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Fig 6.20-Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy

Text: Pages 336 and 337

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy emerged in the 1990s as a new generation of researchers and clinicians saw the clinical efficacy with several mental disorders. The term “assisted” is emphasized because the process of psychotherapy is the key factor to the success of a psychedelic experience. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, where the drug is the medication, in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, it is the psychotherapy that is the “medication,” not the psychedelic drug.

Research indicates psychedelic sessions should ideally have two therapists, one male and one female, because a session can last several hours The foundation for an assisted psychedelic psychotherapy session is based on the theory of set and setting developed by Timothy Leary and Al Hubbard, which described the inner and outer environments necessary for a productive psychedelic experience. The set is the psychological mindset and expectations of the client, while the setting is the environment in which the psychedelic experience takes place. Like all psychotherapy settings, the environment needs to feel safe and therapeutic. Unlike most other psychotherapy sessions, clients need a comfortable place to recline and wear a mask while listening to music. The mindset is evaluated prior to a psychedelic session by a face-to-face mental health assessment.

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