Critical Variables In Lsd Therapy

Pharmacological Effects of LSD Personality of the Subject Personality of the Therapist or Guide Set and Setting of the Sessions

A deep understanding of the nature and course of the LSD experience and the dynamics of LSD psychotherapy is impossible without full awareness of all the factors involved in the LSD reaction. The early simplistic and reductionistic models of the LSD experience as being either "model schizophrenia" or a "toxic psychosis"—basically a result of the drug's interference with the normal physiological and biochemical processes in the brain—have been abandoned a long time ago by all serious researchers. The LSD literature abounds in observations indicating the utmost importance of non-drug factors as determinants of psychedelic experiences and the critical role they play in the therapeutic process. In order to understand the nature of the LSD reaction in all its complexity, we have to discuss not only the actual pharmacological effect of the drug, but also the most important extrapharmacological factors—the role of the personality of the subject, his or her emotional condition and current life situation, the personality of the guide or therapist, the nature of the relationship between the subject and the guide, and an entire complex of additional factors usually referred to as set and setting.

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