Psychotherapy, Therapeutic, Therapist
A new intellectual understanding of reality is an important catalyst for therapeutic
Anxiety in the therapist about “inducing psychosis” seems likely to render the experience
anxiety-ridden for the subject.
Clinical data suggested that these experiences had a unique therapeutic potential in the
treatment of various emotional disorders.
cosmic psychotherapy—To anyone whose soul has fallen to pieces, he can rearrange
Explicit focus on the positive potential in human beings is an important therapeutic
Few therapists are capable of assessing, evaluating and integrating psychedelic
experiences in a useful way.
In psychedelic therapy, there is a great emphasis on aesthetically rich settings and a
It has deep and revolutionary implications for the understanding of psychopathology and
offers new therapeutic possibilities undreamt of by traditional psychiatry.
It is hard to imagine a more useful way to combine medicine, psychology and religion
than psychedelic therapy with dying individuals.
It’s possible in one session to eliminate a neurosis that had resisted years of non-drug
Leary saw the revolutionary possibilities of psilocybin and later LSD for psychotherapy
LSD-assisted analysis could deepen, intensify and accelerate the therapeutic process and
produce practical results.
LSD could expedite the psychotherapeutic process and shorten the time necessary for the
treatment of various emotional disorders, which makes it a potentially valuable tool.
LSD helps patients in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy to perceive their problems in
their true significance.
LSD psychotherapy can be beneficial over a very broad spectrum of emotional and
LSD translates into the language not just of religion, psychology and psychotherapy, but
also of the physical and biological sciences.
Many people get tremendous recalls of buried material. A process which may take six
years of psychoanalysis happens in an hour—and considerably cheaper!
Only a warm, supportive atmosphere can lead to a therapeutic LSD experience, not the
cold, clinical environment.
Our social policy has all but ignored the extraordinary potential of psychedelic drugs for
therapeutic use and inner development.
Our understanding of these most complex and fascinating of drugs remains incomplete,
and they represent unfinished business for psychological research and psychotherapy.
Particularly noteworthy are the positive results obtained with cases highly resistant to
conventional forms of therapy.
Psychedelic drug therapy did not die a natural death from loss of interest; it was killed by
law. (That is fascism).
Psychedelic drugs open up the possibility of working in areas little or not at all touched
by psychoanalysis and other therapies.
Psychedelic therapy can have a positive effect on a variety of emotional symptoms and
Psychotherapy has to be significantly reevaluated in view of the observations from
Robert Kennedy’s wife Ethyl reportedly underwent LSD therapy with a close associate of
Some psychiatrists very early saw the remarkable potential of LSD for telescoping many
weary hours of psychotherapy into a brief, intense experience.
Specialized training of the therapist, which includes first-hand experiences of psychedelic
states of consciousness, is an important element in LSD psychotherapy.
The current popular method of behavior change is psychotherapy, which defines
confusion and inefficiency in game playing as illness.
The experience of cosmic unity has an unusual therapeutic potential and can have lasting
beneficial consequences for the individual.
The healing potential of ecstatic states is of such paramount significance that it suggests
an entirely new orientation in psychiatric therapy.
The LSD experience appears to involve a variety of factors on many different levels; each
has a distinct therapeutic potential.
The nature of psychedelic therapy is such that the process itself automatically selects in
each session the material that is most emotionally relevant at the time.
The person who takes the drug undertakes a journey into his or her psyche. For this
reason, LSD is of deep relevance for understanding the human mind and psychotherapy.
The rate of recovery or significant improvement was often higher with LSD therapy than
with traditional methods.
The so-called “instant psychotherapy” is in fact a possibility in the psychedelic
The therapeutic claims made for these drugs are of sufficient potential importance to
warrant serious unprejudiced study.
The therapeutic effects associated with the experience of death and rebirth are so
The therapist has to be open to the spiritual dimension and recognize it as an important
part of life.
The wisdom for change and healing comes from the collective unconscious and surpasses
by far the knowledge that is intellectually available to the therapist.
These drugs can elicit material normally in the subconscious that can be of considerable
value to virtually all schools of psychotherapeutic thought.
This profound experience may constitute a new and powerful means for eliciting
profound therapeutic changes and for facilitating reconstructuring of the personality.
