Since 2006, institutions such as Johns Hopkins, NYU and UCLA have conducted clinical research using psilocybin, the active component in “magic mushrooms”, to ease anxiety and depression in patients with advanced-stage cancer. The studies have consistently shown that the use of psilocybin, along with psychotherapy, significantly reduced participants’ fears, and other symptoms, while increasing overall well-being and acceptance toward dying. These findings, along with other psilocybin research treating a range of mental disorders, have led to the legalization or decriminalization of psilocybin across several jurisdictions in North America.
At the same time, North America has seen a huge rise in the numbers of trained End-of-Life Doulas, non-medical caregivers whose mission is to bring dignity, emotional ease, and a deep sense of fulfillment to dying well. Westernized nations have traditionally considered death a topic to avoid, but this attitude is shifting, and End-of-Life Doulas are an integral part of this trend. They offer a wide range of services, from practical care, to compassionate support for the dying person, their friends and their families, sitting with them during their final transition, assisting with celebration of life services, and post-death grief work for loved ones.
Omar Thomas, Founder of DPS and certified End-of-Life Doula, underwent intensive sacred mushroom work to deal with trauma and fear surrounding his own near-death experiences. He believes, “My own experience showed me the power of psilocybin as a sacred plant medicine to heal and help me find a truly meaningful path through life. Coming to terms with death has been an important part of the process. With the growing accessibility to psilocybin, the timing is right to combine it with the compassionate work of doulas to bring meaning and peace to one’s end-of-life journey. By offering both customized end-of-life retreats and doula training, DPS aims to help many people experience a sacred and fulfilling transition whether that is here in Jamaica or at home.”
The Lead Facilitator for both the End-of-Life Doula Training and Retreat Program, Christina Ingenito, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist who has 30 years’ experience working with thousands of hospice patients. She also has four decades’ experience working with plant medicines. Christina is excited about the potential for the Training and Retreat Programs, believing “psilocybin serves to open individuals to addressing and working through their feelings about the dying process, the potential experiences of love, peace, and acceptance, and finding meaning in their remaining time. The psilocybin journeys can also be transformative for families and loved ones as relationships are repaired or deepened.”
Diaspora Psychedelic Society was founded in 2018 to honor indigenous sacred medicine healing practices, traditions, and rites/rituals while offering safe, inclusive, and more equitable access to psilocybin and DMT-supported wellness. For more information on the retreats and training, please email [email protected] or visit https://www.diasporapsychedelicsociety.org/.
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