#59 – Alvaro de Ferranti – ibogaine: psychospiritual healing & addiction treatment at Tabula Rasa Retreat

Hør afsnittet

In this episode, you will meet Alvaro de Ferranti. Alvaro is founder and leader of the Tabula Rasa Retreat, a therapeutic treatment center operating in Portugal, that uses the plant medicine ibogaine as part of wholistic treatments for addiction, mental health issues, and spiritual enhancement. Alvaro has been working therapeutically with iboga and ibogaine since 2016, and at Tabula Rasa he has received and treated more than 300 people. The broad application of this plant medicine is reflected in the stories of these people, who have come to Tabula Rasa to manage issues as varied as opioid-addiction, stimulant-addiction, PTSD, behavioral addiction, depression, eating disorder, anxiety, and spiritual disconnection.  

Ibogaine is one of the main alkaloids in the tabernanthe iboga plant, that grows in and around the rainforest of Gabon. The plant and its alkaloid are currently receiving increased attention among researchers and therapists, mainly because of its presuming potential to treat substance dependence. However, significant risks are also associated with iboga and ibogaine, and work is still needed to assess the efficacy and safety profile of this plant medicine.

In the podcast, Alvaro and I touch briefly on the fascinating journey of the iboga plant from its roots in Gabon where it has been and is still used for healing and initiation as part of the spiritual tradition called Bwiti, and into its use in addiction treatment and therapies at both official centers and at underground facilities all around the world. We then turn to the topic of how iboga can heal various issues and help people “dissolve to resolve”. Alvaro describes the treatment protocol and the crucial safety measures taken at Tabula Rasa. We talk about the significance of trust, respect, and intentionality when working with iboga, the importance of having a social support structure before and after treatment, and some common psychological, physical, and emotional effects of a flood dose of ibogaine among their clients. Finally, we discuss the challenges and potentials around implementing ibogaine in more traditional psychiatry.

The podcast is recorded at Tabula Rasa’s serene farm in Portugal, where I had the pleasure to spend some months during my doctoral research in order to follow, take part in, and learn from their work.

We hope you enjoy the conversation!


Tabula Rasa Retreat