MAPS Statement on Trauma and Crisis Response in Palestine and Israel

Many in the MAPS community are grieving the loss and suffering experienced by family, friends, colleagues, and countless others impacted by the Israel-Hamas war. At MAPS, we have been in deep dialogue with our colleagues and friends in Jewish and Palestinian communities: listening, holding space, and learning. For many, grappling with these ongoing crises, with echoes of the past and no clear way forward, is overwhelming and destabilizing. We understand that this requires our utmost compassion and holistic consideration.

We are a community united in, among other things, our commitment to understanding, healing, and preventing trauma. As a trauma-informed community, we interpret that violence and atrocity are often trauma responses. This is not a justification for violence, nor an effort at moral equivalence, but a reflection of unbroken cycles of violence.

Palestinian and Jewish communities have experienced generations of exile, displacement, persecution, and oppression: intergenerational trauma compounded with ongoing trauma that continues to this day. We are heartbroken and more dedicated than ever to facilitating access to healing trauma in Israel, Palestine, and around the world. We believe healing trauma is necessary for interrupting cycles of violence and laying the groundwork for systems rooted in justice, equity, compassion, and peace.

We recognize that psychedelic healing alone will not eradicate conflict and suffering in our world. Still, we hope to do our part by focusing on treating trauma while supporting healing and peacebuilding broadly. We facilitate the education of Palestinian and Israeli MDMA therapists, among therapists across the Middle East, and sponsor psychedelic research for individual and group trauma healing, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and intergenerational healing. 

We acknowledge that the situation is extremely complex and charged by centuries of compounding histories. We urge our extended community to please find the courage to be generous and kind to one another and yourselves, to allow space for the sweep of emotions that are present to be fully felt and expressed, to be patient and expansive in our collective ability to hold complexity with nuance and resist false binaries, and to find our common humanity.

In that spirit, we encourage you to learn about and, if you can, support some of the people working to heal trauma and create peace (presented alphabetically):

  • Gaza Community Mental Health Programme provides mental health services to children and adults in Gaza. 
  • Gaza Mental Health Foundation is a U.S.-based funder of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and three women’s mental health organizations in Gaza. 
  • The Good People Project provides festival psychedelic peer support in Israel. Nine members of their team were providing peer support at the Nova festival. Three volunteers were killed while trying to help; those who returned need support in their recovery. 
  • MAPS Israel is offering crisis trauma interventions for people impacted by the current war and creating two significant-impact research projects that will enable large numbers of survivors to experience MDMA-assisted group therapy.
  • NovaHelp is an emergent network of harm reduction specialists, trauma therapists and other professionals providing mental health support for survivors of the Nova fest. 
  • RIPPLES creates and researches collective psychedelic practices that explore the potential of psychedelics for peacebuilding and sacred activism, with an initial focus on Palestinians and Israelis.
  • To fund MAPS’ ongoing work in the region, please email us.
“The next level of the renaissance of the psychedelics will be in the breakthrough that we do in the healing and liberation of our collective work to create a better, peaceful world for all of us to live in. Trauma healing is the only thing that can really address the past, and if we don’t do that, there is no future for us.”
– Sami Awad, Palestinian Nonviolence Peace Activist
“These are times of deep pain and loss, of old ancient trauma and new brutal ones. My hope as an Israeli Sephardic Jewish woman is that the work we are committed to in MAPS and MAPS Israel will remind us all that violence and fundamentalism are not the way, that there is a path to prevent and heal traumas, that human consciousness can expand. Psychedelic therapy can remind us of that. Especially now.” 
-Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D., MAPS Israel Founder and Director
“Last Sunday, a therapist training program led by MAPS Israel was scheduled to take place with Israel and Palestinian therapists. That has been postponed. In early November, MAPS US is planning a training in Iceland that will include several Lebanese therapists who will hopefully still be able to attend. Since founding MAPS, I have been dedicated to bringing psychedelic healing to Israel and Palestine and around the world through the treatment of trauma, psychedelic peacebuilding, and conflict resolution projects.

My response to the Holocaust, racism, prejudice, and war is helping people experience and realize our common humanity. There are many ways to do that with psychedelic, unitive, mystical, and therapeutic experiences. We’re trying to light a candle of healing in a whirlwind of trauma. I believe the only path forward right now is the path of healing and community; working on access to healing allows me to find light in this darkness.” 
– Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS Founder and President

Peace, As salaam alaikum, Shalom,
Your friends at MAPS

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