Castlemaine psychologist hails breakthrough treatment

Castlemaine psychoanalytic psychologist Deborah Coulthard has opened a chapter of Mind Medicine Australia in Castlemaine and is inviting interested community members to join the Facebook group.
Mind Medicine Australia exists to help alleviate the suffering caused by mental illness in Australia through expanding the treatment options available to medical practitioners and their patients. It aims to establish safe and effective psychedelic-assisted treatments to treat a range of mental illnesses and has been leading the chorus of Aussie psychologists and supporters calling for psilocybin (magic mushrooms) to be added to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
Ms Coulthard said 300 submissions supporting the addition of psilocybin were submitted to the Therapeutic Goods Administration this month and a decision is expected in early 2021.
Ms Coulthard has been a psychologist for 37 years and began studying the benefits of Psilocybin about nine months ago. What she discovered was remarkable.
Ms Coulthard said recent studies had revealed that used in a controlled setting the psychedelic treatment could have extremely positive benefits for sufferers of severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The psychologist said studies on the positive benefits of psilocybin began back in the 60s but recreational use and the stigma around drugs saw governments shut the research programs down.
In more recent years this research has commenced again and the use of psilocybin in a controlled setting with the support of a psychologist to integrate the findings has led to incredible results.
“Those who have participated in clinical trials have reported up to a 90 per cent improvement in their symptoms,” she said.
Ms Coulthard said the founders of Mind Medicine Australia philanthropists and husband and wife, Peter Hunt AM and Tania de Jong AM, travelled to the Netherlands where psilocybin is legal to experience the treatment for themselves. Each had issues they wished to address one generational holocaust trauma and the other childhood trauma. They each undertook a treatment of three episodes in a controlled setting and integration afterwards with a psychologist.
“The pair and others who have undertaken the treatment say the intensive sessions involved a ‘change of consciousness’. Many say it is like undertaking years of therapy in one day. With the support of integrated therapy they were able to unpack the issues the treatment unearthed and move toward healing,” Ms Coulthard said.
The couple were so passionate about their discovery they established Mind Medicine Australia and have assisted to fund Australia’s first clinical trial at St Vincent’s Hospital to bring the breakthrough treatment to Australia.
“What researchers have discovered is that the plant can’t be abused, it is non-addictive and non-toxic,” Ms Coulthard said.
The psychologist said there was a huge need for a breakthrough treatment like this in Australia given the number of Aussies suffering from depression and anxiety.
“This is only expected to get worse due to the impacts of COVID,” Ms Coulthard said.
“The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and anti-depressants used today haven’t changed in 50 years. For some, they simply don’t work, and for others the side-effects of using these medications outweigh the benefits. This breakthrough treatment offers a great alternative for those in desperate need, where conventional measures haven’t helped,” she said.
“And the great thing is it can be administered via a short, sharp program that can deliver positive results and does not require long-term medication.”
If you’d like to learn more about the local group visit the Mind Medicine Australia: Castlemaine Chapter Facebook page or

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