The Therapeutic Potential of Ritual Ayahuasca Use for the Treatment of Substance Dependencies

Anya Loizaga-Velder, PhD (C)


Abstract: This presentation is based on the author’s doctoral dissertation, which consisted of a qualitative study that included interviews with 14 therapists who used ayahuasca professionally in the treatment of addictions, as well as with 15 substance-dependent individuals who participated in ayahuasca-assisted treatment in varying contexts. The presentation addresses the value of ayahuasca for substance dependency treatment from a psychotherapeutic perspective, and the variables that may influence treatment outcome. Special attention is placed on the role of ritual and integration.

Anya Loizaga-Velder is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist who has been investigating the therapeutic potential of the ritual use of psychedelic plants for over 15 years. She is a founding member and collaborating researcher of the Nierika, Multidisciplinary Association for the Preservation of the Indigenous Traditions of Sacred Plants in Mexico. She holds an MA in psychology from the University of Koblenz/Landau in Germany and is currently a doctoral candidate in Medical Psychology at Heidelberg University. This study is part of the special research group Ritual Dynamics and Salutogenesis (RISA,


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