Used therapeutically, a psychedelic drug might help to resolve a neurosis or other
psychological problem and therefore release creativity.
A conceptual system that could account for at least the major observations of LSD
therapy requires not just a new understanding of the effects of LSD, but a new and
expanded model of the human mind and the nature of human beings.
A number of patients in psychotherapy could begin to paint after having been given the
drug. Most of them had not previously done any painting at all, and yet the quality of the
work was far above average for the ordinary beginning art student.
Americans are permitted to do almost anything in the name of psychotherapy or religion
except use disapproved drugs. (That means the U.S. is a fascist state without religious
Continued penetration into the unconscious does not reveal increasingly bestial and
hellish regions, as indicated by psychoanalysis, but rather extends into the cosmic realms
of the superconscious.
For many people, one or two psychedelic experiences can accomplish the goals of a long
and successful psychotherapy, a deep understanding and game-free collaboration between
participants, plus insights.
I became intrigued by the possibilities that LSD psychotherapy seemed to offer for the
alleviation of the emotional suffering of cancer patients facing the prospect of imminent
death. (That was Stanislav Grof.)
If the therapist views the experience as a psychosis, he unwittingly helps the patient
develop a psychosis, not through suggestion alone, but also because he cannot offer the
patient a framework to handle the new experience.
Important emotional, psychosomatic or interpersonal difficulties that have plagued the
client for many years and have resisted conventional therapeutic approaches can
sometimes disappear after a full experience of a transpersonal nature.
In deep experiential psychotherapy, biographical material is not remembered or
reconstructed; it can actually be fully relived. This involves not only emotions, but also
physical sensations, visual perceptions, as well as vivid data from all the other senses.
LSD produces an upsurge of unconscious material into consciousness and repressed
memories are relived with remarkable clarity—with therapeutically beneficial
Much of the combined efforts of psychiatrists, psychologists, neurophysiologists,
biochemists and other related professionals is one-sidedly directed toward interfering
with processes that have unique therapeutic and transformative potential.
Music seems to serve several important functions in the context of psychedelic therapy. It
tends to evoke a variety of powerful emotions and facilitates deeper involvement in the
Observations indicating an urgent need to transcend the limitations of mechanistic
science come not only from modern consciousness research and new experiential
techniques of psychotherapy, but also from quantum-relativistic physics.
One of the most difficult things that a psychedelic therapist had to learn was how to do
nothing, how to become transparent, yet remain attentive enough to respond at the critical
Psychedelic drugs were used for more than 15 years by hundreds of competent
psychiatrists who considered them reasonably safe therapeutic agents. (This was between
1950 and the mid 1960’s. These psychiatrists were not radicals or rebels.)
Psychotherapy and liberation are completed in the moment when shame and guilt
collapse, when the organism is no longer compelled to defend itself for being an
Psychotherapy falls short of being a way of liberation. The weakness lies in the cultural
acceptance of the dualistic view of man. (Psychotherapy with LSD is a whole different
The importance and value of transpersonal experiences is extraordinary. It is a great irony
and one of the paradoxes of modern science that phenomena with a therapeutic potential
transcending what Western psychiatry has to offer are, by and large, seen as pathological.
The main objective of psychedelic therapy is to create optical conditions for the subject to
experience the ego death and the subsequent transcendence into the so-called psychedelic
The practical function of psychoanalysis is to get the whole psyche into consciousness.
(Shrinks don’t even know what that means because they haven’t gotten their own whole
psyches into consciousness. It can be done best with LSD.)
The purpose of the whole experience is for the person to learn to experience himself and
the things about him with fulfillment and joy. Having a good time and experiencing
beauty is therapeutic.
The richness of opportunities for deep dramatic shifts and transformations that is
characteristic of psychedelic states seems to make LSD a very special adjunct to
There are dedicated scientists trying to find some way in which supplies of LSD may be
made available for important research in brain physiology, psychology, theology or
There are many reports of patients receiving meaningful insight about themselves in an
LSD experience without the intervention, participation or even the presence of a
Unless the LSD therapist is equally at home with both old and new ideas he may
overlook creative aspects of the patient’s thinking and label it all as merely confused or
psychotic. The therapist’s confusion may in turn confuse the patient.
