Psychedelic Sessions

In the following text, I will outline the most important characteristics of an ideal treatment setting as I see it on the basis of past clinical experience with psychedelic therapy. Obviously, in practice these absolute demands will seldom be met and LSD therapists have to be prepared for various degrees of compromise. Ideally, LSD sessions should be conducted in a specifically designed treatment unit or suite. This should be situated on the ground floor and isolated from the rest of the...

Set And Setting Of The Sessions

In addition to the factors associated with the personalities of the subject and the therapist or sitter, there exists a broad complex of non-pharmacological parameters usually referred to lis set and setting. Any understanding of the LSD reaction and its therapeutic use is superficial and incomplete if it does not take into consideration all the determining elements belonging to this category. The term set' includes the expectations, motivations and intentions of the subject in regard to the...

Longterm Changes In The Personality Structure Worldview And Hierarchy Of Basic Values

Since we have been discussing the LSD procedure primarily in a therapeutic context, the question of its lasting influence on various personality characteristics is of particular interest. Under certain circumstances even a single psychedelic experience can have profound and lasting consequences. If the subject's personality structure has intrinsic potential for a fundamental positive or negative shift, the administration of LSD can catalyze and precipitate a sudden dramatic transformation. On...

Index

A. 22, 2R acetylcholine shock 25 Adonis 86 aggregate LSD therapy 40 Ahasverus 81 alchemy 295 Allen, M. H. 37 Alpert, R. 37 Anadenanthera peregrina (cohoba) 270 archetypal experiences 79, 88, 222, 291 Arendsen-Hein, G. W. 32, 56, 243 Asperen de Boer, S. R. van 271 Assagioli, R. 41 Association Albert Schweitzer (S. Roquet) 41 astral projection 269 astrology 231 note Atman-Brahman union 35, 79, 86 Atropa Belladonna (deadly nightshade) 99, 263 Banisteriopsis eaapi (yage) 263, 270...

Summary And Conclusion

Two-thirds of the existing in vitro studies have reported some degree of increased chromosomal breakage following exposure to illicit or pure LSD. With one exception, these changes were observed with concentrations of LSD and durations of exposure that far exceeded the dosages commonly used in humans. In none of the studies was there a clear dosage-response relationship. Since similar findings have been reported with many commonly used substances, including artificial sweeteners, aspirin,...

The Importance Of

Since LSD is a non-specific amplifier of mental processes, the LSD phenomena cover an extremely broad range, extending potentially to all aspects of human experience and behavior. For this reason there can be many different sets for the LSD sessions. The fierce controversies surrounding LSD could be dispelled easily if those involved in arguing about the dangers and benefits of LSD would clearly recognize the critical relevance of the non-drug factors. In most instances, discussions that...

Use Of Lsd In The Development Of Paranormal Abilities

Much historical and anthropological evidence and numerous anecdotal observations from clinical research suggest that psychedelic substances can occasionally facilitate extrasensory perception. In many cultures visionary plants were administered in the context of spiritual healing ceremonies as means to diagnose and cure diseases. Equally frequent was their use for other magical purposes, such as locating lost objects or persons, astral projection, perception of remote events, precognition, and...

Techniques Qf Lsd Therapy

Although psychotherapy is a very important component of the approaches in this category, the primary emphasis is on the specificities of the drug experience. The psychotherapeutic techniques involved are modified and adjusted to the nature of the LSD state to form an integral and organic unit with the psychedelic process. The term psycholytic was coined by the British researcher and pioneer in LSD therapy, Ronald A. Sandison. Its root, lytic (from the Greek lysis dflsoliition) refers to the...

Use Of The Activating Effect Of Lsd On Chronic And Fixated Symptoms

This approach was inspired by the clinical experience that LSD has an intensifying and mobilizing effect on manifest and latent psychopathological symptoms. The principle of activation or provocation therapy with LSD was theoretically developed and employed in practice by the Austrian researcher Jost. (41) This concept was based on clinical observations of an interesting relationship between the nature and course of the psychotic process and prognosis of the disease. It has been a well-known...

