In the context of the renaissance of psychedelic research we are currently facing a paradigm shift in the understanding of consciousness and psychotherapeutic transformation. As Freuds dream theory deepened the psychoanalytic understanding of the unconscious, psychoactive compounds could nowadays serve as promising epistemological tools for the scientific exploration of the human mind.

In particular, advanced neuroimaging technologies provide exciting novel insights into the brain dynamics underlying pharmacologically induced altered states of consciousness. Apart from widespread recreational use, numerous experimental therapy approaches were documented for LSD, MDMA, psilocybin, ayahuasca and other substances. Beyond that, psychedelics also raise profound philosophical and existential questions about the nature of subjective experience and the creation of meaning in the universe.

This transdisciplinary seminar brings together experts from different fields such as neuroscience, psychology & psychotherapy, philosophy and consciousness research to advance the critical dialogue about recent developments and future directions in psychedelic research. Public lectures by invited speakers will be complemented by plenary discussions.

This seminar is hosted in collaboration with Studentisches Forum für Psychoanalyse an der UZH.

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Bridging Ayahuasca and Psychotherapy - A new model for psychotherapeutic integration in the 21st century

Monday, May 7, 18:15 - 19:45, University of Zurich, KOL-F-118

Richard Furr

Ayahuasca is quickly becoming a global phenomenon. This is due in large to widespread reports of positive impact on participant's lives. However, coincidingly, it is becoming increasingly common for some participants to report psychologically harmful effects. Evidence of novel forms of Ayahuasca associated neurosis and psychopathology is emerging at an increasing frequency. Intercultural tensions arising from ethnocentrism are occurring, and many competitive and contradictory belief systems are circulating. The limitations of these traditional belief systems are becoming more apparent, and there is an increasing demand for an effective therapeutic model that transcends, and includes, the positive aspects of the traditional models used by indigenous cultures. This talk will explore the limits of native ritual models when seen in a global context. Utilizing elements from various fields (transpersonal psychology, developmental psychology, perinatal psychology, integral theory, systems theory, traumatology, and neurobiology), a new framework is presented to help assist facilitators, clinicians, as well as participants, understand the mechanisms fundamental to effective use and healthy integration of the Ayahuasca experience in the 21st century.