causes.
Like any other drug-assisted therapy, it involves preliminary sessions in which medical histories are taken and problems are discussed. This is followed by sessions involving magic mushrooms in prescribed amounts. Last, patients enter integration sessions meant to help them put everything together, and make sense of their issues and responses. All of this is preceded by a general admissions process. We’ll get to all that soon.
Tierrra Adentro’s medical team includes neuro-psychiatrists, and psychologists, who work with systemic psychology and ontotherapy. According to their website, “We seek a comprehensive and effective approach to healing, focusing on identifying the mental and emotional origin of illnesses.” The stated goals are to help patients with general health and spiritual exploration, as well as personal growth; help with addiction and anxiety issues; and creative problem solving.
“Using a combination of clinical care, psychotherapy, and ancestral medicine, we work to help our patients connect with positive emotional states that have a direct impact on their health.” In order to do this, “We trust in the ancient wisdom of power plants, known as ‘holy children’, which have been used by indigenous cultures for millennia.”
What is the actual program?
We hear a lot about psychedelic-assisted therapy, and other drug-assisted therapy. But what exactly does this mean? And what does a client get for their money? Each program out there is a little different. Tierra Adentro has its own way. To start with, every client goes through an administrative process. That’s the first step.
Tierra Adentro is housed in a place called Casa Cariyas, a holistic health center in Guadalajara. Following the first step, Tierra Adentro offers a package that includes the following services, which take place onsite. This is not a retreat that happens all at once, but a treatment program that spans several weeks.
- Four personal sessions with a doctor (specialist) – This is for a general medical review, and understanding the physical health of the client. From this, the mushroom dosing regimen and treatment plan, are created. This happens in the first week.
- Four personal sessions with a psychotherapist – This is to discuss personal history, and any psychological issues that are present. This also helps define the overall treatment course. This takes place during the first week, as well.
- Two group healing sessions – These are usually three hours long, and take place in the evening from 5pm-8pm. Healing topics are discussed, along with the dynamics for carrying out the treatment processes. This happens in weeks 5-6.
- One group immersion session using mushrooms – This is generally a 10-hour total immersion session, that takes place on a Friday or Saturday, from about 2pm–1am. It’s broken down into four parts: conference segment, reflection and awareness segment, velada segment, and closing segment. It happens in week 8.
- One closing session (integration) – This is a three hours session, in the evening from 5pm-8pm. It’s meant to address the topics that came up over the treatment course, and the issues that clients are working on, moving forward. It happens in week 9.
Is mushroom therapy legal in Mexico?
It kind of is, although, like many things in life; its legality depends on how you look at things. In Mexico, magic mushrooms are quasi legal for spiritual use, so long as they are picked from the wild, and not meant for commercial sale. Technically, since 1984, Mexico’s Ley General de Salud outlawed both psilocybin and psilocin. In fact, whereas some countries, and the UN, only did it halfway by illegalizing the compounds, but not the physical plant; Mexico went all the way. The entirety of psilocybin-containing fungi are illegal.
Weirdly enough, magic mushrooms, and their component parts, were not a part of the 2009 amendment that decriminalized other drugs, including synthetic compounds like MDMA and LSD. This is perhaps because mushrooms can be grown by anyone, and leaving them out was Mexico’s way of not encouraging an illicit market.
BUT, if all this makes it sound like magic mushroom use is definitely illegal in Mexico, this is not exactly true. Not only do current drug laws banning mushrooms not apply to native cultures (or, rather, they are not enforced by law enforcement), but there is a loophole. Possession, sale, transport, and cultivation are all illegal commercially; but mushrooms that grow on their own in the wild, are fine, (or, rather, not a target of law enforcement.)
While this might not technically make them legal according to the law, the government does not enforce the law when it comes to wild mushrooms. Grow kits, spores, and mycelium are also perfectly legal, and openly sold. These products fall into one part of the magic mushroom loophole, in that they don’t contain active compounds, and so are not illegal.
Tierra Adentro is not selling mushrooms; and if its not cultivating its own, it seems the standard rules are gotten around. Plus, the whole thing is for spiritual purposes, so we’re not looking at recreational use. It’s certainly gray area; and if the government changes its mind, there could be problems. For now, at least, it seems Mexico has bigger issues than magic mushrooms on its hands. Due to the country’s large variety of naturally-growing mushrooms, Mexico has a large, and growing, magic mushroom tourism industry today.
Is this the same as other mushrooms programs?
When we pick a doctor, we generally know the basics of what will happen; but in reality, every doctor, and every practice, has specifics particular to them/it. This is the same for any medical facility or healing center. Some things are similar, or the exact same; while other factors vary depending on different philosophies, or different methodologies.
The basic model is that of drug-assisted therapy, and most clinics designed for this purpose, follow the general formula. It goes: some form of intake, assessments, therapy sessions, and integration at the end, to sum it all up. This model can be expected in most centers. However, whereas some programs might only do one mushroom (or other drug) session, some might make it two, or three, or even more. Sometimes there are multiple integration sessions. Sometimes its strictly one-on-one, and sometimes strictly in groups. The details change, but the setup remains about the same.
This idea comes from the middle of last century, when psychedelic drugs became a part of the psychiatric treatment world; through its creator Albert Hoffmann, and early practitioners to use it, like Humphry Osmond and Ronald Sandison. The drug-assisted therapy model was born at that time; first through self-experimentation, and then as therapeutic practice. This ended with prohibitive laws; but a recent resurgence has encouraged new research, which strongly indicates magic mushrooms (along with other hallucinogens), can have beneficial effects on those suffering from psychological issues.
As a patient, this should be looked-for and expected; especially as the idea of mushroom treatment gets bigger, and more accepted. We all know that, especially when industry gets big, corner cutting and bad behavior tend to make their way in. In the future, there are likely to be a lot of low-level venues popping up, and less emphasis put on actual therapy. For now, the industry is still small and growing, and facilities like Teirra Adentro, lead the way in providing an introduction to mushroom therapy.
For those looking for a therapy option, Tierra Adentro, and similar facilities, offer this; while maintaining a comfort and safety level for participants. This doesn’t exist in the US beyond Oregon at the moment, so for those interested in taking part in such treatments, you might want to consider a trip to Mexico. Those interested in learning specifics of this program, including pricing options, can fill out the initial form here.
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