Psychodynamic Experiences

The experiences belonging to this category are associated with and derived from biographical material from the subject's life, particularly from emotionally highly-relevant events, situations, and circumstances. They are related to important memories, problems, and unresolved conflicts from various periods of the individual's life since early childhood. Psychodynamic experiences originate in areas of the human personality that are generally accessible in normal states of consciousness, or in...

The Search For An Effective Technique Of Lsd Psychotherapy

It would be very difficult to describe in a systematic and comprehensive way the therapeutic procedure used in my clinical research with LSD psychotherapy in Prague. When this study began, very little was known about LSD and its therapeutic potential. The purpose of the research was to investigate whether LSD might be a useful tool for personality diagnosis and the therapy of emotional disorders. Since the project was a pilot study designed to collect new observations, in its initial phases it...

Changes In The Dynamics Of Governing Systems

When the dosage is increased or the LSD sessions repeated, new and powerful mechanisms come into action and become available in addition to the above. Many therapeutic changes on deeper levels can be explained as resulting from a chemical intervention in the dynamic interplay of unconscious constellations that have the function of governing systems. The most important of these are the systems oj condensed experience (COEX systems), which organize material of biographical nature, and the basic...

Notes

The interested reader will find more information on the multilevel over-determination of LSD experiences in the first volume of this series, Stanislav Grof Realms of the Human Unconscious. (32) 2. It is interesting to compare this psychedelic cartography with the four levels and stages described by R.E.L. Masters and Jean Houston in their pioneering book The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. (65) The authors distinguish (1) The sensory level (eidetic images and other perceptual changes,...

Personality Of The Subject

When we discuss the significance of the subject's personality for the nature, content and course of the LSD experience, it is necessary to distinguish between the role of personality factors in individual sessions using low and medium dosages on the one hand, and in consecutive sessions of a therapeutic series or high-dose psychedelic sessions on the other. We will first cover the more superficial per sonality variables and later move on to the deeper underlying structures that function as...

Emotional Distress And Physical Pain Of Dying Individuals

Probably the most interesting and promising indication for LSD psychotherapy is its use in seriously ill people who are facing death. Although this approach has been most systematically explored in cancer patients, it is applicable to persons with other life-threatening diseases. The use of psychedelic therapy in this indication has been discussed in detail in a previous volume4 and will only be briefly described here. The original suggestion that psychedelic therapy could be useful for persons...

Therapeutic Potential Of The Deathrebirth Process

The therapeutic changes associated with experiences on the psychodynamic level seem to be of relatively minor significance compared to those that result from perinatal sequences. The everyday clinical practice of LSD psychotherapy brings repeated evidence of the powerful healing potential of the death-rebirth process. The discovery of this potent therapeutic mechanism, as yet unrecognized and unacknowledged by Western science, represents one of the most surprising findings of my LSD research....

Facilitation Of The Psychotherapeutic Process By Lsd Administration

During the years of therapeutic experimentation, there have been several systematic attempts to use small doses of LSD to enhance the dynamics of individual or group psychotherapy. In general, the disadvantages of this approach seem to outweigh its potential benefits. The use of small dosages does not save much time, since it does not shorten the duration of the drug action so much as decrease its depth and intensity. Similarly, the risks involved in the use of low doses in psychiatric patients...

References

This list includes works cited in the text and other related works consulted by the author for this critical review. 1 Aase, J. M., Laestadius, N., Smith, D. W. Children of Mothers who Took LSD in Pregnancy. Lancet II 100, 1970. 2 Abbo, G., Norris, A., Zellweger, H. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD-25) and Chromosome Breaks. Humangenetik 6 253, 1968. 3 Aghajanian, G. K., Bing, O. H. Persistance of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in the Plasma of Human Subjects. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 5 611, 1964. 4...

Integration of the Drug Experiences

Having discussed the most general problems related to LSD psychotherapy, I will describe the basic principles of an LSD procedure which, according to my past clinical experience, can bring the best therapeutic results in the shortest possible time and with the least risk of complications. The procedure is also in full agreement with clinical common sense and with present theoretical understanding of the mechanisms of the LSD reaction. An ideal course of LSD psychotherapy involves an open-ended...

