The therapeutic use of ayahuasca in grief

Débora González*, Adam Aronovich, Maria Carvalho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter is part of a broader study that aims to prospectively assess the long-term effects of ayahuasca on bereavement. The qualitative reports shown here are from participants who attended workshops at the Temple of the Way of Light while processing grief over the death of a loved one. Several themes emerged: emotional processing, making meaning of the past, reconstructing identities, continuing bonds with the deceased, and finding existential meaning. These psychological processes have been described as mediators in grief adaptation in scientific literature. Adding to this evidence, we also explored the perspectives of four Shipibo onaya healers. This way, we understood that the observed therapeutic effects of ayahuasca cannot be described solely in terms of psychological and intrapersonal dimensions, since they are embedded in a particular ceremonial and ethnomedical context, with many experiences being reported in relation to the participant’s perception of the role of the work of the Shipibo healers and the icaros.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAyahuasca healing and science
EditorsBeatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030556884
ISBN (Print)9783030556877
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021


  • Ayahuasca
  • Grief
  • Icaros
  • Onaya
  • Psychological processes


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