Trauma Informed Plant Medicine Integration
IFS and Functional Nutrition
Like the hero who leaves the safety of the village, you entered the world of plant medicines embarking on the journey of a lifetime. From my heart of compassion I offer you powerful tools to help you with your mission, find a sure path and return triumphant!Get in touch!
Sacred Plant Medicine work can be one of the most transformational experiences in a person’s life. A paradigm can be shifted and the veil lifted with one single medicine experience.
So much can be felt and revealed working with plant medicines, especially in a traditional shamanic context, where the wisdom of a whole lineage of people is added to the innate and vast knowing of plant consciousness itself...
Why is integration so important then?
Integration is an essential step to working with the medicine for the fulfillment of our intentions.
Integration is the bridge that connects the energetic realms (where we work during the medicine journey) with our daily life experience.
Integration is where we decipher the messages of plants, guides, and ancestors, and we detangle them from the voices of our parts / our psyche.
Integration is where we find the practical tools for transformation, making them ours to keep and use throughout this life journey.
Integration is where the real changes are made - the lasting ones, the ones which give us access to the life we deeply desire. That life can not be created from survival mode (parts), but can only come from our heart centered presence. (Self)
I use Internal Family Systems Therapy and Functional Nutrition as the main modalities to support you with preparation and integration of the plant medicine work.
What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?
The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) is a non-pathologizing model of psychotherapy created by Richard Schwartz in the 1980’s. IFS is based on the premise that similar to the complex external family system, individuals are composed of separate and multifaceted internal parts in relationship with each other. Underlying them is a person's Self, which can be called one’s true or eternal essence.
In the IFS model, there are three types of parts:
- Exiles represent the wounded parts of the system, often from childhood, which have been exiled to the basement of the psyche; they carry the pain, fear and anger of the trauma. Managers and Firefighters try to protect a person's consciousness by preventing the Exiles' pain from coming to awareness.
- Protectors: Managers take on a preemptive role. They influence the way a person interacts with the external world, protecting the person from harm and preventing painful or traumatic experiences from flooding the person's conscious awareness. Their motto is; “Never again!”
- Protectors: Firefighters emerge when Exiles break out of the basement and demand attention. They work to divert attention away from the Exile's hurt and shame, which leads to impulsive and/or inappropriate behaviors like overeating, drug use or violence. They can also be called distractors because they distract a person from pain by excessively focusing attention on other activities such as overworking or overmedicating.
The 8 C’s of Self
These are the qualities of Self energy, innately present in every person, even when not consciously available.
A core principle of IFS is that every part has a positive intent, even if its actions are counterproductive and/or cause dysfunction. There is no need to fight with, or eliminate parts; the IFS method promotes internal connection and harmony to bring the mind back into balance. Through IFS we get access to Self and then, from there, we witness and understand the different parts in order to heal them.
The demand for both IFS therapy and psychedelic-assisted therapy has exploded in recent years. It doesn't come as a surprise - both modalities are powerful on their own. When combined, the potential for relieving human suffering is immense.
Why is IFS such a powerful modality for integration?
Aside from being an extremely effective modality in itself, IFS becomes especially powerful when combined with the therapeutic use of plant medicine.
Plant medicine has the effect of relaxing the protective parts of the psyche, often giving instant access to the heavily guarded wounded parts. When under the effect of plant medicine, we feel our hearts open, we can be more spontaneously vulnerable, we can get access to traumatic memories, and we are able to stay in a place of Self love and compassion. Plant medicines by relaxing protectors, automatically create space for Self energy, making deep shadow work accessible, but these accomplishments without proper integration are often illusory!
Once the medicine effects slowly fade away during the following days or weeks, we often fall subject to the backlash of the protective parts which results in old symptoms and patterns returning with a vengeance.
This is the perfect place for IFS to come in and continue to create space for Self and help us to create relationships with all our parts, enriching us with lasting connection and healing thus preventing our parts from punishing us for the “unauthorized” work.
Of course in addition to this important factor, IFS still provides all the normal benefits of the therapeutic model. When IFS is used with the awareness of other trauma-informed modalities can also accomplish the following:
Reparenting of our inner wounded child parts, with Self as the inner parent.
Reprogramming dysfunctional attachment styles with secure inner attachment to Self.
Regulating the nervous system through Self-regulation, which can be seen as co-regulation of parts to Self.
The importance of Functional Nutrition for plant medicine work
In the world of plant medicine, disinformation about nutrition runs rampant - especially when it comes to Ayahuasca. The recommended, so called “ayahuasca diet” has become mostly a vegan diet, which is missing the point of needed purification of the body. Amino acids are necessary for complete liver detoxification. Removing sources of animal protein from the diet creates a less than optimal terrain for purification and often the body has to use its own tissues to provide the necessary nutrients. Therefore, it is important to create a proper diet that is optimally customized to prepare the individual’s physiology to receive the plant medicine.
While in many different traditions no diet modifications were required for the use of Ayahuasca, I see value in properly preparing the body for the following reasons:
- Our standard western diet is full of toxic substances and highly processed foods. Detoxification beforehand can provide a much smoother experience, relieving the medicine of the task of having to cleanse the body, offering space for deeper, more meaningful work.
- The chronic malnutrition of the western diet, especially with the lack of animal products, creates a general ungroundedness of the nervous system, contributing to what is already present due to trauma. Nourishing the nervous system and the brain with proper fats and minerals will allow for a better overall experience, lessening the chance of re-traumatizing the individual.
- In the healing of trauma in general, nutrition plays an essential role. The brain and nervous system require certain nutrients to function correctly and the role of the microbiome and gut-brain axis is of vital importance.
I work with my clients in a truly holistic way. The goal is to treat the full embodiment at all energetic levels: Soul, mental, emotional, physical.
The combination of nutrition with trauma-informed modalities creates a most effective toolbox, where each individual patient is provided with powerful tools not only to integrate plant medicines but to align with their highest purpose and potential.
The work can be done in individual sessions, or more effectively in cycles of sessions.
The sessions will focus on the 3 levels of Body, Mind/Emotions and Soul and will include the following modalities:
Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy
Classic Internal Family Systems
Mystery Teachings of the Kemetian (Egyptian) lineage
Amazonian Shipibo Curanderismo