Bpm Iv

Related Psycliopathological Syndromes schizophrenic psychoses (death-rebirth experiences, messianic delusions, j elements of destruction and recreation of the world, salvation and redemption, I identification with Christ) manic symptomatology female homosexuality Corresponding Activities in Freudian Erotogenic Zones satiation of thirst and hunger pleasure of sucking libidinal feelings after defe-I cation, urination, sexual orgasm, or delivery of a child Associated Memories from Postnatal Life 1...

Carcinogenic Effects Of

It has repeatedly been mentioned in the literature that LSD might have carcinogenic potential. This speculation appeared for the first time in the paper by Cohen, Marinello and Back. (22) The authors drew this conclusion from their findings of a markedly increased frequency of chromosomal breakage and a quadriradial chromosome exchange figure in a patient with paranoid schizophrenia who had undergone extensive LSD psychotherapy. This is a combination occurring in three inherited disorders...

Adverse Aftereffects Of Lsd Psychotherapy

LSD psychotherapy involves activation of deep unconscious material, its exteriorization, and conscious integration. Although the LSD sessions represent the most dramatic aspect of this treatment modality and ideally form a relatively completed psychological gestalt, psychedelic therapy is a continuous uncovering process which includes the dynamics of the free intervals between sessions. Within the framework of an LSD series, no clearcut boundaries can generally be drawn between the sessions and...

Perinatal Experiences

The most important common denominator and focus of the experiences originating in this area of the unconscious is a group of problems related to biological birth, physical pain and agony, disease, aging, decrepitude, dying and death. It is important to emphasize that the encounter with these critical aspects of human life typically takes the form of a profound first-hand experience, rather than just symbolic confrontation. Specific eschatological ideation, and visions of wars, revolutions,...

Personality Of The Therapist Or Guide

Numerous observations made during clinical research with LSD strongly suggest that the personalities of the therapist, the co-therapist, the sitters, or any persons present are factors of paramount significance in structuring the content, course, and outcome of psychedelic sessions. Probably the single most important element determining the nature of an LSD experience is the feeling of safety and trust on the part of the experient. This is, of course, critically dependent on the presence or...

Therapeutic Mechanisms On The Transpersonal Level

Observations from LSD psychotherapy provide ample evidence that transpersonal experiences are more than just curious phenomena of theoretical interest. In many instances, specific clinical symptoms arc authored in dynamic structures of a transpersonal nature and cannot be resolved on the level of psvchodvnainic or even perinatal experiences. In order to eliminate a specific emotional, psycho-' somatic, or interpersonal problem, the patient sometimes has to experience dramatic sequences of a...

Info

LSD and Chromosomes. 11 778, 1968. 15 Browning, L. S. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide Mutagenic Effects in Droso-. phila. Science 161 1022, 1968. 16 Carakushansky, G., Neu, R. I., Gardner, L. I. Lysergide and Cannabis as Possible Teratogens in Man. Lancet 11 150, 1969. 17 Cohen, H. P., Turner, W. J., Merlis, S. A Study of Drug Effects on Chromosomes. Mimeographed copy. 18 Cohen, M. M. LSD and Chromosomes. Science J., p. 76, Sept., 1968. 19 Cohen, M. M. The Interaction of Various...

Advantages And Drawbacks Of The Psycholytic Approach

An unquestionable advantage of psycholytic therapy is its heuristic value. The slowly progressing unfolding of various levels of the unconscious has been compared by some patients to chemoexcavation, the careful archaeological work that sequentially explores layer after layer and studies their mutual interrelation. Other subjects refer to this process as peeling the onion of the unconscious mind. THe richness of the material obtained in repeated sessions using medium dosages of LSD provides...

Teratogenic Effects Of

It has been frequently hypothesized in the past that LSD may be a potential cause of abortions, fetal wastage and congenital malformations. The actual experimental studies of the effect of LSD on embryonic development have been made primarily in rodents. Since free transplacental transfer of LSD has been demonstrated in an autoradiographic study performed by Idanp n-lieikkil and Schoolar, (56) it is conceivable that it might influence the developing fetus. In this study, the injected LSD...

