Edward offers Transpersonal Counselling for addiction and recovery. He has specialised in utilising the Transpersonal Integrative approach afte having been an ibogaine practitioner and provider and discovering the need for proper care management to get the best results from this new psycho-spiritual detox method. He was quick to see the limitations of the ibogaine system and underwent a comprehensive study and practie over many years as a psychotherapist to develop a appropriate manner of working that interacts well with the ibogaine experience and the need to manage the roots of addiction formulation in attachment issues, trauma and spiritual growth.
Ibogaine makes people ready for a deeper engagement with their own inner processes, it marks the begininng of the journey of self discovery, not the end. Howard Lotsoff knew this when he discovered the anti addictive qualities of iboga. It is recognised within the field of detox that aftercare is one of the most crucial aspects to ensure recovery. This is also known within the ibogaine field, but not generally offered. Lotsoff said iboga should be used in conjunction with therapy, it was never supposed or advised to be used alone..
With such an investment made in detox, both financially and personally, it is a shame to not carry that through and only get a small part of what recovery should and needs to be about. Detox, rehabilitation and recovery are about the whole package, not just one element alone. The real struggle starts once someone is back in their old community. But rather than seen as a threat, with the correct and appropriate weekly therapeutic support, this can become a learning experience. The struggles when supported can become milestones in the process of change. This is when true recovery happens - in the real living environment. Appropriate, knowledgeable and non judgemental source of support provides a continual point of reference and strength. It is a purely confidential service designed to support the recovery and challenges that occur when trying to maintain sobriety. A good therapist knows that this is where the real work is done and where the battle is fought and understands how to support someone in this place of change.
Edward has worked for many years as an independent dual diagnosis therapist, working in front line addiction services in the Uk. His knowledge is based on many years of work with individuals with all manner of issues, with or without the use of iboga. He knows how to support inidividuals on the road to recovery without relying on iboga alone, but on well proven skills learnt in the field of addiction.
Iboga accelerates or boosts progress, it does not 'rewire' an addict as often stated, but leaves the person more fully aware of their circumstances and choices. Iboga does not make choices or decisions for someone. Also after a couple of months post treatment, the afterglow of the residual alkaloids wear off. This can be a time of struggle. Therefore learning good relapse prevention skills are crucially important.
Spiritual growth and personal change are not journeys to be taken alone. So good aftercare should be a part of that journey of recovery, it lightens the load and the strain and breaks a cycle often familiar to addicts of facing live as a struggle using only ones own resources. Recovery is about accepting support and enabling oneself to accept help, thus breaking the cycle of a solitary and lonely existence.
Pre and Post detox therapy
The importance of therapy following detox is commonly voiced, yet it is not always offered or accepted by providers or patients alike. The original protocols around ibogaine therapy outlined by Howard Lotsoff highlighted the need for good therapy to be utilised to support the ongoing process of recovery after the ingestion of ibogaine. The absence of such goes against how iboga is used culturally and socially within an appropriate healing matrix of care and community.
In his ibogaine treatments, Edward observed that pre treatment mindfulness therapy can aid the quality of treatment and the focusing of the mind on intention and goal attainment, thus reducing worry and increasing commitment and results. The ingestion of ibogaine then becomes an intervention of intensive detox bridged on both sides by a continuum of support and appropriate behaviour and rehearsed living style as a drug free individual. This mental engagement enhances the process of psychologically identifying with the drug free persona and thus begins the process of enacting this lifestyle choice. Special psychological techniques are used to bring this new state of mind about, it is a process of invocation, enacting, rehearsal and 'acting as if.'
Many of the anecdotal stories describing ibogaine experiences suggest that the process will involve detailed visions and life inventories. However, this is probably less common than imagined. Further complicating this is the concern some individuals feel if they did not 'see' or get the images they hoped for. This can lead to doing treatments more than once, increasing personal cost and with no further guarantee that this will incur.
Iboga has always been used in the context of being the start of a journey, not the end. Traditionally this 'Rite of Passage' is done within a tight cultural setting with a long history of use and sensitivity to human need, growth and the nature of struggle. To not be able to access supportive after care structure also goes against the model of iboga usage as set out by Howard Lotsoff. Ibogaine works at a diminished capacity when not used with ongoing support. A week in a iboga detox centre does not constitute on going support. The absence of after care and a 'relapse prevention' package, is often a contributing factor to a persons struggle to maintain abstinence following detox. This as much applies to traditional detox as well as iboga detox. The misleading presentation of iboga as a drug which 'resets the brain to a pre addictive state', maligns the fact that it has always been used in conjunction with and in the context of an ongoing process of community support. To not offer or supply this is in fact to primarily misunderstand the very nature of this substance. To invoke a spiritual, emotional and physical cleanse and reintroduce that person back into an old environment with temptations, risky friend groups, etc. without a relapse prevention package is tantamount to neglect.