Unlike the verbal approaches, deep experiential therapy has the potential to take the client
in a very short time to the original traumatic situations and thus to the roots of the
problem. (“Deep experiential therapy” means LSD therapy.)
William James was well aware that a deep religious conversion is the best therapy for
alcoholism. The importance of deep spiritual experiences for overcoming alcoholism was
also well known to Carl Gustav Jung.
After 15 years of practicing psychotherapy and after 10 years of doing research on
psychotherapy, I had come to the conclusion that there was very little that one person
called a doctor could do for another person called a patient by talking to him across a
desk or listening to him as he lay on a couch. (That was Timothy Leary.)
Controlled research aimed at maximizing their safety, their effectiveness, and their
human value has barely begun. In addition to questions concerning the possible uses of
LSD as a therapeutic or educative device, its potential value as a basic research tool for
investigating higher mental processes has also been minimally explored.
One traumatic event can shape a life, one therapeutic event can reshape it. Psychedelic
therapy has an analogue in Abraham Maslow’s idea of the peak experience. The drug
taker feels that the self is part of a much larger pattern, and the sense of cleansing,
release, and joy makes old woes seem trivial.
The critical issue here is the ontological status of non-ordinary states of consciousness—
whether we see them as pathological conditions that should be indiscriminately
suppressed or veritable alternatives to our everyday states of consciousness that can
contribute to our understanding of the psyche and have a great therapeutic potential.
The difficulty with both psychotherapy and liberation is that the problem which they
address lies in the social institutions in whose terms we think and act. No co-operation
can be expected from an individual ego which is itself the social institution at the root of
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.
The goal of psychoanalysis, Freud said, is to replace the extreme suffering of the neurotic
patient with the normal misery of everyday life. An alienated, unhappy, and driven
existence dominated by excessive power needs, competitive urges, and insatiable
ambition can still fall within the broad definition of mental health.
The theoretical formulations and practical principles that LSD psychotherapy has
discovered or validated include a new, expanded cartography of the human mind, new
and effective therapeutic mechanisms, a new strategy of psychotherapy and a synthesis of
spirituality and science.
The therapeutic results transcended anything I had ever witnessed. Difficult symptoms
that had resisted months and even years of conventional treatment often disappeared after
experiences such as psychological death and rebirth, feelings of cosmic unity and
sequences that clients described as past-life memories.
We now consider that they give us therapeutic possibilities in areas where we were
formerly powerless. In fact these drugs are of such great importance in our psychiatric
instrumentation that we can hardly think of doing without them. Indeed, this is a great
step forward in psychiatry.
A new and exciting area was discovered for psychedelic psychotherapy: the care of
patients with terminal cancer and some other incurable diseases. Studies of dying
individuals indicated that this approach was able to bring not only alleviation of the
emotional suffering and relief from severe physical pain associated with cancer, but also
dramatically transform the concept of death and change the attitude toward dying.
Exploration of the potential of these substances for the study of schizophrenia, for
didactic purposes, for a deeper understanding of art and religion, for personality
diagnostics and the therapy of emotional disorders and for altering the experience of
dying has been my major professional interest throughout these years and has consumed
most of the time I have spent in psychiatric research. (That was Stanislav Grof.)
Hallucinogens are still criminal. The “food of the gods” is illegal. The keys to the doors
of perception are against the law. Using LSD therapy with convicts, drug addicts, and
alcoholics is illegal. The great therapeutic tool of LSD that was proven so effective in
case after case of psychological maladjustment has been taken away from the doctors of
the mind by the fundamentalist, fascist guardians of our public morality.
If mystical experiences are integrated into the personality, they are highly therapeutic.
Single-state scholars and theoreticians are hard-pressed to explain this therapeutic value.
Denial is easier. But if an enlarged map of reality includes altered states of consciousness,
then experiencing such states logically leads to a fuller view of reality, and therapists tell
us that a fuller view of reality is therapeutic.
In the field of treatment of alcoholism, there were several studies showing a close to 50
percent control rate following “LSD therapy,” a figure which cannot be matched by any
other therapeutic approach to this problem and successful beyond the wildest dreams of
Alcoholics Anonymous, to say nothing of conventional psychoanalysis, which has a
success rate of curing alcoholics of about one in every hundred, which is nobody.
