Insight 20223
August 31 – September 3 in Berlin

Psychedelic Therapy is Psychotherapy — Connecting the Dots Between Two Fields that Belong Together

  • 02/09/2023
  • 17:45 - 18:05
  • Auditorium


In this talk, I make two assumptions based on which I argue that psychedelic therapy is a form of psychotherapy: First, the therapeutic effects of psychedelic therapy are (at least to a substantial degree) mediated by therapeutic experiences. Second, these experiences likely drive the same mechanisms of psychological change that are also active in other forms of psychotherapy. This second assumption is examined using an empirically based conceptualization of “common factors” that was introduced by the influential psychotherapy researcher Klaus Grawe. According to this model, the efficacy of all effective psychotherapies – and by implication also psychedelic therapy – is ultimately mediated by five general change mechanisms (GCMs): (1) resource activation, (2) problem actuation, (3) clarification, (4) mastery and (5) the therapeutic relationship.

Drawing connections between GCMs and various constructs used in current psychedelic research, and using illustrative patient reports from the EPIsoDE trial (testing psilocybin for depression), I aim to clarify the value that researchers and clinicians working with psychedelics can derive from theories established by modern empirical psychotherapy research. I will also outline some of the MIND Foundation’s current efforts to connect the dots between psychotherapy research and psychedelic therapy: theoretical integration, practical implementation in the Augmented Psychotherapy Training (APT), qualitative research, and quantitative research.

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