Changes In The Content Of Psychedelic Sessions

In an earlier section of this book, we discussed abstract, psychodynamic, perinatal and transpersonal phenomena as being the four major categories of experiences occurring in LSD sessions. The arrangements of the generative matrices of these experiential modalities and their interconnections are intricate and complex. They cannot be reduced to any linear model, and are best understood in holonomic terms.' It is, therefore, not quite accurate to talk about the unconscious as stratified, and to...

Ckno Wledgments

Having completed the work on this book, I would like to remember with deep gratitude some friends who have given me important help at various stages of this project. Dr. George Roubicek, former Associate Professor of the Department of Psychiatry at Charles University School of Medicine, was my first preceptor and guide for my first LSD session in 1956. This experience was the beginning of my profound interest in and life-long commitment to the study of unusual states of consciousness. Dr. Milos...

Critical Situations In Lsd Sessions

While seriously adverse aftereffects of supervised LSD sessions tend to occur only in individuals who had considerable emotional problems prior to the drug experience, in the actual course of high-dose psychedelic sessions various emergencies can occur in anybody, without regard to his or her emotional stability. It is essential to inform a client during the preparation period that he or she may have difficult experiences during the sessions, and that these represent a meaningful and integral...

Emotional And Psychosomatic Changes In The Postsession Intervals

The changes that occur in the content of LSD sessions during the course of psychedelic therapy have their counterparts in parallel changes in the subjects' clinical condition following the drug experiences. The specific dynamics of the post-session intervals and the therapeutic approach to complications have been discussed in an earlier section. Here we will describe certain general patterns of change associated with serial LSD sessions. We will focus our attention on the course of therapy in...

Therapeutic Use Of The Abreactive Effect Of

Many observations from early LSD research clearly indicated that the drug can facilitate reliving of various emotionally relevant episodes from infancy, childhood, or later life. In the case of traumatic memories, this process was preceded and accompanied by powerful emotional abreaction and catharsis. It seemed, therefore, only logical to explore the value of LSD as an agent for abreac-tive therapy in a way similar to the earlier use of ether, short-acting barbiturates, or amphetamines, in the...

Role Of Lsd In Personal Growth And Selfactualiza Tion

During the years of intensive LSD research, the major focus was on basic psycho-pathological investigation, psychiatric therapy, or some quite specific uses, such as enhancement of artistic expression or mediation of a religious experience. Relatively little attention was paid to the value that psychedelic experiences could have for the personal development of normal individuals. In the mid-sixties, this issue emerged in an elemental and explosive fashion in a wave of massive non-supervised...

Bibliography

1 Abramson, H A LSD-25 as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy with Elimination of Fear of Homosexuality. J. Psychol. 39 127, 1955 2 Abramson, H A, ed. The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy, Josiah Macy Foundation Publications, New York, 1960 3 Anderson, E W Rawnsley, K Clinical Studies of LSD-25. Mschr. Psychiat. Neurol. 128 38, 1954 4 Arendsen-Hein, G W LSD in the Treatment of Criminal Psychopaths. Proc. of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, London 1961. Charles C. Thomas, London, 1963 5...

The Importance Of Setting

During my clinical work with LSD, I have made numerous observations indicating clearly that the physical and interpersonal elements of the setting can also profoundly influence the nature of the LSD reaction. Most situations in which external stimuli have a strong influence on the subject and modify his or her LSD experience can eventually be understood in terms of the content of underlying dynamic governing systems and their complicated reciprocal interaction with the environmental stimuli. If...

Transpersonal Experiences

The common denominator of this otherwise rich and ramified group of phenomena is the subject's feeling that his or her conscoiusness has expanded beyond the usual ego boundaries and has transcended the limitations of time and space. In the normal or usual state of consciousness, we experience ourselves as existing within the boundaries of the physical body (the body image) and our perception of the environment is restricted by the physically determined range of exteroceptors. Both our internal...

