Potential use of ayahuasca in grief therapy

Débora González*, María Carvalho, Jordi Cantillo, Marc Aixalá, Magí Farré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The death of a loved one is ultimately a universal experience. However, conventional interventions employed for people suffering with uncomplicated grief have gathered little empirical support. The present study aimed to explore the potential effects of ayahuasca on grief. We compared 30 people who had taken ayahuasca with 30 people who had attended peer-support groups, measuring level of grief and experiential avoidance. We also examined themes in participant responses to an open-ended question regarding their experiences with ayahuasca. The ayahuasca group presented a lower level of grief in the Present Feelings Scale of Texas Revised Inventory of Grief, showing benefits in some psychological and interpersonal dimensions. Qualitative responses described experiences of emotional release, biographical memories, and experiences of contact with the deceased. Additionally, some benefits were identified regarding the ayahuasca experiences. These results provide preliminary data about the potential of ayahuasca as a therapeutic tool in treatments for grief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-285
Number of pages26
JournalOmega (United States)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Ayahuasca
  • Continuing bonds
  • Grief
  • Peer-support group
  • Therapy


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