CODE OF ETHICS
We offer gratitude for the ethics of the Bwiti tradition and the teachings of our Bwiti elders.
We also offer gratitude to MAPS organization for their written code of ethics on which the SoulCentro ethics are partially based. We are also grateful to draw inspiration from the Council on Spiritual Practices, the American Psychological Association, and 5D World.
Throughout this document, participants, patients, ceremony guests, and clients are referred to simply as “participants.”
As medicine providers, it is our individual and collective responsibility to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct.
The practice of healing with visionary sacred medicines aims to provide an environment of safety and support for a person to engage with their own inner healing intelligence, one’s innate wisdom and ability to move towards wholeness and wellbeing.
We act in the spirit of service to support each participant’s true desires for their life and informed choices for their health care. We devote ourselves to establishing therapeutic relationships based on trust, care, and organic connection. We intend to create a space of mutual respect in which we remain aware of potential power dynamics.
We directly address concerns regarding ethical issues and use educated judgment, peer review and supervision, and professional consultation with advisors in the traditional and clinical fields of healthcare when ethical dilemmas arise.
This modality involves deep work with trauma and attachment, as well as non-ordinary states of consciousness; therefore, psychedelic psychotherapy carries unique ethical considerations. These considerations include the potential for greater participant suggestibility, the particular need for sensitivity regarding consent, and the likelihood of stronger and more complex projection, transference, and countertransference. Given the special considerations of this modality, we take seriously our obligation to participant safety. This work requires an elevated quality of presence, tending to the process consistently throughout treatment ceremonies as well as during the phases of preparation and integration.
This modality is founded on the practices of healers, explorers, researchers, and indigenous traditions which stretch back centuries. We honor these contributions and recognize the privilege of working with non-ordinary states of consciousness. The ability to participate in these healing practices, as ancient as they are innovative, is both a gift and a responsibility.
The pain of one becomes the pain of all. The healing of one contributes to the healing of all. Ultimately, we envision a world where all people can access the healing modalities and medicines that they need to thrive. We view participants’ challenges, as well as their growth, within a greater web of relationships, acknowledging that trauma, as well as healing, is passed between people, across cultures, and through generations. We aim to validate and support the intrinsic wisdom and healing intelligence in others as well as in ourselves, in service to collective healing, liberation, and greater engagement in the fullness of life.
1. RIGHT RELATIONSHIP
• Traditional Integrity
Reciprocity with our indigenous Bwiti teachers and community is essential at SoulCentro. It is an integral part of our code of ethics.
We hold the intention for offering relationships of reciprocity through sharing medicine, service, and solidarity with the land, citizens, and indigenous groups of Costa Rica: Chorotega, Huetar, Maleku, Bribri, Cabécar, Brunka, Ngäbe, and Bröran.
As a global collective, we only know about these sacred plant medicines because of indigenous research and science. This knowledge, carefully cultivated for countless generations, is a most profound privilege to receive. It is important to give back.
Reciprocity is the sacred way of nature. It is the only way that life, including human life, can be sustainable. And with each gift shared and received, there is an opportunity for a deepening relationship.
Reciprocity is neither charity nor savior. In our perspective, true reciprocity comes from authentic relationships based on mutual respect, curiosity, communication, deep listening, and understanding.
Reciprocity involves dynamic collaboration for projects that benefit a whole community, and not just one person. It is not only giving, but also respectfully and equally receiving the gifts and wisdom of the other.
Though we are all one, we honor the very different human experiences as well as the different multigenerational knowledge and multigenerational trauma of indigenous communities. We examine and actively address the history and ongoing effects of systemic racism, colonization, and colonial paradigms.
We hold the intention of practicing awareness and inquiry around our social impact when visiting the home land of others.
We honor the tradition that we have been entrusted to hold by indigenous elders. While it is important to be present, adapt, and create cultural bridges as we navigate international relations, we are committed to keeping the integrity of the tradition intact. We do not change the tradition it for preference or prejudice of the Western world; to do so would be cultural appropriation, a most grievous form of theft.
