Toward Embodied Healing: Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Body Image - Eating Disorders Victoria
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This research is led by an institution external to EDV. Please read all the information provided below before deciding to participate. If you have any concerns about this, please consider speaking to your treatment team, someone you trust or contact the lead researcher. While research is important, your wellness and recovery should always be priority. A reminder that the EDV Hub is here for any Victorian who would like to discuss eating disorder concerns.

Toward Embodied Healing: Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Body Image

Research institution: Swinburne University 
Lead Investigator:
Prof. Susan Rossell
Contact: Claire Finkelstein [email protected] 

The aim of this study is to trial a new treatment for body image disturbance in women who have a history of anorexia nervosa, using psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP).

Body image disturbance (BID) is when someone has a problem with the way they experience their body – it can include a distortion in the way they feel about their body, see their body, think about their body, or the sensations they feel in their body. BID can cause severe distress and the relapse of an eating disorder.

Psilocybin, otherwise known as “magic mushrooms”, is a hallucinogenic substance which can create altered states of awareness by impacting a person’s thinking, emotions, and perception (their sensory experience, such as the images they see or the sounds they hear). In this trial, participants will receive therapy specifically designed to address body image, as well as psilocybin dosing sessions which are intended to enhance the therapy.

PAP has three stages:


Preparation sessions are between 90 and 120 minutes and are conducted by two co-therapists, who will be present for the duration of the treatment. The preparation sessions have three important goals: 1) To build a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship with the co-therapists; 2) To help the participant feel prepared for their psilocybin dosing experience; and 3) Therapy to increase the participant’s understanding of BID.


The dosing sessions last up to 8 hours and occur in a room that is designed to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere, allowing the participant to settle securely into the experience. During dosing sessions, the participant is encouraged to lie down, wear an eye mask, and listen to carefully selected music, all of which assists the participant to concentrate on their internal experience. On dosing days, there is no “active therapy”. However, the two co-therapists are present at all times to offer support and guidance.


Integration therapy sessions are between 60 – 90 minutes with the two co-therapists, and occur over several weeks after each dosing session. Integration sessions provide therapy to assist the participant to recall and make sense of their dosing session and connect them with their treatment goals.

Further information and participation

Please visit: 

The link will take you through a screening process to see if you are eligible to participate. The screening process is thorough and there is quite a lot of information. We recommend that you set aside some time to proceed (approximately 60 minutes) and encourage you to find a quiet space and a stable internet connection.

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