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Ana Holub: Forgiveness, Addiction Recovery and Psychedelic Integration

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Ana Holub from Ashland, Oregon, is a Psychedelic Integration Coach, Forgiveness Counselor, and Addiction Recovery Specialist who has been interested in inner evolution since her childhood. Her own path to healing and awakening, involving  breathwork, meditation, yoga, forgiveness and prayer has led her to work with clients worldwide, and publish a book, Forgive and Be Free, about her journey and lessons. Having personal experience with psychedelic medicines, Ana offers pre and post psychedelic integration sessions as well as the occasional trip-sitting. See what she had to say to Frshminds:

What got you interested in providing psychedelic integration to your patients?

Ana Holub Psychedelic Integration Coach Ashland Oregon It’s a bit of a long story. I began my career in mediation and dispute resolution. I taught peace education and became passionate about expanded forgiveness and radically letting go of grievances as a profound path to inner peace. My personal life completely changed for the better with this form of forgiveness, and I saw immense transformation in my clients.

In time, I understood how much addiction affects everyone (whether we have substance, behavioral or subtle addictions) and I began to teach forgiveness processes to help people in recovery. This brought me to psychedelics. I’ve been involved with plant medicines for many years, and when research came out about how helpful psychedelics are for healing addictions and other maladies, I got excited about supporting my clients with preparation and integration counseling.

Twenty years of working with clients and my own constant learning and awakening give me a solid foundation and powerful expertise in this area. Forgiveness, recovery and psychedelic medicine go together in a beautifully synergistic way.

Can you tell us a little more about forgiveness sessions and what techniques you utilize to facilitate them?

The forgiveness model I use is a mixture of Radical Forgiveness, peace education, mindfulness and somatic practices, and universal spirituality. I’ve developed a simple and elegant way to release heavy burdens of fear, guilt, shame and ancestral pain. I teach my clients how to let go, helping them to experience peace and receive healing directly from their connection to Spirit. My book, Forgive and Be Free, is a synthesis of my philosophy and practice of this method. As a result of my work, I was honored to receive the Champion of Forgiveness award from the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance in 2018.

How do you see psychedelic therapy evolving in the future?
I worked on Oregon’s successful therapeutic psilocybin campaign (Measure 109) and feel strongly that access and equity for all people should be at the core of any psychedelic therapy. Group sessions and non-profit offerings will be important components for every state that opens up to legal psychedelics. Training knowledgeable facilitators and creating cultivation regulations that support many people to become involved (rather than big corporations taking over) will be essential. I’d love to see psychedelic medicines become readily available for all adults who want to use them responsibly, either therapeutically or for personal wellness.
What’s the one piece of advice you would offer to patients considering psychedelic integration to help them manage their mental health?

Integration is where the healing of the medicine journey gets a chance to take root. It’s possible to ingest a psychedelic and have some profound realizations, only to lose most of the benefit because no integration occurred, or the integration was brief and shallow.

If you want to improve your mental health, you have to put time and energy into healing, including bringing honesty, openness and willingness to change into your everyday life. Sometimes, your psychedelic experience will bring up difficult subconscious material or shockingly new realizations, and it’s super helpful to have someone to talk to about it. You’ll get specific messages from the medicine about your mind, heart and purpose that you’ll need to listen to and put into action. Integration counseling helps you manage and deepen all that you receive during a psychedelic session.

What are the most remarkable changes you have seen in patients who have leveraged psychedelic integration to manage their mental wellness?

My clients get a fresh understanding of how glorious they are at their core, and a new perspective on what’s really important (their happiness, health and Spirit) and what’s not (chasing after material gain, partying til they drop, etc.)

Clients report a sense of calm and peace and much more ease in making good decisions. From there, their lives blossom with purpose and joy.

What challenges do you see for further integration of psychedelic-based therapies into more mainstream health care?

One of the biggest challenges is that most health care providers don’t have personal experience with psychedelics, so they have no idea how to help others who are using them to heal. Also, the pharmaceutical industry has a massive financial interest in keeping people coming back for more drugs instead of supporting actual healing with psychedelics and other natural medicines. Big corporations want to commercialize what’s really an inner experience of awakening, so we will need to safeguard the true value of psychedelics (including ecosystems and human cultures in the places where the medicines grow).

Additionally, we need a system for rooting out bad actors, like facilitators who steal from or abuse their clients. Quality control for facilitators and cultivation will be ongoing challenges as the psychedelic renaissance expands over the next few years.

Every new endeavor has its challenges and in the case of psychedelics, it’s totally worth our time and energy to give our best to this exciting process!

You can learn more about the work of Ana Holub on her website, and if you are looking for other psychedelic therapists in Ashland, Oregon, you can find them on Frshminds.

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