Considerable advances in research were made since the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first introduced into DSM in 1980. These advances in knowledge have deepened the insight into the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma–related disorders. In addition to this progress, fortunately, the existence of complex forms of PTSD, especially in the field of family violence and neglect, has recently been acknowledged in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. Unfortunately, despite billions of euros spent in neurobiological research in order to find new treatment strategies, no pharmacological therapy was found so far that would reliably diminish the burden of these disorders. This lack of pharmacological treatment options for PTSD is probably one of the reasons having contributed to the “psychedelic renaissance” in clinical research and practice.
This talk will give an overview over the specific alterations within brain functioning and attachment patterns that contribute to the chronic course of trauma related disorders. A special focus will be put on the phenomena of traumatic dissociation, which can be found in both the individual and the society. The psychedelic experience appears to be a tool of developing “co-consciousness”, which is a first important step to achieve realization of “what is”. Once realization achieved, the individual experience can be integrated into a holistic view, which is mandatory to overcome trauma. However, integration is a never-ending dynamic process that takes place in the individual and collective consciousness. Therefore, efforts to improve prevention and treatment of trauma-related disorders can only be undertaken within this interplay between the individual and the societal experience.