The Nature of Ayahuasca

Ayahausca is a traditional plant medicine from the Amazon used to treat a variety of physical and psychology illnesses and conditions. This documentary explores the use of the Ayahausca as a holistic medicine, challenging stigmas around its use and helping people become more conscious and ethical consumers of the plant if that’s the path they choose.

The early use of MDMA (‘Ecstasy’) in psychotherapy (1977–1985)

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ecstasy, was first synthesized in 1912 but first reached widespread popularity as a legal alternative after the much sought-after recreational drug 3,4-methylenedioxy-amphetamine (MDA) was made illegal in 1970. Because of its benign, feeling-enhancing, and nonhallucinatory properties, MDMA was used by a few dozen psychotherapists in the United States between 1977 and 1985, when it was still legal. This article looks into the contexts and practices of its psychotherapeutic use during these years. Some of the guidelines, recommendations, and precautions developed then are similar to those that apply to psychedelic drugs, but others are specific for MDMA. It is evident from this review that the therapists pioneering the use of MDMA were able to develop techniques (and indications/counterindications) for individual and group therapy that laid the groundwork for the use of MDMA in later scientific studies. In retrospect, it appears that the perceived beneficial effects of MDMA supported a revival of psycholytic/psychedelic therapy on an international scale.

Why MDMA therapy for alcohol use disorder? And why now?

Alcohol use disorder represents a serious clinical, social and personal burden on its sufferers and a significant financial strain on society. Current treatments, both psychological and pharmacological are poor, with high rates of relapse after medical detoxification and dedicated treatment programs. The earliest historical roots of psychedelic drug-assisted psychotherapy in the 1950s were associated with Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy to treat what was then called, alcoholism. But results were varied and psychedelic therapy with LSD and other ‘classical’ psychedelics fell out of favour in the wake of socio-political pressures and cultural changes. A current revisiting of psychedelic clinical research is now targeting substance use disorders – and particularly alcohol use disorder – again. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy has never been formally explored as a treatment for any form of substance use disorder. But in recent years MDMA has risen in prominence as an agent to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With its unique receptor profile and a relatively well-tolerated subjective experience of drug effects when used clinically, MDMA Therapy is ideally suited to allow a patient to explore and address painful memories without being overwhelmed by negative affect. Given that alcohol use disorder is so often associated with early traumatic experiences, the author is proposing in a current on-going UK-based study that patients with alcohol use disorder who have undergone a medical detoxification from alcohol might benefit from a course of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Psychedelics: New Doors, Altered Perceptions’.

From Shock to Awe

From Shock to Awe asks, ‘how do we heal our deepest wounds?’ An intimate and raw look at the transformational journey of two combat veterans suffering from severe trauma as they abandon pharmaceuticals to seek relief through the mind-expanding world of psychedelics. Recent scientific research coupled with a psychedelic renaissance reveals that these substances can be used to heal PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) for individuals and their families. Beyond the personal stories, From Shock to Awe also raises fundamental questions about war, the pharmaceutical industry, and the US legal system.

WVC 2019 – Ann Shulgin

Watch the legendary author and psychedelic therapist Ann Shulgin speak about “The Shadow” at the 2019 Women’s Visionary Congress in Oakland, California.

For decades, Ann worked as a lay therapist with psychedelic substances such as MDMA and 2C-B in therapeutic settings while these drugs were still legal. In her writings she stresses the potential of these drugs from a Jungian psychoanalytic perspective, as well as their use in combination with hypnotherapy. Together with her late husband, the famous chemist Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, Ann authored the iconic books PiHKAL and TiHKAL, which tell the story of the original synthesis and first therapeutic uses of hundreds of psychedelic substances.

Sober sitter or coconsumer? Psychedelics, online forums and preferences for interpersonal interactions

Contemporary clinical research into the psychotherapeutic administration of psychedelics has primarily emphasized the importance of therapeutic interpersonal interactions to assist clients prepare for and integrate the acute effects of psychedelics. Alternative therapeutic frameworks have encouraged active talk therapy between therapists and clients during the administration phase. We used data gathered from forums to investigate consumer preferences concerning interpersonal interactions during their psychedelic-occasioned experience. Google was used to locate relevant posts on the psychedelic forums The Shroomery and The DMT Nexus. We analyzed these posts using thematic analysis, in which two researchers independently categorized posts in accordance with emergent themes. These themes were then refined through iterative reflexivity. We then identified four themes pertaining to psychedelic consumer interpersonal interaction preferences: nonintrusive; boundary setting; help; and sober sitter or coconsumer. Further analysis revealed parallels between consumer preferences and clinical guidelines for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, including the emphasis of carer acceptance; minimal involvement; nondirection; hazard management and emotional stability. However, there was also disparity between consumer preferences and guidelines, specifically concerning desires for consumer agency; for psychedelic consumption alongside other consumers, and for carers who had consumed psychedelics themselves. These findings have clinical implications and thus may aid the development of future guidelines.

Psychedelic Induced Transpersonal Experiences, Therapies, and Their Implications for Transpersonal Psychology

This chapter presents a neurophenomenological model of psychedelic-induced transpersonal experiences, therapeutic processes that they induce, and their implications for transpersonal theory. The pharmacological effects of psychedelics also enable them to address a range of psychological and emotional maladies. In addition to indigenous and shamanic approaches, there are four main types of psychedelic sessions: psycholytic and psychedelic—which developed from Grof’s work—entactogenic, and pharmacological. While it is safe to say that transpersonal psychology could exist without psychedelics, it may be just as safe to say that transpersonal psychology would not exist without psychedelics. The chapter concludes with a brief overview of the multidisciplinary implications of psychedelics for the sciences and society.

Stan Grof, Lessons from ~4,500 LSD Sessions and Beyond

“I realized people were not having LSD experiences; they were having experiences of themselves. But they were coming from depths that psychoanalysis didn’t know anything about.” — Stanislav Grof

Stanislav Grof, M.D., ( is a psychiatrist with more than 60 years of experience in research of “holotropic” states of consciousness, a large and important subgroup of non-ordinary states that have healing, transformative, and evolutionary potential.

In this wide-ranging interview, we cover many topics, including: Some of his main takeaways after supervising or guiding ~4,500 LSD sessions; The place and role of “wounded healers”; Limitations and uses of traditional psychoanalysis and talk therapy; Holotropic breathwork and some similarities to MDMA; Stories of odd synchronicities and the seemingly impossible; Stan’s strangest personal experiences on psychedelics; What Stan believes humanity most needs to overcome: division and destruction