D D

t oyAM

C-ONSENS, EX-PBRIENT. FACUt^ MEDICA ^ ' IN JLLÙSTRI I.YCEO "UPSALIENSÎ,

Medic, er Hotak

Imp et Florent. S^gdUgf^Hg f

but perception of the subject's own personality is also transformed. The changes in sensory experience of the outside world are due to a shift m sensitivity of the sense organs. Sensory perception, particularly with regard to vision and hearing, is stimulated by hallucinogens. These changes in self-awareness indicate the profound influence of the drugs, which affect the very core of our being: consciousness.

Our experience of reality is incomprehensible

Page 188: The first treatise on inebriants is apparently the doctoral thesis of Alander, a student of Linnaeus, who is the father of modern botany. This thesis, defended in 1762 at Uppsala, was a mixture of scientific and pseudo-scientific information. An observer present at the thesis defense may have doodled these profiles, possibly depicting the academic examiners.

Below: Visionary experiences produced by hallucinogens are a source of inspiration for painters. These two watercolors by Christian Ratsch emerged after taking LSD and show the mystical character of the experience depending on the degree of inebriation. A feedback mechanism is set up between receiver and sender. Part of the ego reaches out to the external world, into the objects around us; they begin to come to life, acquiring a deeper and different meaning This may be a joyful experience or a ecstasy known as the unio mystica or, in the experience ol Eastern religious life, as samadhi or satoi i In both of these states, a reality is experienced that s illuminated by that transcendental reality in which creation and ego, sender and receiver. are One,

demonic one, involving the loss of the trusted ego. The new ego feels linked in bliss with outside objects in a special way and also with other human beings. The experience of deep communication with the outside world may even culminate in the sensation of being at 01 - with the whole of creation.

This state of cosmic consciousness that under favorable circumstances may be attained with hallucinogens is related to the spontaneous religious

The changes in consciousness and perception that may be experimentally produced with hallu cinogens have found a number of different applications in medicine. The pure substances most commonly used in this field are mescaline, psi locybine, and LSD. Recent research has been concerned mainly with the most powerfu hallucinogen known so far, LSD, a substance that is a chemically modified form of the active principle in Ololiuqui

Below left: LSD is usually distributed on printed and perforated paper The designs often have mystical references and use icons of Eastern religions.

Below right and page 191: These drawings were done In 1972. The two on top (p. 191) were done before and after the LSD session. The three drawings below (pp. 190-191) were done t etore, during, and after the session with the same hallucinogen.

In psychoanalysis, breaking the habitual ex perience of the world can help patients caught in an ego-centered problem cycle to escape from their fixation and isolation. With the I-Thou barrier relaxed or even removed under the influence of a hallucinogen, better contact may be established with the psychiatrist, and the patient may become more open to psychotherapeutic suggestion

Hallucinogenic stimulation also often causes forgotten or repressed past experiences to be clearly recalled. It can be of crucial importance in psychotherapy to bring back to conscious aware ness events that led to a psychological disturbance. Numerous reports have been published on how the influence of hallucinogens used during successive occasions at specific intervals. The patient's experiences under the influence of the hallucinogen are discussed in a group session that follows and are expressed through p; ;nting, drawing, and the like. The term psycholysis was invented by Ronald A. Sandison, an English psychotherapist of the Jungian school. The "-lysic" component indicates the dissolving of psychological tensions and conflicts psychoanalysis revived memories of past events, even those from very early childhood. This is not the usual form of remembering, but involves actually going through the experience again: it is not n niniscence but reviviscence, as the French psychiatrist Jean Delay put it.

The hallucinogen does not in itself effect a cure but rather plays the role of a medicinal aid to be used in the total context of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, to make these more effective and to reduce the period of treatment required. There are two different ways of using it for this purpose.

One method, developed in European hospitals, is known as psycholysis. It consists of giving med ium doses of the hallucinogen on a number of

The second method is the one generally preferred in the United States. Afw ;ntensive psychological preparation appropriate to each individual, the patient is given a single very high dose of the hallucinogen. This "psychedelic therapy" is intended to produce a mystic, religious state of ecstasy that should provide a starting point for restructuring the patient's personality The term psychedelic means "mind manifesting " It was coined by the psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond.

The use of hallucinogens as an aid to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy is based on effects analysis and psychotherapy, are still the subject of dispute in medical circles. However, this applies also to other techniques, such as electroshock, insulin treatment, and psychosurgery, all of which carry far greater danger than the use of hallucinogens, which, in expert hands, may be regarded as virtually without risk.