It has been shown that LSD experiences of death and rebirth and mystical states of
consciousness can change patients’ concepts of death and life and alleviate their fears of
dying. Psychedelic therapy has proved to be more than an important tool in the control of
mental and physical pain, it has contributed greatly to our understanding of the
experience of death.
LSD is a unique and powerful tool for the exploration of the human mind and human
nature. Psychedelic experiences mediate access to deep realms of the psyche that have
not yet been discovered and acknowledged by mainstream psychology and psychiatry.
They also reveal new possibilities and mechanisms of therapeutic change and personality
One can raise the question whether depriving the investigator of experience is not
tantamount to blinding him to the very area that will mediate therapeutic results. (Are
little kids the only people “objective” enough to judge sex? Any adult will say that kids
know nothing about it. It’s the same with LSD. The investigator or therapist has to take
the LSD himself in order to know what it’s all about.)
One of the major problems in LSD psychotherapy was the unusual nature and context of
the psychedelic experience. The intensity of the emotional and physical expression
characteristic of LSD sessions was in sharp contrast to the conventional image of
psychotherapy, with its face-to-face discussions or disciplined free-associating on the
Specialists from various disciplines have asked me for specific details of my
observations, because they felt that these data may have important implications for such
diverse areas as personality theory, psychology of religion, psychotherapy, genetics,
psychology and psychopathology of art, anthropology, the study of mythology,
education, psychosomatic medicine and obstetric practice. (That was Stanislav Grof.)
The CIA and military investigators were given free reign to conduct their covert
experimentation. Apparently, in the eyes of the FDA, those seeking to develop
hallucinogens as weapons were somehow more “sensitive to their scientific integrity and
moral and ethical responsibilities” than independent researchers dedicated to exploring
the therapeutic potential of LSD.
The experience from LSD therapy and the new experiential psychotherapies clearly
indicates that exposure to another person’s deep emotional material tends to shatter
psychological defenses and to activate corresponding areas in the unconscious of the
persons assisting and witnessing the process, unless they have confronted and worked
through these levels in themselves.
The image of human nature on which this approach is based is closer to Hindu
philosophy than to Freudian psychoanalysis. Behind the barrier of negative instinctual
forces associated with early biographical traumas, there exist vast transpersonal realms of
the superconscious mind and a system of positive universal values not dissimilar to
Abraham Maslow’s metavalues.
To be able to face all of the challenges of psychedelic therapy, the therapist has to have
special training that involves personal experiences with the drug. Because of the
extraordinary nature of the LSD states and the limitations of our language in describing
them, it is impossible for the future LSD therapist to acquire deeper understanding of the
process without first-hand exposure.
Under the influence of Freudian psychoanalysis, the concept of the ego is associated with
one’s ability to test reality and to function adequately in everyday life. Individuals who
share this limited point of view see the perspective of the ego death with horror.
However, what actually dies in this process is a basically paranoid attitude toward the
When the backlash against psychedelics began, the therapeutic community fell all over
itself in its eagerness to denounce the LSD work as bad science and the researchers who
had been involved in it as charlatans. A curious situation arose whereby those who knew
the most about psychedelics were relegated to the sidelines of the debate, while those
who knew the least were elevated to the status of “expert”.
Within our own consciousness, there is a memory, waiting to be recalled, of every
movement, feeling and desire in our lives. This implies that everything survives in a way
more complete than just intellectually. The psychedelic experience heightens this recall,
and if handled properly, could pass through beneficial channels leading to psychotherapy
I had psychological data, thousands of test scores and numerical indices which
demonstrated with precision why psychotherapy did not work. Each laborious calculation
was proving that psychology was just a mind-game, an eccentric head trip on the part of
the psychologists and that psychotherapy was an arduous, expensive, ineffective,
unimaginative attempt to impose the mind of the doctor on the mind of the patient.
(That’s Timothy Leary.)
The richness of the experiential content is augmented by the fact that the process involves
an endless variety of illustrative material from biology, zoology, anthropology, history,
mythology and religion. Psychedelic sessions focusing on the death-rebirth process not
only have great therapeutic potential, but are a source of invaluable scientific,
sociopolitical, philosophical and spiritual insights. (That material is seen with the eyes
Improvement in therapy involves a basic change in the patient’s core belief system.