We practice reciprocity with the sacred medicine itself by contributing to vetted community-oriented sustainability efforts in Iboga’s indigenous environment. We act to protect, preserve, and nourish the diverse natural environment and communities in which medicine thrives. We do not receive more medicine than we truly need.
We are committed to sharing sustainably, ceremonially, and ethically grown and harvested medicine that is sourced through our sacred relationships with the Bwiti community.
We commit to the safety of study participants, patients, and clients.
We commit to respecting the medicine and the tradition according to the time-tested studies of the Bwiti in order to provide for the physical, mental, and spiritual safety of guests. We keep a clean energetic container and clear intentions for our service.
We take every possible measure to ensure that candidates are medically and psychologically eligible before enrolling them in treatment. An eligible candidate is one that has the resources necessary to engage in treatment and integration work, ideally including supportive people in their life and access to a stable and safe living environment.
We conduct thorough and comprehensive screening and preparation with every participant.
Guests begin with a complimentary consultation and psycho-spiritual screening by one of our Bwiti-trained providers to explore if treatment is a good fit for their needs.
Guests are then guided through a comprehensive medical and psychiatric screening with our medical director who has extensive experience in intensive care unit & critical care, psychiatric nursing, and addiction recovery. Required lab tests include:
• 12 lead EKG confirmed by a cardiologist
• CBC (complete blood count)
• Hepatic (liver / metabolic panel)
• Renal (kidney panel)
We follow all clinical guidelines for treatment set forth by the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance as a baseline and then personalize treatment for the unique medical needs of each guest based on our skillset and hundreds of ceremonies of experience.
Prior to initiating treatment, we provide participants with clear information about our availability, additional support, and integration resources.
We take an active role in preventing physical and psychological harm. We work with medical staff to monitor vital signs and hydration, prevent physical injury or falls, and assess for any considerations toward self-harm. We provide clear direction if needed to prevent imminent harm.
We inform participants of the actions we will take to ensure their safety.
We create sacred agreements in advance with all participants to allow us to help them as we deem necessary, according to our training and as it applies to the present moment. We ask participants not to leave during medicine sessions and to follow instructions given to them.
We are responsive in cases of participant crisis for the duration of time that the participant is in our professional care. We have a crisis response plan prepared.
If a medical or psychiatric emergency occurs during sessions or at the treatment facility, we immediately respond by contacting local medical and/or emergency services. All lead staff is kept aware of the contact information and locations for the closest medical centers and emergency services. We commit to remaining present as long as possible to support the participant when in emergency professional care, providing logistical support to return home, and following up post-stabilization.
We ask participants to inform their families and community about times that they will be unavailable to communicate during the retreat.
We provide consistent care to participants. We respond promptly to queries and concerns. We conduct appropriate closure of active work together, with preparation when possible.
We offer referrals for medicine-informed integration helping professionals and community support groups.
We adhere to the local laws where we share medicine.
We are committed to the safe sourcing of medicine from known and trusted community relationships.
We provide a private post-ceremony integration talking circle for each retreat group. We offer a complimentary 1:1 integrative follow-up counsel session. We offer free monthly integration talking circles for all past retreat guests. Integration resources are clearly listed on the IBOGA page of our site. The importance of integration is discussed upon intake, in an online preparation workshop, in our recommended educational podcast prior to registration, during the retreat, after the retreat in the 1:1 session, and during our free monthly integration calls.
We are also committed to maintaining a safe container for all members of our service staff and facilitation team. All participants are asked to review and sign sacred agreements regarding honorable conduct within the healing relationship, retreat time, and ceremony space. Any participant exhibiting abusive, harmful, or deliberately disruptive behaviors may be formally asked to leave, with the exception of a genuine emergency while under the effects of the medicine work, in which case we contact the appropriate emergency services. For any guest asked to leave, we are prepared to provide referrals for transportation and options for alternate accommodations to participants who will not honor the safety of the container, at their own expense. Abusive communication or giving false information at any point in the healing relationship will not be tolerated.
We reserve the right to decline services or request additional preparation time based on our sole discretion and knowledge of safety issues, experience, inner guidance, and the traditional Bwiti screening process.
We identify when we are unable to provide care and inform participants that we must discontinue treatment and refer them to other providers or resources when possible.
