Medicinal Poisons: The Role of Psychedelics in Psychotherapy
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Mind-altering substances have been used by humanity since time immemorial to heal psychic wounds, numb pain, and enter altered states of consciousness for purposes of healing and divination. In the Western world some of these substances were highly popular in the 1960’s and the 1970’s in both therapeutic and recreational areas, after which they were generally made illegal. However, the exact nature of these compounds and the extent to which they could be used as adjuncts to therapy remain largely unclear. The present manuscript thesis examines the potential role of psychedelic substances in psychotherapy. Beginning with the history of psychedelics, the second, third, and fourth chapter examine LSD, MDMA and ayahuasca respectively in a four-section format: the individual history of each substance; their effects on the human mind, body, and spirit; their phenomenology or subjective experience; and their current legal or practical statuses. The final chapter summarizes the findings of the essay, to conclude that psychedelics may help to enhance the inherently beneficial effects of therapy, and serve to foster catharsis and a renewed sense of self.
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