Lsdassisted Psychotherapy

As indicated in the above survey of therapeutic experimentation with LSD, the efforts to exploit purely pharmacological properties of this drug have failed to bring positive results. The concept of LSD as simply a chemotherapeutic agent has been abandoned by all serious researchers in the field. The use of LSD as an activating substance, in Jost and Vicari's sense, has not found its way into clinical practice, at least not in its original mechanical form. The abreactive action of LSD is valued highly, but it is usually considered to be only one of many effective mechanisms operating in LSD therapy. The shock-effect of LSD cannot in itself be considered therapeutic; unless it occurs in a specifically structured situation, it can have detrimental rather than beneficial consequences. The influence of LSD on the personality structure in the sense of a conversion is a well-established clinical fact; however, the occurrence of this phenomenon during unstructured administrations of LSD is rare, unpredictable and capricious. Special preparation, a trusting therapeutic relationship, psychological support, and a specifically structured set and setting are necessary to make therapeutic use of this aspect of the LSD effect.

There seems to be general agreement at present among LSD therapists that the therapeutic outcome of LSD sessions depends critically on factors of a non-pharmacological nature (extrapharmacological variables). The drug itself is seen as a catalyst that activates the unconscious processes in a rather unspecific way. Whether the emergence of the unconscious material will be therapeutic or destructive is not determined simply by the biochemical and physiological action of LSD. It is a function of a number of non-drug variables, such as the personality structure of the subject, the relationship he or she has with the guide, sitter or persons present in the session, the nature and degree of specific psychological help, and the set and setting of the psychedelic experience. For this reason all the approaches that try to utilize LSD simply as another chemotherapeutic agent are, by and large, bound to fail. This does not mean that it is not possible to benefit from an LSD experience if the drug is taken in an unstructured situation. However, extra-pharmacological factors have such a profound influence on the LSD session and its final outcome that one cannot expect a reasonable degree and consistency of therapeutic success unless the non-drug variables are sufficiently understood and controlled. Thus the optimal use of LSD for therapeutic purposes should always involve administration of the drug within the framework of a complex psychotherapeutic program; this approach offers the most therapeutic possibilities. In this respect, the potential of LSD seems to be quite extraordinary and unique. The ability of LSD to deepen, intensify and accelerate the psychotherapeutic process is incomparably greater than that of any other drug used as an adjunct to psychotherapy, with the exception perhaps of some other members of the psychedelic group, such as psilocybin, mescaline, ibogain, MDA, (methylene-dioxy-amphetamine), or DPT (dipropyltryptamine).

In the professional literature, the combination of LSD with various forms of psychotherapy has been referred to by many different names: psycholysis (Sandi-son), psychedelic therapy (Osmond), symbolysis (van Rhijn), hebesynthesis (Abramson), lyserganalysis (Giberti and Gregoretti), oneiroanalysis (Delay), LSD analysis (Martin and McCririck), transintegrative therapy (MacLean), hypnodelic j treatment (Levine and Ludwig), and psychosynthesis (Roquet). Individual thera-| pists using LSD psychotherapy have differed considerably in regard to the dosage j used, frequency and total number of psychedelic sessions, the intensity and type of ' the psychotherapeutic work, and certain specificities of set and setting.

In view of all these differences and variations, any comprehensive discussion of the history of LSD psychotherapy would involve giving separate descriptions of all the individual therapists and therapeutic teams. Yet, it is possible with a degree of over-simplification, to distinguish certain basic ways of using LSD in psychotherapy. These modalities fall into two major categories, which differ in the degree of significance attributed to the role of the drug. The first category involves approached in which the emphasis is on systematic psychotherapeutic work; LSD is used to enhance the therapeutic process or to overcome resistances, blocks and \ periods of stagnation. The approaches in the second category are characterized by a much greater emphasis on the specific aspects of the drug experience and the psychotherapy is used to prepare the subjects for the drug sessions, give them sup-1 port during the experiences, and to help them integrate the material.

Continue reading here: Facilitation Of The Psychotherapeutic Process By Lsd Administration

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