tiie cou use or lsd psrciioriiLiiM'r psychoactive drug. Since high-quality feedback about the psychedelic experiences and therapeutic results was essential for the study, we tended to select people with an above-average level of intellectual functioning, a good educational background, and a talent for introspection.

We kept detailed records of each drug experience, as well as of the intervals between the sessions. These records came mainly from two sources — the patients themselves, and the therapists who were conducting LSD sessions. Additional information was occasionally provided by the nurses and co-patients who spent some time with the LSD subjects during the late hours of the psychedelic experience. With the help of two colleagues who joined mc later in the project, I collected records from the serial sessions of fifty-four patients. The dosages ranged between 150 and 450 micrograms and the overall number of LSD sessions per patient was between fifteen and one hundred-and-three.

The study thus involved intelligent patients with a variety of severe emotional and psychosomatic disorders of a chronic and fixated nature. Among the conditions we treated with serial LSD sessions were inhibited and agitated depressions, all major forms of psychoneuroses, psychosomatic diseases such as asthma, psoriasis and migraine headaches, various sexual dysfunctions and deviations, alcoholism and narcotic drug addition, character disorders, borderline psychotic states, and several patients with manifest schizophrenic symptoms. Later, when I was heading the psychedelic research project at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore, I also had the opportunity to conduct serial LSD sessions with cancer patients. The variety of subjects and circumstances made it possible to draw general conclusions about the natural course of LSD psychotherapy, as well as the therapeutic strategies that ean influence it in a favorable way.

Keeping detailed records of the psychedelic experiences and of the intervals between consecutive sessions is a very important part of LSD psychotherapy. It is absolutely essential for research purposes, if one intends to draw generalized conclusions and use the observations as a basis for theoretical speculation. Good and detailed records are also extremely useful in everyday clinical practice. A therapist treating a large number of patients in serial LSD sessions usually forgets many details, and even patients themselves do not remember all the sequences from their previous psychedelic experiences. Occasionally, material from a much earlier session unexpectedly acquires new meaning in view of later episodes; reliable records can be of great value under such circumstances. This ean become even more evident if the patient has documented the course of his or her therapy with drawings and paintings.

During my own research, careful retrospective study of the LSD records revealed many connections that I had missed during the actual treatment process, which extended over periods of months or years. While reviewing and reconstructing the unfolding of the psychedelic process of each single individual as reflected in the notes, I could recognize certain repetitive themes, recurrent experiential clusters, important underlying trends, typical stages, and characteristic turning points. This gave valuable insights into the nature and course of the LSD procedure in specific individuals and allowed comparison with the significant findings from similar data about other patients. This in turn provided a rough dynamic cartography of the inner spaces made available through LSD and thus expanded the model of the human unconscious. It also threw light on the basic characteristics of the transformative process facilitated by repeated administrations of the drug.

In the following text we will discuss in detail the processes unfolding during the course of LSD therapy, focusing on its three important aspects:

a) changes in the content of psychedelic sessions;

b) emotional and psychosomatic changes in the post-session intervals;

c) long-term changes in the personality structure, world-view, and hierarchy of basic values.

Continue reading here: Changes In The Content Of Psychedelic Sessions

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