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Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to participate on an Inwardbound Psychedelic Retreat Programme?

Our retreat programmes may suit if you are looking for:

  • Self-growth or self-actualisation.
  • Creativity and cognitive boost.
  • Inner Transformation and Growth
  • Deepening your relationship with yourself, with others and with the natural world
  • Connecting deeper with yourself, your inner child and remembering who you are
  • a space for catharsis or release of repressed emotions

 

Our retreat programmes are not suitable if:

  • You an in very vulnerable emotional or psychological state
  •  You have a diagnosed psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar, clinical depression or a personality disorder
  •  You are currently on psychiatric medication including SSRIS
  •  You have a personal or family history of psychosis
  •  You are dealing with serious addiction or have substance abuse issues
  •  You are dealing with suicidality or suicidal ideation
  • You are currently dealing with severe anxiety

 

As a rule, we do not work with very sick people (mentally or physically).

 

Not everyone is a candidate for retreats involving psychedelic drugs. As a general guideline, people who have cognitive and emotional conditions associated with dis-organized or diminished ego strength are not good candidates for pharmaco-assisted retreats with psychedelics.  Contraindications include people with personality disorders, bipolar, psychotic or schizophrenic tendencies.

It is also important to note that psilocybin does not have what would be considered as a strong psychedelic effect on everyone. People who have very strong ego defences, who find find it hard to surrender, or those with a very dominant rational mind, can sometimes have a less powerful experience. The psychedelic experience is not for everyone, it can sometimes be frightening, but as Joseph Campbell put it: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”. This is very true of the psychedelic experience. The client must be willing to face their own traumas and shadow, and this is not always easy.

What is your coronavirus policy?

Guest Protocols

  • We recommend that retreat participants minimise their interactions with people for 14 days prior to the retreat to reduce the chances of coming into contact with COVID 19
  • All participants must show proof of negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test no more than 5 days prior to retreat start date
  • If a guest tests positive for COVID-19, or is experiencing a fever in excess of 100°F/ 38 C the morning of the retreat start date, they will not be permitted to board the bus to the retreat. Their deposit will be fully transferable to a future retreat date, and they will be required to take another test and test negative before their next retreat.
  • Participants must sign a COVID-19 waiver upon meetup, confirming they have not been experiencing any COVID-related symptoms
  • Temperature checks with touchless thermometer prior to boarding the Inwardbound bus
  • Private rooms for each participant
  • Individual cups provided for psilocybin
  • Minimizing touching between other guests and staff, including handshakes and hugs
  • Most up to date official Dutch Government advice can be found here https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19

STAFF PROTOCOL

  • Regular testing and temperature checks for all facilitators
  • Facilitators required to regularly wash hands and maintain best hygienic practices
  • Facilitators requiring a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test no more than 5 days prior to retreat start date

What are the potential benefits of psilocybin?

The Vision

Our experience retreats take place over five days at one of our beautiful retreat centres in the Netherlands. Participants are asked to make their own way to Amsterdam by 17:00 on the first evening of the retreat. From there we arrange transport to our retreat centre.

On the first evening of grounding and preparation, we set an individual and collective intention. What is it you intend to let go of, what do you intend to heal, how do you want to grow?

Our psychedelic sessions take place the afternoons of the second and third day, and are followed by two powerful days of integration using different therapeutic modalities from Art therapy to yoga. Our programmes are based on the pioneering work of Dr Stan Grof.

The retreat ends on the evening of the fifth day.

Is Psilocybin safe? What are the potential risks of Psilocybin?

Given to carefully screened clients with the right mindset and setting, in recommended doses, psilocybin has proven to be notably safe. It has no tissue toxicity, does not interfere with liver function, has scant drug contra– interactions (see below ‘What medications are contra-indicated with psilocybin?’), and carries no long-term physical effects.

These drugs are not intoxicants in the usual sense. They do not dull the senses or induce sleepiness. On the contrary, sensory perception is intensified and attention is aroused. Although abuse syndromes have been reported, few people become habituated or addicted to these drugs. Psilocybin is not addictive.

Risks of Psilocybin:

can cause harm in people with psychosis or a pre-disposition to psychosis
can cause anxiety, fear or confusion (during the experience and in the short term immediate aftermath).
can cause moderate elevations in pulse and blood pressure.
can cause headaches the day following use.
in very rare cases, can cause persisting perceptual change, HPPD. However, according to Dr. Matthew Johnson of the John Hopkins Centre for Psychedelic Research, this has never occurred in any of the psilocybin clinical trials.

