There are other psychedelic-assisted therapies, but we agree that psilocybin mushrooms are unique and especially suited for therapy.
It is a natural, plentiful substance, the harvesting of psilocybin mushrooms does not strain ecosystems or reduce availability of traditional medicinal plants and substances in indigenous communities. Other natural psychedelics, like mescaline, peyote, and iboga, among others, are sacred plants that are not prolific and may grow in areas where indigenous communities live in balance with the plants, and where cultivation and harvesting by outsiders is not appropriate or welcome.
It does the least harm to the body. While some may experience nausea for a short period after ingestion, there are few other known side effects and few contraindications or even a known overdose amount. There is some evidence to suggest that ongoing micro-doses of psilocybin might be contraindicated in those with some heart conditions. Nonetheless, psilocybin mushrooms are at the absolute bottom of the ingested substances safety profiles “harm” list (Nutt, King, & Phillips 2010), while it can be noted that alcohol tops the list as the most harmful.
Its therapeutic value is documented. Research shows that psilocybin mushrooms produce “mystical experience,” reduce symptoms in treatment resistant depression, and reduce anxiety in the end-of-life stages. It has also been shown in numerous and growing anecdotal studies and surveys to promote insights and assist with integrating new information. It’s believed this is because psilocybin ingestion of a significant amount may actually increase neuroplasticity for a period of time after ingestion (See this Newsweek link for more details).
Seekers of PAT will vary in their reasons, but generally those seeking relief from anxiety, depression, and trauma can benefit greatly and relatively quickly. This is probably due to the increased neuroplasticity, or readiness for learning, after administration, but may also result from other, as-yet-unknown factors. Results are relatively rapid when compared with talk therapy or other controls, and have been shown as equal or better than the often prescribed antidepressant citalopram. PAT appears to have great promise as an intensive kind of “learning course” for “students” of healing, recovery, and personal evolution.
Therapists who appropriately promote or provide PAT will be offering their clients another viable option to healing, recovery, and personal evolution.