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Where Access to the PAST is Healing: Enhancing Your Capacity to Live in the Present

Updated: May 31

I recently collaborated with a colleague, Alexandria Jones, who wrote an extensive article on Psychedelic-Assisted Sex Therapy (PAST). Drawing from her insightful work, I wanted to share some important aspects here, highlighting the therapeutic potential of combining psychedelics with sex therapy to support sexual healing and well-being.



What is Psychedelic-Assisted Sex Therapy and its History?


Psychedelic-Assisted Sex Therapy (PAST) is an innovative approach combining psychedelic medicine with sex therapy to support sexual healing. It involves using substances like MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, or ketamine in a safe, trauma-informed environment under the guidance of a licensed mental health provider and certified sex therapist. These therapists create a consented, supportive space to help clients navigate their sexual healing journey.


The roots of PAST can be traced back to ancient practices like Tantra, which originated in the Hindu framework around the first millennium CE. Tantra's meditative and ritual practices, emphasizing sacred sexuality and spiritual connection, laid the foundation for integrating psychedelics with therapeutic practices. Today, PAST distinguishes itself by requiring a clear therapeutic framework, ensuring consent, boundaries, and a respectful therapist-client relationship.


Psychedelic-Assisted Sex Therapy Techniques, Approaches, and Uses


Researchers and therapists are exploring the potential of psychedelic medicine to address sexual difficulties and enhance intimacy. Various therapeutic approaches can be interwoven into the psychedelic therapy journey, whether in preparation, the medicine experience, or integration phases.


In my book, "Unfolding Eros - A Journey into Psychedelic-Assisted Sex Therapy," I explore how psychedelics can be integrated into sex therapy. The combining traditional therapeutic approaches with the unique properties of psychedelics to support sexual healing has great potential.


Benefits: Who Can PAST Help?


PAST can benefit a wide range of individuals, offering healing for various sexual and relational issues. Here are some issues PAST can address:


  • Sexual communication and relationship difficulties

  • Intimacy and connection issues

  • Low or inhibited sexual desire

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Religious trauma

  • Couples' desire discrepancy

  • Premature ejaculation

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Arousal and orgasm difficulties

  • Intimacy after infidelity or addiction

  • Concerns about pornography usage

  • Exploring LGBTQ issues

  • Alternative lifestyles, swinging, and open relationships

  • Polyamory, kink, and fetishes

  • BDSM challenges

  • Male and female sexual health

  • Pain during sex (Vaginismus, Dyspareunia)

  • Sexual trauma

  • Sex after pregnancy or cancer

  • Sexual issues related to infertility treatments


Effectiveness


While specific research on PAST is limited, there is a growing body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. For instance, recent MDMA trials have shown significant improvements in PTSD symptoms, which is promising for survivors of sexual trauma. These studies indicate that psychedelics can alter the brain's response to traumatic memories, enhance emotional regulation, and foster self-compassion and empathy.


Research also suggests that psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin have potential in treating anxiety and depression, common among individuals experiencing sexual dysfunction or trauma. These findings highlight the transformative potential of psychedelics in addressing complex emotional and psychological issues.


How is it Different from Traditional Psychedelic Therapy?


PAST integrates elements that traditional psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy may overlook. It emphasizes a holistic approach, incorporating nature-based practices, decolonizing perspectives, somatic and body-centered methods, and a strong focus on consent and boundaries. The community-based and family systems approach of PAST also distinguishes it from more conventional therapeutic models.


In PAST, the therapeutic relationship involves open dialogue about sexual energy, boundaries, and consent, ensuring a safe and respectful space for clients to explore their sexual healing.


How to Get Started as a Client


To begin your journey with PAST, seek out a psychedelic-assisted sex therapy provider who is also a certified sex therapist who offers integration with medicine journeys. If local providers are unavailable, consider traveling to a provider or consulting a certified sex therapist for support.


Finding the right clinician involves screening and asking questions to ensure they have the necessary expertise and experience. It's essential to find a therapist who understands the unique challenges and dynamics of PAST.


Becoming Psychedelic Sex Therapy Informed


For clinicians interested in PAST, Alexandria and I agree, it's very important to understand the scope of practice and know when to refer clients to a specialist. Collaboration with local holistic sex therapists and continuous education are vital for providing the best care.


Why Do We Need a Curriculum for Sex Therapists to be Trained and Become More Informed?


Developing a curriculum for PAST is essential as it prepares therapists to work safely and effectively with clients in this unique modality. Such training should cover psychedelic therapy foundations, sex therapy basics, integration of both practices, clinical skills, ethical considerations, and ongoing professional development.


A well-rounded curriculum ensures therapists are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and ethical foundation needed to incorporate psychedelics into sex therapy practices safely. This comprehensive approach will enhance the field and support therapists in providing effective, transformative care for their clients.


For more information on PAST and resources, visit my colleague at Rooted Healing Sanctuary.

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