Treasure Beach, Jamaica, August 2, 2022 - Diaspora Psychedelic Society (DPS) is pleased to announce two new programs aimed at easing the anxiety and depression associated with life-threatening illnesses and the dying process. The “Sacred Transitions End-of-Life Retreat” offers psilocybin-as-medicine explorations with facilitated discussions on the topics of death and dying for individuals and their families. And for aspiring death doulas and others interested in accompanying the dying, the Psychedelic End-of-Life Doula Training couples traditional end-of-life doula certification with training on the benefits and practices of using psilocybin for their clients.
Since 2006, prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, New York University and University of California Los Angeles have conducted clinical research using psilocybin, the active component in “magic mushrooms”, expressly to ease anxiety and depression in patients with advanced-stage cancer. The studies have consistently shown that the use of psilocybin, along with psychotherapy, significantly reduced participants’ fears and other symptoms, while increasing overall well-being and acceptance toward dying. Participants reported, “tremendous connection to everyone”, “feelings of pure love” and that “death doesn’t frighten me.” These findings, along with other psilocybin research treating a range of mental disorders, have led to the legalization or decriminalization of psilocybin across several jurisdictions in North America. This interest in and acceptance of alternative medicine is now mainstream, poised for tremendous growth, both in the U.S. and internationally.
At the same time, North America has seen a huge rise in the numbers of trained End-of-Life Doulas, non-medical caregivers whose mission is to bring dignity, emotional ease, and a deep sense of fulfillment to the dying experience. Westernized nations have traditionally considered death a topic to avoid, but this attitude is shifting, and End-of-Life Doulas are an integral part of this trend. Also known as “Death Midwives”, End-of-Life Doulas offer a wide range of services, from practical care (such as helping their clients establish final arrangements), to compassionate support for the dying person, their friends and their families, sitting with them during their final transition, sometimes assisting with funeral and celebration of life services, and post-death grief work which provides closure for the living.
Omar Thomas, Founder of Diaspora Psychedelic Society and certified End-of-Life Doula, underwent intensive sacred mushroom work to deal with trauma and fear surrounding his own near-death experiences. He believes, “My own experience showed me the power of psilocybin as a sacred plant medicine to heal and help me find a truly meaningful path through life. Coming to terms with death has been an important part of the process. With the growing accessibility to psilocybin, the timing is right to combine it with the compassionate work of doulas to bring meaning and peace to one’s end-of-life journey. By offering both customized end-of-life retreats and doula training, DPS aims to help many people experience a sacred and fulfilling transition whether that is here in Jamaica or at home.”
The Lead Facilitator for both the End-of-Life Doula Training and Retreat Program, Christina Ingenito, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist who has 30 years’ experience working with thousands of hospice patients. She also has four decades’ experience working with plant medicines and is a graduate of the Psychedelic Therapy and Research Certificate Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Christina is excited about the potential for the Training and Retreat Programs, believing “psilocybin serves to open individuals to addressing and working through their feelings about the dying process, the potential experiences of love, peace, and acceptance, and finding meaning in their remaining time. The psilocybin journeys can also be transformative for families and loved ones as relationships are repaired or deepened.”
Diaspora Psychedelic Society was founded in 2018 to honor indigenous sacred medicine healing practices, traditions, and rites/rituals while offering safe, inclusive, and more equitable access to psilocybin and DMT-supported wellness. Both Sacred Transitions End-of-Life Retreat and Psychedelic End-of-Life Doula Training Programs were developed to address the issues that arise when one is living with a life-threatening illness or other existential crisis. The DPS End-of-Life Programs Team is Lead Facilitator, Christina Ingenito, LCSW; Catherine Durkin Robinson, Certified End-of-Life Doula, and owner of Anitya Doula Services; Ross Wilson, Certified End-of-Life Doula, Hospice Chaplain, and Mindful Grief Coach; and Andy Sudbrock, Certified End-of-Life Doula, Certified Psychedelic Integration Coach, and owner of Sacred Path Retreats.
The Sacred Transitions End-of-Life Retreat groups begin January 4, 2023. Private retreats for four or more people (intended for families and friends) can be scheduled now. The Psychedelic End-of-Life Doula Training is a five-week program, starting with an intensive four-week online doula component, followed by a 6-day/5-night psilocybin exploration and training component in Jamaica, where psilocybin is legal. Trainees will undergo their own psilocybin journeys and learn about the use of psilocybin for their clients. For those already certified as an End-of-Life Doula or hospice healthcare professional, there is the option to register for only the 6-day/5-night psilocybin journey portion of the training. For more information on the retreats and training click the links above or contact us at: email@example.com