The treatment normally lasts from a minimun of nine months to a maximum of twelve months. In particular cases of minor intoxication or limited time availability of the patient (e.g. family/work obligations), a shorter period or staggered phases of residence time can be negotiated and agreed on.
The treatment is divided in 5 stages, of which the main 3 take place during the residency:
The first requirement for the treatment to take place is the patient’s motivation.
Local patients should attend certain interviews at the Center so that their motivation is explored and to get information about the treatment, its modalities and the Center’s norms. If the patient lives far away from the Center, once the initial contact is made, he will receive indications by phone or email.
At his arrival, the patient will undergo a medical admission evaluation (medical record, physical exam and basic analysis) in order to know his physical health status and pathological background. This evaluation will be repeated automatically after one month of residency, and after six months or when it is considered necessary. He will also undergo a basic psychological evaluation where psychiatric features will also be examined.
In this phase the work focuses primarily on detoxification and physical recovery. It’s a stage of purification from drugs through the intake of depurative plants, plant baths, saunas, massages and physical exercises. There is also a special diet to be followed, which is an integral part of the whole treatment.
The patient, when starting his residence, will stay in isolation for 8 to 10 days, in which he will follow the detoxification treatment and start his physical recuperation. He will ingest plants with emetic and purgative effects; have a daily sauna session; receive different types of accompaniment therapies (oil cure, massage, interviews, etc.). These techniques can greatly reduce the withdrawal syndrome and avoid the use of medications.
The contact with patients that already started the treatment is not permitted until this isolation phase and the initial detoxification stage finish.
It's a tradition among the resident patients to cut the new patient' hair at the beginning of the treatment, and also stripping of “decorative” attributes (beard, mustache, piercing, etc.). This must not be seen an act of humiliation but as a symbolic sign of change acceptance, cleansing, and rupture with the past and certain behavioral patterns. It indicates the extent to which the person is willing to give something from within and to sacrifice secondary aspects of his personality in order to reach the essence of his true nature.
The accompaniment and psychological follow-up is constant and tends to strengthen motivations to continue treatment, as well as provide information about activities, therapies, rules and treatment in general. Each resident patient has an assigned personal psychotherapist.
Upon successful completion of the isolation period, the patient join the community residence. He continues to undergo depurative methods until he participates in his first ayahuasca session, usually after one month of residency.
At this point, a little ceremony is made where the resident makes a vow or commitment of healing and to renounce to drugs before what he considers most sacred.
The orientation of the psychological work focuses on the awareness of the damage the patient made to himself and others. He seems to awake from a long sleep and there is usually a process of remembrance of past events with strong emotional charge that need to be properly processed.
This stage lasts for approximately 2 months, and finishes with a first “dieta” (retreat) and the two following post-dieta weeks.
In these first 3 months (until the patients completes his post-dieta), the resident patients can’t see his family/relaives or communicate with them, in order to avoid emotional interferences that could be destabilizing. However, it is desired for the family to have regular contact with the therapeutic team.
At this stage physical recovery is almost complete, except in cases where deterioration is too severe. The subsequent unveiling and resolving of psychological and emotional burdens last about 4 months. The therapeutic work will focus on finding and bringing to surface emotions or repressed experiences that unconsciously support the dependence structure. It also concentrates on the identification of personal, family, social and existential factors that could strengthen addictive behavior, and, consequently, on the emergence of possible solutions.
Psychotherapy techniques in an individual and group approach are applied, as well as the use of traditional medicinal plants with psychosomatic effects and retreats/diets, in order to allow the patient to gain awareness of the hidden causes that have originated his emotional, existential or spiritual problems that led him to drug consumption.
Patients reinforce contents of the first stage, and at the same time deal with their relationship with nature, the outside world and with what they consider "different" (generally speaking). This way, they begin a process of essential differentiation, which is necessary to get out from states of emotional dependency. As personal problems start to clarify, the sphere of the other appears in the horizon (the other person conceived as someone different from me), as patients inquire within their own emotional environment.
All of this takes place in community life with other patients. Every incident is taken as an opportunity to clarify and modify unconscious behavioral patterns. This personality restructuration naturally leads to the existential definition of the patient’s own life, and therefore to go deeply into his transcendental dimension. The introspective process is oriented towards metaphysical concerns, while the attitude is more realist and pragmatic. Spiritual and religious elements are reencountered and are offered as pillars of a new life oriented towards personal growth. The mayor achievement at this level consists of discovering the meaning of his own life, his personal vocation, and to be able to shape it through the elaboration of a concrete life project. Keeping this perspective in action is a guarantee of cure.
This stage involves the reincorporation of family, work and social spaces. An individual orientation is given considering the particular characteristics and interests of each person. No patient is discharged from the treatment without knowing what he's going to do out of the Center, without having a project that points at a change in lifestyle.
The reinsertion and the discharge of the patients from the Center imply a lot of details to be taken care of, such as the documents update, completing studies, professional training, find out about possible jobs, etc. We need to anticipate structural changes in the family and one must change his place of residence: at first a patient cannot go back to live with his parents. Doing so can generate relapses in almost all of the cases.
The patient will follow a progressive program of trips out of the Center to resume family and work contacts.
In case of youths without formation it is also proposed to follow brief technical-occupational curses, or scholar studies. While he is in contact with the outside world, the patient also continues participating in the Center therapies. He continues his psychological reinforcement and learns about relapse avoidance techniques (conflict resolution, frustration tolerance, opening of new social and relational circles, etc.).
After being definitely discharged the patient will attend scheduled appointments that are part of the Monitoring, a crucial stage to consolidate what was learned during the treatment. Psychological cares for the wife and sons of the patient are also provided when given the circumstances.
The treatment does not end with the medical discharge, thus a long time of observation and accompaniment is needed to consolidate a compelte healing. The solution to dependency and compulsion is a profound revolution in the personal structure, whose changes, initiated in TAKIWASI, will continue to be carried out throughout life. It is estimated that after 5 years of abstinence with a structural change in personality and the lifestyle, healing can be considered fully achieved.
When possible it is recommended to the ex-patient to assist minimum once a month to a personal interview with a therapist, and, eventually, to participate in a plant intake session. Later these therapeutic meetings can be scheduled less often, depending on the pace and the needs of the person.
For people that live abroad we try, as far as possible, to establish a connection with institutions and therapists familiarized with the TAKIWASI model that live near the patient's place.
The Center is always available to host for brief periods patients which, having successfully completed treatment, seek to participate in a strengthening therapeutic process that would include depurative and/or psychoactive plant ingestions and/or a retreat/diet.
There is no need to wait for a relapse to ask for reinforcement. During the treatment each resident patient learns to recognize in his own body and emotions the beginning of some negative trend or change, and in that way he also learns to differentiate situations that can lead him to a crisis. It is preferable to request in advance for a reinforcement program, so that Takiwasi can organize and prepare the stay and avoid overlapping activities.