The following is Part II of our Tandava coverage. For Part I, click here.
Mexico-based retreats center Tandava is launching a series of offerings focused on helping specific communities on their healing paths, supported with 5-MeO-DMT therapy.
Along with the BIPOC community retreat, September will bring about a four-day gathering tailored for women that have survived sexual trauma.
Tandava co-founders Joël Brierre and Victoria Wueschner teamed up with somatic and trauma psychotherapist Dr. Holly Richmond and integration therapist Sara Snedeker to create a program designed to guide eight women participants through individualized protocols.
The goal is to shift “the way bodies and psyches hold onto and respond to traumatic events” and lean on the psychedelic “as a powerful tool for catharsis.”
A mix-gender retreat might be up next, but this retreat is set to provide a safe space for women who, having gone through such situations, tend to have a particular awareness of male presences, which could interfere with their experiences as a whole.
5-MeO-DMT For The Recovery Of Sexual And Relational Wellbeing
Dr. Richmond spent almost 3,000 internship hours at a rape crisis center. The experience made her understand that, while trauma treatment was certainly approached, no one was talking about how to treat sexual and relational health after the event.
This reality led her to focus her work on that point exactly, and ultimately turned into her book “Reclaiming Pleasure” in 2021. It also fueled her connection with Tandava, where the co-founders had previously encountered clients with sexual trauma and wanted to learn about Dr. Richmond’s take on how to best approach it.
She was invited on a retreat to witness the work with 5-MeO-DMT herself. The experience, she says, was both mind-blowing and profound.
“I just knew it was going to be wonderful for most survivors of sexual trauma just because we tend to be somatisizers,” Dr. Richmond says. “So many of the symptoms are manifested through the body,” and, with the psychedelic, that access point opens “in a way that I feel with other medicines it’s not such a big cathartic experience.”
Although the usual intake process, plus four integration sessions, will take place, this retreat is not for anyone that has recently experienced sexual trauma, Dr. Richmond notes.
Rather, it will help with the deepening and integration of its processing.
Wueschner explained that, in the first sessions, each woman will go in at the same time with low doses, and later working up to medium doses in three separate rounds.
Usually, no matter what dose, the effect is pretty much instantaneous, “like a rocket ship takeoff,” lasting between 15 and 45 minutes, she says. It’s important for participants to have a “full-bodied yes” before taking the psychedelic.
Dr. Richmond says a full 5-MeO-DMT dose just takes the person, as opposed to a small one where there’s still a fight to stay present and hold on to control — a huge factor for most survivors of sexual trauma.
“They do not like to do that for obvious reasons, emotionally or physically. And when you take a full dose of 5-MeO-DMT, there’s really no holding on, because this medicine is so powerful,” Dr. Richmond told Benzinga.
And yet, she believes the molecule will be “perfect” for survivors because unlike other psychedelics, it produces a very short psychedelic trip, thus tolerable for nervous systems that have gone through such traumatic situations.
“5-MeO kind of pushes you off the psyche’s cliff, but it pulls you back so quickly within half an hour, the whole thing being an hour’s experience at most.”
Although the trip might be short, Dr. Richmond stresses the importance of integration work following after, especially in the first two weeks, because “it just keeps showing up.”
And, she says, it’s hard work. “The medicine shows you the subconscious patterns, which we can’t access in the day to day. And you have to be willing to step towards it. You can have a Happy Buddah experience, or a really terrifying one,” she said. “I would never say this medicine is going to make you feel good fast, I would say it’s going to make you feel fast.”
Photo courtesy of Tandava.