As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Jessica Rector knows the importance of the body in healing. Join us for an interview with Dr. Rector, a provider in the Psychedelic Support network, and learn about her work facilitating patients’ healing with psychedelics.
What has been your path into the field of psychedelic therapy and medicine?
My path into the field of psychedelics began with my own healing journey. I began talk therapy when I was in high school and healed a lot of my traumas with years of work in traditional treatment. However, eventually my personal growth plateaued and I thought my mind and my body were as healthy as they were ever going to get. This changed when I began experimenting with psychedelics recreationally- a whole new world opened.
This further changed when I had the opportunity to work with plant medicines ceremonially. My traumas, triggers, chronic physical symptoms, and negative thought loops all healed in a way I never imagined possible. It was my own healing that really led me to my purpose of guiding other people in their work with the Earth’s medicines.
When we experience a traumatic situation and its emotions if we do not fully process the trauma, we store the energy physically- this can then manifest as chronic pain or illnesses.
Your work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy bridges the space between somatic forms of healing and the medical model. What role does the body play in processing and healing trauma?
When working strictly as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I focused all of my work on pelvic physical therapy. This work allowed me to work with a client base that was primarily dealing with bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunctions, as well as chronic pain. I found that although physical interventions had a very positive impact on physical sensations, they were not the only intervention required to address chronic symptoms.
Chronic issues are not the result of physical problems. They are the result of unprocessed psychological, emotional, and energetic imbalances that have become so severe they are now manifesting physically. With this realization came my shift away from traditional physical therapy (PT). I had more to offer my clients than the normal PT model allowed me to provide under the insurance model.
In my current business, I can use meditation, mindfulness, breathwork, AND physical interventions to heal issues at the source. Integration of psychedelic experiences is a huge piece of this work as well. We all experience trauma, whether it be extremely severe, or as simple as crying at recess as a child. When we experience a trauma we store our memories differently than when we experience something joyful.
When we experience a traumatic situation and its emotions if we do not fully process the trauma, we store the energy physically- this can then manifest as chronic pain or illnesses. That’s the overlap. We must express emotions, and release the weight of negative experiences, in order to experience physical health.
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What role might psychedelics play in healing chronic pain in the body?
What’s beautiful is the paradigm shift of viewing pain as the enemy versus a message from the body. Those who experience pain, itching, burning, etc. from their body are actually being given a gift. Their body is saying, “something needs to change! Listen to me!” I experienced this personally with my long-standing eating disorder.
Plant medicines allowed me to view the thought loops and behaviors associated with this chronic illness as a message that something in my external environment was “off.” That paradigm change alone created an incredible shift in those behaviors, making them nearly nonexistent. This shift was something I had been trying to access with traditional therapy for years, but was unable to fully until psychedelics entered my healing journey.
Those I treat with chronic pain have similar experiences. When we finally start listening to the messages our body is giving us, our physical ability changes. But so does our relationship with our self, others, and the world around us.
Chronic issues are not the result of physical problems. They are the result of unprocessed psychological, emotional, and energetic imbalances that have become so severe they are now manifesting physically.
How do you work with cannabis to facilitate healing with patients?
I utilize breathwork, cannabis, and the integration of other plant medicines. These help my clients access the type of healing I’m speaking of. I work with them to create intentions on accessing the source of their symptoms. Instead of just “fixing” the symptom itself. Then the client chooses a guided journey in a format they prefer. Finally we dive deep into the shadow work to discover where their physical issues began. I include physical movements and meditations as necessary. But the client accesses most of their healing during the integration of their journeys.
Cannabis is not traditionally thought of as a psychedelic. But I learned from the Center of Medicinal Mindfulness in Colorado how to build a relationship with this medicine to use it as such. This plant medicine can be complicated. Not everyone has a good relationship with this plant spirit. I think it’s important to be in right relationship with the medicines we’re utilizing. So I only guide cannabis journeys when I feel a client is using this plant as a supportive friend, rather than an escape.
If you had a magic wand, what idea would you instantly make a part of the fabric of the field?
If I could snap my fingers and change some aspect of physical therapy, it would be the treatment of any chronic symptoms with only traditional medications and traditional physical therapy. I firmly believe the best way to solve these issues is by healing old traumas and emotional upsets. Moreover, the best way to do that is with mindfulness practices. These include sleep hygiene, daily exercise, daily meditation, and of course guided plant medicine journeys and integration work.