The Forgotten Past Inspiring the Future: Revisiting the Potential of Psilocybin Therapy
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In this paper, I explore the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy while working with cancer patients and individuals struggling with treatment-resistant anxiety, depression, and substance use. Current methods of treatment for these populations have had limited success and new research in this area is limited. Psilocybin-assisted therapy is a novel and unique form of treatment that approaches these issues from a new perspective with research-supported efficacy. Individuals who have experienced psilocybin-focused treatment report experiences that are life-changing and persist over long-term follow-ups in the research. Experiences that are reported as mystical-like or spiritual in nature are correlated with more significant improvement in the studies. Psilocybin can act as a brain 'reset' for individuals with rigid thinking, rumination, and those who feel pessimistic that positive change is possible. Psilocybin-assisted therapy could also be used as an alternative to pharmacological treatments based on the evidence of minimal side effects and continued impact months after a single high dose therapeutic session. There is also a movement towards the use of psilocybin in a positive psychology approach to work with individuals in a preventative manner. My research in this area will draw attention to an evidence-supported treatment alternative that needs to be part of the therapeutic conversation. As the knowledge of psilocybin-assisted therapy evolves and moves away from previous stigmatized understandings, therapists and policymakers can now shift towards how it is helpful and an innovative way to work with treatment-resistant individuals that have suffered in silence for too long.