3. CONFIDENTIALITY & PRIVACY
We respect the privacy of participants and uphold professional standards of confidentiality.
We do not reveal information about participants without their express permission, except when mandated by law.
We stay informed about confidentiality practices and adhere to all applicable privacy laws and regulations.
We obtain permission from participants before sharing their identifying information in consultation or supervision.
We discuss the limitations of confidentiality with participants during informed consent and disclose any obligations we have to release information as a mandated reporter or to address issues of safety.
When we are required to release information about participants, we follow all pertinent laws and regulations and provide the minimum amount of information necessary. We inform participants about the release of their information when possible and permissible.
We make agreements with participants about acceptable and preferred means of communication, such as leaving voicemails, sending text messages, hours of contact, and response time.
We promptly respond to breaches of confidentiality.
We seek legal counsel as needed to maintain participant confidentiality.
We sign official non-disclosure agreements as requested by participants.
We do not allow any photos or videos taken by guests onsite during retreats. The exception is an option for a group photo on the last day. We inform participants and all persons who will be present of any audio or video recording; we describe the purpose of recording and how recordings will be stored and used. We obtain consent from all persons present prior to recording sessions. We obtain explicit permission, outlining the specific use, authorized recipient(s), and terms of release, from the participant and all identifiable persons before releasing audio or video recordings.
For testimonials/reviews: Our media release allows for the guest to remove them at any time by written request via email [email protected]
4. TRANSPARENCY & CONSENT
We respect each participant’s right to make informed choices.
We support informed consent by sharing:
• Initial consultation to assess for psychospiritual benefit
• Comprehensive educational resources and media prior to registration
• Thorough medical and psychiatric screening according to the best standards of care
• Medical disclaimers and signed waivers regarding potential risks
• Online preparation workshop prior to the retreat
• Discussion of traditional modalities and affirming consent prior to ingesting medicine
• Medicine navigation workshops onsite at the retreat prior to ingesting medicine
Though medicine journeys are as unique as each individual, and certain elements of the medicine experience can never be adequately described in words, we do our best to inform guests regarding the retreat experience and some of the most common potential mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual effects of the medicine prior to treatment.
We inform participants of all treatment procedures, including an accurate description of medicines used, and potential risks and benefits.
We do not introduce new techniques or medicines after any treatments involving medicine-related non-ordinary states of consciousness.
We honor each participant’s option to withhold or withdraw consent for participation at any time before, during, or after ceremonies.
We accurately represent our background and training using appropriate terms according to applicable laws and professional codes.
5. THERAPEUTIC TRUST & ALLIANCE
We prioritize the participants’ therapeutic needs and intentions.
We act in accordance with the trust placed in us by participants.
The medicine work results are not for the purpose of our personal agendas or personal gain.
We aspire to create and maintain therapeutic alliances built on trust, safety, and clear agreements so that participants can engage in inner exploration and relational healing.
We respect the inner healing intelligence of participants as central to their experience.
We respect the autonomy of each participant to make independent decisions in their life and make meaning of their experiences.
We acknowledge that the healing process is deeply personal, and each participant has unique needs for treatment and support.
We treat people receiving services or reaching out for services with respect, compassion, and humility.
We do not instruct or command people with regard to their life decisions, but rather we support participants to ask their most meaningful questions directly to the medicine and their own souls in the ceremony. We offer communal discussions of the oral Bwiti tradition in which each voice is heard and valued. We share the experience, wisdom, and strength of the Bwiti lineage honed over eons, without dogma or requirements to adopt the tradition.
We value direct experience and personal knowledge, rather than belief.
We firmly maintain the responsibility of upholding clear professional boundaries.
We acknowledge the inherent power differential between medicine providers and participants and act conscientiously in the service of participants’ self-empowerment.
We examine our own countertransference and unconscious biases.
While there are often dual-role relationships in the community culture of the Bwiti, we are careful to avoid entering into dual-role relationships that are likely to lead to impaired professional judgment or exploitation. In cases where there is a dual relationship, we give special attention to issues of time for integration, confidentiality, trust, communication, and boundaries, and seek supervision as needed.
We use careful judgment about continuing interaction with existing or previous participants outside of treatment.