It’s therapeutic effects are truly remarkable.
It was extraordinarily therapeutic.
LSD-assisted analysis could deepen, intensify and accelerate the therapeutic process.
LSD can deepen and intensify the therapeutic process.
LSD can provide very therapeutic experiences.
LSD could greatly facilitate the processes of psychotherapy.
LSD in the right hands intensifies, deepens and shortens psychotherapy.
LSD might have undreamed of therapeutic potential.
LSD was a powerful agent in overcoming resistances in psychotherapy.
LSD will intensify, deepen and accelerate the therapeutic process.
Millbrook is really a transcendent therapeutic community.
Music is an essential part of psychedelic therapy.
Ordinary psychotherapy brings out a person’s shortcomings and not his assets.
Psychedelic drug therapy was killed by the law.
Psychotherapy interprets confusion and inefficiency in game-playing as illness.
Religious experience is closely associated with the best therapeutic results.
Such experiences have a great healing potential and therapeutic value.
The mystic experience can be ecstatic, profound, therapeutic.
The secular psychotherapist is often in the role of the blind leading the half-blind.
The transcendent process lies at the core of the therapeutic use of the psychedelics.
There is such a thing as music therapy.
Transpersonal experiences can be of great therapeutic value.
Unlike psychotherapy, psychedelics work.
a new model of the psyche, new understanding of emotional disorders and of the
therapeutic process, new insights into human nature and the nature of reality
an entirely different understanding of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, as well as
the therapeutic process and strategy of self-exploration
acid a boon to psychotherapy, an enlarger of creativity, a religious sacrament and a
liberation of the human spirit
full appreciation of the therapeutic potential of the mystical and religious dimension of
the LSD experience
LSD a very powerful behavior-changing agent with immense potential for therapy if used
many mechanisms of therapeutic change that are entirely new and have not yet been
discovered and acknowledged by traditional psychiatry
powerful corrective emotional experiences on very deep levels that are not easy to reach
by conventional psychotherapy
psychedelic drugs potentially useful for a wide variety of therapeutic, religious, and
psychotherapeutic value in the LSD experience as a new beginning—an existential
encounter of decisive proportions to be followed by a realignment of the perceptual set
the ancient traditions of religious psychedelic use—always one of the places where
spirituality and psychotherapy have converged
the overwhelming beauty, the awe and wonder, the existential challenge, the creative and
the potential of psychedelic therapy in the treatment of various psychiatric problems and
in the training of mental health professionals
the rarely satisfactory imposition of standard therapeutic procedures upon the psychedelic
the value of the drug experience for the purpose of both therapy and personal growth and
“transcendental” experiences—a state beyond conflict—often with rapid and dramatic
a comprehensive theory of LSD therapy based on a new model of the unconscious
a much wider area of potential application of the LSD reaction in the therapeutic field
a remarkable therapeutic potential in wild dancing
a powerful therapeutic tool
a therapeutic tool of remarkable power
an extraordinary therapeutic potential
far beyond the conventional topics of psychotherapy which emphasized biographical data
far transcending the narrow confines of psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy
intense conviction that the experience will be highly meaningful and highly therapeutic
LSD therapy which considerably deepens and intensifies all psychological processes
much more intense, dramatic and powerful than conventional therapy
new therapeutic possibilities and perspectives
offers new therapeutic possibilities undreamed of by traditional psychiatry
psychedelic experience as a unique phenomenon with special therapeutic value
suggests new therapeutic strategy
that an LSD-induced mystical experience might harbor unexplored therapeutic potential
the ability of LSD to deepen, intensify and accelerate the psychotherapeutic process
the extraordinary potential of music for psychotherapy
the importance of religious experience in effective psychotherapy
the life-changing therapeutic effects of the psilocybin experience
the potential therapeutic value of these transformative experiences
the therapeutic and transformative power of nonordinary states of consciousness
the therapeutic potential of experiences of mystical consciousness
the therapeutic potential of psychedelics
the therapeutic potential of the reliving of emotionally relevant episodes from childhood
the therapeutic power (of LSD)
the therapeutic significance of the ego death and rebirth experience
to experience the ecstatic unitive states that have the greatest therapeutic potential