Transformational Psychotherapy: Converging roles of mindfulness and psychedelics for mental health care | Charvátova 39 | Prague, Czech Republic.
Wednesday May 31st, 2017, 19:00 - 21:30

SAPAS Conference | Psychiatrická nemocnica Philippa Pinela | Pezinok, Slovakia.
Friday June 2nd, 2017, 08:30 - 20:00 |

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, psychedelics could nowadays serve as the via regia 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. Beyond that, psychedelics also raise profound philosophical and existential questions about the nature of subjective experience and the creation of meaning in the universe.

In my talk, I will give an overview about how the subjective and clinical effects of psychedelics such as ketamine, psilocybin and ayahuasca can be explained from the perspective of contemporary neuroscience. Next, I will discuss the potential of psychedelics to shift the paradigm from substitution to transformation-based psychotherapy. As both rapid-acting and sustainable catalysts, psychedelics offer new avenues for therapeutic transformation by targeting various levels of disconnection in modern societies and restoring the sense of connectedness to ourselves and our environment.

Finally, under supportive conditions, psychedelics can induce personally meaningful and profound mystical-type experiences that share a striking resemblance to states reached in very deep meditation. Indeed, our recent studies show that psilocybin has the potential to facilitate mindfulness in experienced meditators in a meditation retreat setting. This underscores the converging roles of psychedelics and mindfulness for integrative transformational healthcare.