When treating couples or families, we consider potential conflicts of interest and disclose policies on communicating information between family members.
When working with participants in a research study, we prioritize the therapeutic benefit while following scientific protocol.
We obtain informed consent for any kind of touch that might be included in treatment. Touch is only for the purposes of peripheral social connection and therapeutic contact, such as a comforting touch to the arm, holding the hand, or light grounding hold of the feet, or to make physical contact in order to ensure their safety, such as when taking their vitals, walking them to the restroom, or preventing a fall. Touch is utilized sparingly and only as needed. Social hugging will not be offered until after the guest initiates or requests one, and only outside of minimum ceremony time of 24 hours.
Aside from securing safety and preventing immediate danger, all physical touch for therapeutic purposes is optional; the participant can revoke their consent for touch at any time.
We only offer techniques, such as touch, if they are within our scope of practice, tradition, and competence.
When touch is part of our practice, we discuss consent for touch during intake and preparation, detailing the purpose of therapeutic touch, how and when touch might be used and where on the body, the potential risks and benefits of therapeutic touch, and that there will be no sexual touch.
We obtain consent for touch prior to the participant ingesting medicine, as well as in the moment.
We discuss in advance simple and specific words and gestures the participant is willing to use to communicate about touch during therapy sessions. For example, participants may use the word “stop” or a hand gesture indicating stop, and touch will stop.
We practice discernment with touch, using clinical judgment and assessing our own motivation when considering if touching a participant is appropriate.
7. SEXUAL BOUNDARIES
We do not engage in sexual touch with participants.
We take responsibility for upholding clear professional boundaries.
We do not engage in sexual intercourse, sexual or sensual touch, or sexual intimacy with a participant, former participant, their spouse or partner, or their immediate family member, at any point during treatment or following termination.
We commit to examining our own sexual countertransference, to not act in ways that create ambiguity or confusion about sexual boundaries, and seeking supervision as needed.
We respect the gender identities, gender expression, sexual orientation, and expression of participants and validate participants’ processes that might relate to sexuality and sexual healing.
Though medicine work can activate sensual and erotic energy, we understand that this is a transpersonal experience. We hold space for the participant’s experience and help keep them safe while never responding with sexual or sensual energy.
We generally discourage sexual relations between team members, when they do not have a pre-existing relationship. We take special care to create awareness regarding any potential power dynamics involved in sexual relations among team members, such as when team members have different levels of training, responsibility, and time involved in the work, or when members of the team are being cared for in the medicine space by other members of the team and are thus subject to the ethical considerations of a patient.
As representatives of this work, we aim to uphold clear sexual boundaries and ethics in our daily lives.
We respect the value of diversity, as it is expressed in the various backgrounds, identities, cultures, and experiences of participants and colleagues.
We do not condone or knowingly engage in discrimination. We do not refuse professional service to anyone on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status.
We take steps to examine our unconscious biases. We commit to ongoing self-reflection and to practice awareness, acceptance, and respect.
We make every reasonable effort to include people living with diverse physical, mental, and cognitive conditions and different abilities, except when such conditions are contraindicated for the medicine and traditional frameworks that we work with.
We respect the unique experiences of participants and practice openness toward their values, belief systems, and ways of healing.
We are attentive to the impact of power dynamics in our relationships with participants, particularly where there are differences in privilege, gender, race, age, culture, education, and/or socioeconomic status.
We strive to be honest with ourselves and participants about the limits of our understanding, and to hold genuine curiosity and interest as we relate to participants’ experiences.
We aim to provide culturally-informed care with consideration of participants’ culture, race, identity, values, belief systems, and traditions—while honoring the integrity of the Bwiti tradition.
We commit to deepening our cultural understanding. We educate ourselves on various cultures, identities, values, belief systems, and traditions. We inform ourselves on social, political, and economic issues that are likely to impact participants.
9. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR NON-ORDINARY STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
We attend to special considerations when working therapeutically with participants in non-ordinary states of consciousness.
Participants in non-ordinary states of consciousness may be especially open to suggestion, manipulation, and exploitation; therefore, we acknowledge the need for increased attention to safety, sexual boundaries, and informed consent.
