The purpose of this study is to develop a greater understanding of how different spirituality/religious practices to include shamanistic Ayuahuasca usage and faith healing may contribute to spiritual transformative and psychological healing in the recovery process of young people with severe mental disorders which can result in increased mental health and well-being outcomes. How would you conduct a qualitative study such as this? Thanks!

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Although there are first-person anecdotes supporting the use of ayahuasca in treating mental disorders, anecdote is not evidence, and a "visionary convergence" is not a peer-reviewed medical journal. There are several possible approaches to conducting such a study.

The most rigorous would be a controlled double-blind study in which half the participants would be given ayahuasca and half a placebo. The problem with this approach is that, because of the hallucinatory effects of ayahuasca, it might not be possible to create a true double-blind study and rule out the presence of a placebo effect; perhaps using another psychotropic drug, such as edible marijuana, in place of ayahuasca for the control group might allow for a more convincing form of double-blind study.

Next, one could do a series of case studies involving young people with severe mental disorders. Ideally, the researcher would look at those who have recovered with ayahuasca treatment, those who have shown no improvement or lost ground after taking ayahuasca, and those who have both improved and not improved with conventional mental health care. It would be important to compare other factors such as community support, socioeconomic background, and religiosity among test subjects.

The most important element of such a study would be objectivity. The researcher must look fairly at all forms of medical, sociological, and anthropological data before assessing the relative effectiveness of different treatment methods.

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