The process of rehabilitation requires to be a symbiotic use of therapy, detoxification and spiritual unfolding to support the process of gradual unfolding that is personal growth. This assists in supporting and maintaining the ongoing psychological and emotional detoxing which continues long after initial ingestion and detox, which can only take place back in the real world, in full contact with life again. This is where the real test occur, not in the minds eye of the visions evoked by iboga - which is an entirely passive process. The real process of learning to live again is not imaginary, but real and requires the learning of real coping skills, genuine psychological insight and personality strengthening.
With over ten years of specialist addiction work as a back ground and a long history of providing relapse prevention to many individuals, as well as being a pioneer in iboga treatment in conjunction with integrative therapy, Edward is very well placed to offer this crucial service. A service which should be by design a requirement automatically factored into any iboga experience or detox. Without this, only a small part of what can be really drawn from this valuable developmental process will be realised.
To read an article on the short comings of addiction treatment click here.
Spiritual crises / psychoses / emergency
In some cases of treatment, where preparation has been poor, or often in cases of self administration a completion of the process does not occur. The result of this is that there is a heavy emotional and psychological overhang following the termination of the treatment. This can also happen when someone experiences paranoia, psychosis or feelings of schizophrenia during the effects of the entheogen. These feelings can remain after ward and do not wear off, thus leaving the individual troubled and diminished in their capacity to function normally.
This can be as a direct response to lack of preparation. It is becoming much more frequent for people to minimise the power of iboga and such like drugs as tools which open psychological repressive mechanisms and treat them with a certain supermarket mentality of Western consumerism, devaluation and reductionism. This democratisation of powerful psychotropic drugs simply belittles the subtlety and precision and care that is required in being able to utilise them, or understand what is happening whilst under their power. These drugs lift psychological repressive forces which are their to support our developmental and social processes. They can act as magnifiers and energisers, inflating ego dystonic feelings and creating cognitive conflicts within the mind.
It is naive to expect that this process will always work simply and conform to a generalised norm of outcome, a common presented image which appeals to the narcissistic idealised/imaginal personality, either provider or client alike. This so flies in the face of appreciating that everybody has a unique individual inner language which requires to be truly understood. assuming that iboga or anyother such substance will do this automatically is profoundly misinformed.
It is therefore very important as a therapist to have a deep understanding of what constitutes the inner territory of the human mind and the sectors of the unconscious, high and low, as well as the conduits of the psyche which contribute to or channel the components of personality. These are the building blocks of the inner world. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the inner fauna, the expressions of pathology and the expressions of health within the psyche in order to assist its balance and support its movement toward integration and health.
From many years of experience I have learnt to be able to support people through difficult and often frightening states that can arise through and remain afterwards from psychotropic drugs, Kundalini experiences, the near death encounter, or temporary psychotic episodes.
Finding oneself in such a place can be extremely frightening, with terror and intense fear predominating. Such a condition can very easily lead to someone questioning their sanity as well as others who see them that way also doing so. This can lead to having to engage with mental health services. These things do happen, and even happen with people who consider themselves to have a background of spiritual experience and be adept in the social use of psychedelic drugs.
It is very important for these people to seek appropriate support. The difficulty they often can come across is that the current medical model will often treat such experiences as temporary psychotic episodes, symptoms of schizophrenia, or drug induced psychoses. However there are specific qualities that can identify such experiences as genuine spiritual crises, which require specific and appropriate support from a model of psychotherapy that supports these phenomena. However, personal well being and safety will always take priority over a label or approach to care.
These are often temporary states that respond to appropriate therapy and are now beginning to be recognised by medical process as spiritual crises. The American Psychiatric society classify them as such in the DSM IV
For a link to the current Royal College of Psychiatrists view on Transpersonal/Spiritual Emergency and Psychosis see here.
Such experiences are not uncommon and can be viewed as an incomplete episode, the emergence of repressed material material from the lower unconscious or a type of spiritual and emotional catharsis. It is important to know that these phenomena, fall perfectly within what is to be expected from the use of psychedelic substances. This is after all what psychedelic means - 'to manifest the mind'. The eroneous assumption made by the bliss seeking new age promoters of ayhuascha etc. is to assume that the mind is a vessel of light and love alone. This only goes to show how little they really know about the human condition, the drives, attachment and separation, the shadow, archetypes, presences of sub personalities, wounding etc. etc.
Spiritual crises require to be completed and processed in ordinary state of consciousness and with the use of conscious cognitive processing. Successfully done, this can then become the beginning of a new chapter in an individuals life, a freeing up from the past repressed material and a completion of a cycle or resolution of an historical event or life phase. It is important to seek the appropriate support in order to do this.
To read an article relating to some of the phenomena discussed, click here.
See my other website for links to videos that cover spiritual issues including emergency and crises of the soul.
Video page can be found here:
For information on any of the above or other related matter please get in contact.