Borderline Psychotic States And Endogenous Psychoses

Psychiatric patients with borderline and manifest psychotic conditions need not necessarily be excluded from psychedelic therapy. Although clinical experiences of the treatment of schizophrenic and other psychotic states with LSD are rather limited, it is possible to make certain general conclusions. By and large, the prognosis in psychotic individuals seems to be much better than in certain severely defended neurotics, particularly obsessive-compulsive patients. However, this statement is...

Pros And Cons Of Psychedelic Therapy

Some of the advantages of psychedelic therapy are practical, others are of a theoretical nature. In general, the therapeutic changes achieved in a single psychedelic session are much more dramatic and profound than those observed as a result of a single psycholvtic session. Certain aspects of the psychedelic treatment technique represent a great acceleration and deepening of the therapeutic process, as well as a definite increase in its efficacy and safety. This approach seems to have fully...

The Preparation Period

It is understandable that it takes much less time to work with an emotionally relatively stable subject who volunteers for the LSD session for the purpose of professional training, personal growth, or enhancement of creativity, than to prepare a severely disturbed patient with serious neurotic, psychosomatic or borderline psychotic symptoms. Since every situation is different and every client presents quite specific problems, no concrete and detailed guidelines...

Pharmacological Effects Of

Since administration of LSD is the conditio sine qua non, or the absolutely necessary condition for the LSD reaction, it would seem only logical to consider the drug itself as the factor of fundamental importance. Careful analysis of clinical observations from LSD psychotherapy, however, shows this issue to be much more complicated. The phenomena that can occur in the cburse of LSD sessions cover a very wide range there are hardly any perceptual, emotional, or psychosomatic manifestations that...

Problems In The Evaluation Of Clinical Results

Disagreement about the potential and efficacy of LSD therapy has been one of the most striking aspects of the LSD controversy. Professional literature discussing the clinical significance of the drug falls into three distinct categories. The first group of publications consists of enthusiastic reports by LSD therapists according to whom remarkable and relatively quick results have been achieved in the therapy of emotional disorders, not only those that usually respond to conventional treatment...

The Nature And Dynamics Of Psychedelic Crises

Understanding the dynamics of psychedelic experiences is absolutely necessary for effective crisis intervention. A difficult LSD experience, unless it results from a gross abuse of the individual, represents an exteriorization of a potentially pathogenic matrix in the subject's unconscious. If properly handled, a psychedelic crisis has great positive potential and can result in a profound personality transformation. Conversely, an insensitive and ignorant approach can cause psychological damage...

Prevention And Management Of Complications In Lsd Psychotherapy

, Occasional activation of the unconscious material associated with various kinds ' and degrees of emotional and psychosomatic discomfort is part of every uncovering process. Instances of this have been observed occasionally even in the course of conservative and traditional psychoanalytic treatment, and it is a common occurrence in various experiential psychotherapies neo-Reichian work, primal therapy, Gestalt practice, encounter groups where no psychoactive drugs are v used. Dramatic...

Physical And Emotional Contraindications

All clinical and laboratory evidence accumulated during the last three decades indicates that from the biological point of view pharmaceutically pure LSD is a surprisingly safe substance. This statement should not be automatically applied to so-called street acid. The quality of samples sold in the black market varies considerably and some of the impurities and admixtures are physiologically much more dangerous than LSD. Chemical analysis detected amphetamines, strychnine, STP, phencyclidine...

Intensification Of Conventional Therapeutic Mechanisms

The only factors of therapeutic change available in the initial stages of a psycho-lvtic series arc lie mechanisms that have been described in the contcxt of traditional psychotherapeutic schools. However, even in superficial psychedclic experiences these mechanisms are greatly intensified. Under these circumstances the defense systems are considerably weakened and psychological resistance decreases. The emotional responses of the subject are dramatically enhanced and one may observe powerful...

Druginduced Religious And Mystical Experiences

The use of psychedelic substances for ritual, religious, and magical purposes can be traced back to ancient shamanic traditions and is probably as old as mankind. The legendary divine potion soma, prepared from a plant of the same name whose identity is now lost, played a crucial role in the Vedic religion. Preparations from hemp Cannabis indica and sativa have been used in Asia and Africa for many centuries under different names hashish, charas, bhang, ganja, kif in religious ceremonies and...