Adverse physiological effects are few and of short duration, but can be substantial. During the onset of psychedelic experiences nausea and vomiting are not unusual. In this first hour or more, visual and spatial orientation are commonly disrupted, which can give rise to anxiety. Sympathetic nervous system arousal may occur both because of fear, and from direct effects of the drugs. Particularly during the initial phase of sessions, psychedelics dissolve barriers between physical senses resulting in synesthesia; touches, smells, and tastes can take on sounds, shapes and colors. Similarly, emotions and thoughts may evoke visual images and sounds. These phenomena explain why the term hallucinogen is often used synonymously with psychedelics to refer to this class of drugs.

 

The healing process- how can psilocybin help you heal?

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”- Joseph Campbell

Our psilocybin retreats offer a safe container to journey deep into your psyche. This process of diving deep into the subconscious can be challenging, but as Carl Jung put it, there is gold to be found in the shadow.

We do not claim to heal or fix anyone. We do strongly trust in the power of psilocybin however, the psychological process that unfolds on our retreats, and have witnessed many clients have transformative and life changing experiences.

We agree with the assessment of the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS), Rick Doblin, when he took issue with: “the myth of psychedelic drugs as magic bullets, the ingestion of which will automatically confer wisdom and create lasting change after just one or even a few experiences. Personality change may be made more likely after a cathartic and insightful experience, but only sustained hard work after the drug has worn off will serve to anchor and solidify any movement toward healing and behaviour change”. In other words, integration, and self work after the experience, are the keys to lasting change.

We hold space for our participants to feel hidden and repressed emotions and whole spectrum of the human experience- from fear and anger to joy and bliss.

Have a listen to Inwardbound co-founders Dr Darragh Stewart and Rob Coffey give this talk on “The promise and challenges of Psychedelic Therapy”:

We are integrating in our model the most recent ACER psychological model from Imperial College London on psychedelic therapy and psilocybin therapy. From avoidance of repressed emotions to acceptance, connection and embodiment.

We trust deeply in our process, and our capacity to hold our clients in a safe container. We do not fix or heal our clients, the responsibility to heal ultimately lies with the individual. This process can be challenging, but for the majority of our clients, very beneficial. It is also important to mention that psilocybin does not have a strong visual or hallucinogenic quality for everyone.

 

How likely am I to have a transformational experience?

At Inwardbound, integrity is vital to us so we never make any promises to our particpants on the outcome of their psilocybin retreat experience. That said, experientially we have found that our participants’ experiences roughly correspond to the results of 175 respondents who participated in the seminal study ‘Reactions to psilocybin administered in a supportive environment’ (Leary, Litwin, Metzner 1963).

Their findings are still relevant today:

“Has the mushroom experience changed your life?
0%- Much Worse 1%- Worse 37 %- No change 50% -Changed for the better 12%- Radically Better
Did you learn a lot about yourself and the world?
2% -More confused 9% -Learned nothing 43%- Learned something of value 22% -Learned a lot 23%- Tremendous insights
Was the experience pleasant?
3% -Very unpleasant 4% -Unpleasant 23 %- Ok 38%- Very Pleasant 32%- Wonderful or Ecstatic”
To summarise, at Inwardbound our experience has shown us that roughly speaking our clients’ experiences are in-line with established research. Overall, about 60 % of our clients lives are changed for the better. 15-25% of our clients have major transformative experiences or insights. About 10 % of our clients have challenging or very challenging experiences, though sometimes this can be where the biggest breakthroughs can occur.

As yet there is no data as to why some people have more transformative experiences than others, or what traits are conducive to having a transformative experience.

What medications are contraindicated with psilocybin?

You should:

Not be using tricyclic antidepressants or lithium, SSRIs, haloperidol, or MAOIs (some of these increase psychedelic effects, some of them reduce effects).
Not be using 5-HTP, St John’s Wort or any other supplements that “may affect serotonergic function”
Do not consume cannabis or dronabinol for at least 24 h before a session.
Not be using Ritonavir/Indinavir
Tricyclic antidepressants include:

Amitriptyline
Anafranil
Asendin
Aventyl
Elavil
Endep
Norfranil
Norpramin
Pamelor
Sinequan
Surmontil
Tipramine
Tofranil
Vivactil.

