First Black, Woman-Owned Psilocybin Treatment Center Opens

Ashland Healing Center will provide psilocybin for mental health conditions, PTSD, anxiety, depression, addiction, and end-of-life concerns

By
Benjamin M. Adams

A woman and minority-owned psilocybin treatment center in Oregon, the first of its kind, will soon open doors. It was co-founded by a mother and daughter team, Denise Taylor, a registered nurse (RN), and Laurie Thompson, an experienced meditator.

Ashland Healing Center will provide relief to patrons for mental health conditions, PTSD, anxiety, depression, addiction, and end-of-life concerns, according to a May 21 announcement. During the journey each client is supported by a licensed Psilocybin Facilitator, and the focus is on psilocybin for personal transformation. 

With the guidance of an experienced Psilocybin Facilitator, patrons are able to avoid unpleasant effects of the mushroom and its derivatives.

“We partner with healthcare professionals to get the best results for our mutual clients and patients. Our services are of special interest to medical professionals, therapists, counselors, integrative health care practitioners, and anyone interested in improving mental health. We offer complimentary consultations to those interested in our services. We are also the only black-owned legal Psilocybin service center and are committed to improving mental health outcomes for the black community,” said Taylor.

Taylor’s expertise as an RN helps the team to make better choices about potential interactions and safety issues. Psilocybin sessions go as follows, in four steps:

  1. Consultation
  2. Intake and Preparation (set and setting)
  3. Administration
  4. Integration

The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board approved a limited number of recommendations. But Ashland Healing Center co-founders say that studies from John Hopkins, UC Davis, Yale, and NYU have demonstrated a broader span of potential for psilocybin-assisted therapy.

“Psilocybin provides both medical and metaphysical/spiritual benefits,” said Thompson. “The results our clients experience are incredible. I’ve witnessed depression becoming love, relief from migraine headaches, spiritual experiences, release of intergenerational trauma, and physical healing. We are honored to offer these services and have served clients from across the nation. Ashland, Oregon, is accessible via the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport (code MFR).”

As the direction of psilocybin sessions heavily relies on an individuals’ set and setting, much of the experience is self-directed.

“Psilocybin treatment is not therapy,” the website states. “It is self-directed. Although success is often received with just one treatment, your intent and desire to change are of paramount importance. A willingness to begin working on that change before the experience and to continue after are key to your continued success. Safety and comfort are also important. We want you to work with a facilitator you trust in a safe place. As facilitators we will work with you to build trust.”

In November 2020, Oregon voters  approved Measure 110, and the state officially became the first e to decriminalize hard drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, and also legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use. By December 2022, the state was training facilitators to care for participants experiencing their psilocybin journey. It took until May 2023 to approve the first license, which belonged to EPIC Healing Eugene.

A consult, which is free, typically lasts one hour.

Beginning with Denver, Colorado, the first city to decriminalize psilocybin in 2019, other cities followed including Oakland and Santa Cruz, California; Washington, D.C.; Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; and Detroit, Michigan. Oregon and Colorado moved to decriminalize psilocybin at the state level as well.

Psilocybin’s Potential in Therapeutic Medicine

Psilocybin is being explored for its role in helping people with eating disorders (ED), treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even stress due to childhood trauma.

Psilocybin’s effects on ED, for instance, have been explored since the 1950s, and studies are zeroing in its ability to help us overcome treatment-resistant conditions like body dysmorphia, anorexia, or bulimia.

Researchers Elena Koning and Elisa Brietzke are exploring the ways psilocybin can treat ED by its therapeutic benefits in combating rigid thought patterns. Koning, who is a doctoral student, recently wrote about her discoveries for PsyPost, explaining the reasoning behind her research.

Koning mentioned that in the age of social media, EDs are becoming increasingly troublesome, and that new approaches to those types of disorders are needed.

A recent study, “Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy as a Potential Treatment for Eating Disorders: a Narrative Review of Preliminary Evidence,” was published online ahead of print for Trends Psychiatry.

Another recent study, published recently in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, took a closer look at adverse childhood experiences as an “elevated risk for psychological distress,” specifically looking at how psilocybin may abate these effects. It was authored by researchers at Simon Fraser University, Athabasca University, University of British Columbia and University of Michigan.

Researchers found that the use of psilocybin can help to ease psychological distress in people who had adverse experiences as children, indicating that psilocybin appeared to hold “particularly strong benefits to those with more severe childhood adversity.”

Benjamin M. Adams

Benjamin M. Adams is Staff Writer at High Times, and has written for Vice, Forbes, HuffPost, The Advocate, Culture, and many other publications. He holds a Bachelor of Communication from Southern New Hampshire University.

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