Mitchell Walker

Deconstructing the History of Violence: Symbol, Psychedelics, and Soma, in Exploring Core Traumatic Experiences within a Multi-Abuse Community

Today both psychedelics and body-based trauma research are having a renaissance. Books like Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind and Resmaa Menekam's Grandmother's Hands currently top the New York Times bestsellers list, suggesting separate roads toward the healing of trauma. This paper focuses on where these roads converge, arguing that the dis-integration of implicit and explicit memories within the body, through the use of body based psychedelic-psychotherapy,  has the potential to deconstruct existing PTSD narratives that often trap survivors within what Allan Young called "an affliction through which pain and fear colonize and degrade the sufferer's life-world." 

This research focuses on a small, but influential, healing community whose practices evolved over decades, in private homes, halfway houses and the Los Angeles County Jail, with the intention to self-treat the wounds of racism, gang violence, poverty, and sex-trafficking. The result is a healing modality that caters to the unique mental health needs of its’ underserved, undermined, and highly traumatized populace, by engaging core traumatic experiences somatically, potentiated by 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and Psilocybin, revealing the mindful body's capacity to heal the embodied mind.