We do not engage in coercive practices or behaviors.
In working with non-ordinary states that can evoke unconscious material for both the participant and therapy provider, we acknowledge the potential for stronger and more complex transference and countertransference as well as both positive and negative projections. Therefore, we practice self-awareness and self-examination and seek supervision and guidance as needed.
We approach participants’ experiences with respect, curiosity, and openness. We suspend our own beliefs and opinions and cultivate an expanded perspective that embraces extraordinary states.
We disclose our fees and payment procedures before enrolling participants in treatment.
We advocate for participants with third-party payers, sponsors, and donors when appropriate.
We aspire to increase financial access to services. We regularly create opportunities for participants who are unable to afford the full cost to engage in treatment as our own overhead costs and budget allows, by considering income-based fees, sliding scale, scholarship, discounts, sponsorship, and donor-supported services. Plans are being made for establishing a non-profit church structure that will also help to fundraise for scholarships.
We commit to making our medicine work and location-specific operating costs completely sustainable.
We commit to paying our team a fair, living wage enough to help support a family.
We do not initiate or continue treatment solely for financial gain; we only provide treatment when we believe our services have therapeutic value for the participant.
We reserve the right to offer compensation to community members to share referrals for our work, and we commit to being transparent about referral commissions and rewards upon inquiry. If we offer referral commissions, they are reserved for select community members who we are well acquainted with, understand our work, and can make discerning and appropriate referrals.
We do not make solicitations of any kind involving additional financial commitments before or after ceremony. After an integration period of 30+ days, we may discuss additional services, philanthropic projects, volunteer opportunities, or professional collaboration opportunities at our discretion, taking care to adhere to our ethical code.
We establish and maintain clear and honest business practices.
We practice within our scope of competence, training, and experience.
We represent our work and qualifications honestly and accurately.
We assess at intake whether a potential participant’s needs can be addressed within our scope of competence and, if not, make informed referrals to other providers and services.
We commit to ongoing professional development, seeking supervision and continuing education to further our therapeutic skills and presence.
We maintain professional licensures and certifications in good standing.
We regularly seek traditional peer review, guidance, and support from Bwiti elders.
12. RELATIONSHIP TO PROFESSION
We establish and maintain compassionate and positive working relationships with colleagues, in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.
To maintain the highest level of integrity in our practice, we consult with fellow practitioners and colleagues.
We commit to asking for feedback and being open to receiving it, as well as offering feedback when it may be needed.
While adapting appropriately to local locations and cultures, we do not change the essence of the Bwiti tradition that we have been asked to carry and represent.
If we face ethical decisions or questions about our practice that are not sufficiently addressed in the guidelines of this Code, we will seek consultation from Bwiti elders and colleagues in the field of psychedelic medicine.
If we believe that a colleague has acted unethically or in violation of this Code, we take reasonable and timely action. We discuss ethical concerns directly with colleagues.
When an ethical violation has caused or is likely to cause substantial harm or when directly addressing the concern has not resolved the issue, we report the issue to the traditional community and our trusted professional peers in the psychedelic community, unless doing so would violate confidentiality rights.
In the event of disagreements with team members or participants, we make every effort at peaceful and respectful conflict resolution.
We create space for regular meetings within the team to explore potential improvements and the best standards of care.
We create clear guidelines for our company culture, communications, protocols, and conflict resolution strategies.
We represent the modality of iboga medicine work with professionalism and accuracy when communicating with the public, including through the media, social media, and presentations.
13. RELATIONSHIP TO SELF
In order to provide impeccable care and to evolve ethically, we engage in practices of self-care, self-growth, and self-examination, aligning with our own inner healing intelligence. We give and receive feedback from mentors and colleagues and participate in continuing education.
We commit to ongoing personal and professional self-reflection regarding ethics and integrity.
We commit to an ongoing practice of self-compassion and self-inquiry.
We seek professional assistance and community support for our own emotional challenges or personal conflicts, especially when, in our view or in the view of colleagues, they affect our capacity to provide ethical care to participants.
We subscribe to the value of humility, out of respect for the transformative power of the experiences we have the privilege to witness and support, and out of respect for human dignity.