Taking psyilocybin while on an MAOI can dramatically increase the effects of the experience.

MAOIs are most commonly found in the prescription anti-depressants:

Nardil (phenelzine
Parnate (tranylcypromine)
Marplan (isocarboxazid)
Eldepryl (l-deprenyl)
Aurorex or Manerix (moclobemide).
Check with your doctor if you are not sure whether your prescription medication is an MAOI.

SSRIs are not reported to cause a dangerous interaction, though they are reported to substantially decrease the effects of psilocybin.

Research recommends against using cannabis or marijuana with psilocybin.

There are some other medications which may interfere with psilocybin:

anti-convulsants or anti-epileptic medications such as
Neurontin(gabapentin) and Topamax(topiramate). The exact mechanism by
which topiramate works, for example, is still unknown, so it is
impossible to even guess whether or not it will interfere with
psilocybin.
medications which are either synthetic analogs of certain
hormones or which regulate hormone production: Prednisone and
Synthroid, for example. There is no direct evidence to suggest that
these drugs will interact with psilocybin, but hormones have a very
complex and inter-related effect on numerous body systems. We have
seen a few reports suggesting that thyroid levels play a part in
cluster headaches
* tranquilizers and mood-altering medications such as Xanax,
Valium, Prozac and Wellbutrin.
Ondansetron (Zofran) and Compazine(prochlorperazine)
Imitrex (and associated triptans):
In relation to migraine headaches based upon many reports, triptans are one of the most likely
medications to block the clusterbusting effects of psychedelics. In our opinion, they should be avoided both before, during and after,
beginning psychedelic treatments for cluster headaches.

sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Imigran®) injections
sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Imigran®) tablets
zolmitriptan (Zomig®) tablets
sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Imigran®) nasal spray
naratriptan (Amerge®, Naramig®) tablets
rizatriptan (Maxalt®) tablets and rizatriptan orally dissolvable
(Maxalt-MLT®) tablets
zolmitriptan orally dissolvable (Zomig-ZMT®) tablets
almotriptan (Axert®) tablets
frovatriptan (Frova®) tablets
eletriptan (Relpax®) tablets

What is our policy on SSRIS?

SSRIs are contraindicated with psilocybin. Our policy on clients using SSRIS is that they should come off them at least 5 weeks before our retreat in conjunction with medical advice. Medical advice needs to be sought as coming off SSRIs can have serious physiological and psychological side effects.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants

Will coming on an Inwardbound psilocybin retreat solve all my life problems?

No. The process of change and the integration of the psychedelic experience requires hard work on the part of our participants. That said, our retreats can be an important part of the process of healing and change, and we offer some powerful tools to help our participants with the integration process. At Inwardbound we do not claim to have all the answers to life’s challenges, we work by helping empower our participants to look within and find the answers through the wisdom of their own inner healer.

How many psychedelic sessions do I partake in on a retreat?

Two five hour sessions over the course of the retreat, with the option of stepped dosages.

What is the facilitator/ participant ratio?

On our group retreat programmes, we provide three or four facilitators (male and female) to a maximum of 12 clients. This very low ratio allows us to provide the highest possible standard of care for our clients.

How many retreats do you run a year ?

We run a maximum of 10 group retreats a year. This allows our team of facilitators to provide the best possible experience for our clients, so that each retreat is a unique and special experience.  It allows our facilitators the self care and rest needed to hold the space. Our retreats never become run-of-the-mill or routine. Every retreat we run fills to capacity, often on personal recommendation and word of mouth. Many family members of previous clients have come on our retreats.

What is included in the price?

Four nights accommodation in a twin room, facilitation, all meals, transfers from Amsterdam City Centre ( if you arrive at the designated time)

What is not included ?

Flights to and from Amsterdam Schipol airport, travel insurance and psilocybin truffles which can be purchased from a third party (cost 50 euro)

Do I have to be referred by a doctor?

No, but in certain circumstances we may ask for a medical letter.

What about the music?

A common question we get is “what if I don’t like the music?”. Our 5 hour play list has been chosen in-line with current research. It is designed to evoke an emotional response, not necessarily to be liked. That said, we use a wide range of musical sources so it you don’t like a certain genre or style of music, it won’t be long before it changes.

What should I wear?

Light fitting comfortable clothes

What about the science?

Mushroomreferences.com is a good source for scientific references.

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