Some psychiatrists hold the view that the faster retrieval of forgotten or repressed traumatic ex periences frequently seen with these drugs and the shorter period of treatment are not advantageous. They believe that this method does not allow sufficient time for the full psychotherapeutic utilization and integration of the material made conscious, and that the beneficial effects are of shorter dura on than if traumatic experiences are

that are the opposite of those psychotropic drugs known as tranqui1:zers. These drugs tend rather to suppress the patient's problems and conflicts, making them appear less serious and no longer so important, whereas the hallucinogens bring conflicts to the surface and make them more intense, so that they may be more clearly recognizable and open to psychotherapy

Hallucinogenic drugs, as an adjunct to psycho-

brought back to conscious awareness more gradually and dealt with in stages.

Psycholysis and psychedelic therapy both require very careful preparation of the patient before the hallucinogen is given If there is to be a really positive gain from the experience, patients must not be frightened by the unusual effects produced by the drug. Careful selection of patients to be treated is also important, for not

Page 192: In the 1960s, many artists in the United States and Europe experimented with hallucinogens in order to enhance the creative process. The painting on the left is an example of this genre

Below: Only a few artists are capable of expressing the visionary realms while directly under the Influence of hallucinogens. The two paintings by Fred Weidmann were executed while under the influence of Psilecybe cyanescens. Both are acrylic on marbled paper.

Left: Slipping and Sliding 1 (There exists another painting from thesameday.) Right: The Garden of Pan

every type of psychic disorder responds equally well to this form of therapy. To be successful, therefore, hallucinogen-assisted psychoanalysis or psychotherapy requires special knowledge and experience.

One of the most important aspects of the clinical training of a psychotherapist working with hallucinogens is self-experimentation with these substances, Through these experiences, therapists can gain direct knowledge of the worlds that their patients enter and, thereby, have much greater understanding of the dynamics of the unconscious.

Hallucinogens may also be used in experimental studies to determine the nature of mental dis orders. Certain abnormal mental states produced by hallucinogens in normal subjects are; in some respects, similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental diseases. At one time it was even thought that hallucinogenic intoxication could be considered a "model of psychosis," but major differences have in fact been found between psychotic states and hallucinogenic inebriation. However, hallucinogenic intoxication can serve as a model for studying the biochemical and elec trophysiological changes that occur with abnormal mental states.

One area where the medical use of hallucinogens, and particularly LSD, touches on serious ethical questions is in the care of the dying. Doctors in American hospitals observed that the very-severe pain suffered by cancer patients, which no longer responded to conventional painkillers, could be partly or completely relieved by LSD. This action is probably not analgesic in the usual sense What is thought to happen is that the perception of pain disappears; under the influence of the drug, the patient's mind becomes separated from his body to such an extent that physical pain

Below; During visionary exptriences, many people see spirals, whirlpools, and milky ways. The artist Nana Nauwald depicted such an experience ir. her painting The Middle Is Everywhere.

no longer reaches it. If the use of hallucinogens in this type of case is to be effective, it is again absolutely necessary to prepare the patient mentally and to explain the kind of experience and the changes that he may undergo. Great benefit derives also from guiding the patient's thoughts

toward religious aspects, which can be done by a clergyman or by a psychotherapist. There have been numerous reports of how dying individuals, free from pain in LSD ecstasy, have come to perceive the meaning of life and death, and have died in peace, reconciled to their fate and free from fear.

The medical use of hallucinogenic drugs differs from the shamamstic use of hallucinogenic sacred plants by medicine men and healer-priests in that the latter usually themselves eat the plant, or drink

Below left: The painting Spirit and Matter Are Indivisible documents a recurring hallucinogen-influenced experience

Below right: Many people recognize the Will to Live when they have tasted the plants of the gods. Nana Nauwald expresses this artistically.

a decoction made from it; whereas in conventional medicine, the hallucinogenic substance is given only to the patient. In both instances, however, the same psychological effects are utilized, for the same drug actions that serve as an aid to psychoanalyses and psychotherapy also give the sha man unusual powers of divination and healing They consist of the loosening or even dissolution of the I-Thou barrier, with the result that objective everyday consciousness dissolves into the mystic experience of One-ness.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Enneagram Essentials

Enneagram Essentials

Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment