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Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy – Back to the roots

Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy – Back to the roots


Plant medicines, such as ayahuasca, are rising in popularity and showing tremendous potential for mental-health outcomes. The research coming forward for ayahuasca and psychedelic treatments is promising, but much is conducted in clinical settings or in ‘tourist-orientated’ facilities where some of the perceived crucial cultural elements of accessing altered states of consciousness are overlooked. 

This presentation goes back to the roots.
Rebekah Senanayake will draw on her recent one-year of fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon and explore the Amazonian medical system, the role of psychoactive and non-psychoactive substances, and perceptions of health and well-being. Based on eight years of experience and relationships in the Amazon, Rebekah’s research works with traditional healers in traditional settings, and seeks to study plant medicines in it’s most undisturbed settings to understand the function of these medicines in societies where these states are regularly accessed, and how they are accessed - safely or otherwise. 

Traditional knowledge and modern medicine are not as dissimilar as they may be initially perceived. Throughout the presentation, Rebekah will draw comparisons between the two fields, and how they may be mutually informative, and discuss relevant aspects of ritual theory pertaining to the psychedelic experience, and clinical applications going forward. 

Key take aways 

  • A deeper insight into the Amazonian medical system, and perceptions of health
  • An understanding of how psychoactive and non-psychoactive plants are used within this framework  
  • How traditional knowledge and modern medicine can work together 
  • Crucial structural elements for accessing these states of consciousness

Presenter Biography: Rebekah Senanayake
Rebekah is a Cultural Psychologist and PhD Cultural Anthropology candidate. Building on eight years of experience, her research investigates the function of altered states of consciousness in Amazonia. She recently completed one year of fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon working closely with traditional healers to better understand the Amazonian medical system and use of psychoactive and non-psychoactive plants. Her MSc (Cultural Psychology) investigated profound psychedelic experiences and ego-dissolution, and her Honours (BSc, First-class) focused on the transmission of knowledge in altered states, and traditional medicine in the Fijian context. She has been involved in a range of research projects pertaining to health, values, morality, and harm-reduction.

Rebekah’s work seeks to bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and modern medicine.  She hopes that these two systems can be mutually informative rather than oppositional, ultimately leading to better overall practice and health outcomes. Rebekah has lectured in ritual theory, designed university courses for environmental and cultural psychology, published, presented at international conferences, and received grants and awards for her research. 


This webinar will be hosted by AAPi’s Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) Interest Group.

Webinar timing: 7:30 – 9:00 PM AEDT

Access to the recording of this webinar:
A recording of this webinar will be available through the CPD Webinar Library, but for the best experience and the opportunity to ask your questions, join us live.  Everyone who registers will be advised via email as soon as the recording is available. 


Tuesday, 28 November 2023
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm (AEDT)
$0 - $30
1.5 CPD Points