Tag Archives | Therapy

Supper with the Psychedelic Society

Psychedelic 070707
Damien Gayle via The Guardian:

Amid an abundance of food and drink, flickering candles and a heady air of altered states,100 or so people in north London’s New Unity church watched John, a mop-haired Irishman in his late 20s, tell the story of how he learned to love through therapy, poetry and ayahuasca.

“I arrived at Cuzco and, sure God, how do you find an ayahuasca ceremony?” he said from a stage adorned with a creeping, twisting vine of fairy lights. “Well you Google it obviously, and you go on to TripAdvisor.” That bizarre mix of the hi-tech and the traditional, the western world and the south, sums up thePsychedelic Society, which held its first “psychedelic supper” on Sunday.

The event – a bring-and-share meal with speakers – comes amid a renaissance in the use of psychedelics. In two years, the number of young people reporting using LSD has almost tripled; the number reporting use of psychedelic drugs more broadly is up 88%.

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Mental health care access for teens improving, but less for communities with disparities


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University of Michigan Health System via EurekAlert:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Teens in the U.S. have more availability of mental health care than they did two years ago, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan National Voices Project, but access is not equal in all communities.

The University of Michigan National Voices Project was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to facilitate a five year study to gauge opportunities for children and teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. The National Voices Project surveys over 2,000 adults across the U.S. who work and/or volunteer on behalf of children and teens.

In a 2014 National Voices Project survey, 40 percent of adults said teens in their communities had lots of availability for mental health care. In a 2012 survey, only 30 percent of adults reported lots of availability. In comparison, 59 percent of adults in 2014 said that teens had lots of availability for primary care.

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Anger Management Failures: Problem Anger vs. Ordinary Anger

Tommaso Meli (CC BY 2.0)

Tommaso Meli (CC BY 2.0)

The problem anger formula: Anger (frustration, irritability, attitude, etc.)  + Lowered self-value + Blame.

Steven Stosny writes at Psychology Today:

Angermanagement works fine for managing ordinary anger, but it’s not so successful when it comes to the self-defeating behaviors of problem anger.

Ordinary anger arises from impediments to:

  • Task performance (The screw repeatedly drops out of the picture hanger before you can tighten it.)
  • Interest or relaxation (Someone is talking while you’re trying to read or a lawn mower wakes you up too early.)
  • Enjoyment (Someone is reading when you would like to talk.)
  • Status maintenance (You feel insulted.)
  • Territorial integrity (Someone takes something from you or violates a boundary.)
  • Protection (of valued others or valued objects).

In contrast, problem anger makes you act against your long term best interest or keeps you from acting in your long term best interest.

Examples of the former: You bang the picture with the screw driver or shout at the talker to shut up and thereby make it harder to concentrate on reading, or you make someone irritable by interrupting, which lowers the likelihood that you will enjoy your talk or, when insulted you insult back, i.e., react to a jerk like a jerk, or you devalue the people you most value.

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DEA approves study using MDMA for anxiety in seriously ill patients

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Amid growing support for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, the DEA has approved a clinical trial that uses MDMA to treat anxiety.

Renee Lewis has the story at Al Jazeera:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the first clinical trial using MDMA along with psychotherapy to treat anxiety among people with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, adding that public support for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is rapidly growing.

“The tide has changed for psychedelic research,” said Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit research group that studies medicinal uses for psychedelics and marijuana and is sponsoring the study. The DEA approved the project on Friday, he said.

Unlike Ecstasy or Molly — names for MDMA sold on the street and often mixed with dangerous adulterants — pure MDMA has been proved “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses, MAPS says on its website.

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Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal

Shroder_Tom_AcidTest_cover_expandedAttitudes towards the healing powers of psychedelics seem to be changing, says Tom Shroder, the author of a new book on the subject. And, according to some researchers, their incredible efficacy is due to their ability to unleash the mind’s own “innate healing intelligence”.

The award winning journalist and ex-editor of The Washington Post Magazine spoke to The Eternities podcast about his latest work, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal, which looks at the history of psychedelic therapy from the fifties to the present day.

He said, “Our system, as biased as it might have been against psychedelics, certainly was based on [a] belief that science could prove something, and science [has been] proving the efficacy of these drugs … in clinical conditions. They’re plenty safe enough. In fact, they’re much safer than most other drugs used in psychiatry. So, you can’t argue with the science.”

One of the three main figures in the book is Dr Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist at the forefront of psychedelic therapy research.… Read the rest

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Study shows the therapeutic benefits of Magic Mushrooms


Fruit bodies of the hallucinogenic mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr.) Kumm. Specimens photographed in Sweden. By Arp via Wikimedia Commons.

Color me unsurprised.

via News.Mic:

The research: One study concluded that controlled exposure to psilocybin could have long-lasting medical and spiritual benefits. In 2011, Johns Hopkins researchers found that by giving volunteer test subjects just the right dose (not enough to give them a terrifying bad trip), they were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers. This provoked long-lasting psychological growth and helped the volunteers to find peace in their lives, all without side effects. Nearly all of the 18 test subjects, average age 46, were college graduates. Seventy-eight percent were religious and all were interested in finding a scientific experience.

Fourteen months later, 94% said their trip on magic mushrooms was one of the five most important moments of their lives. Thirty-nine percent said it was the most important thing that had ever happened to them.

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A History of Fecal Therapy

PIC: Cjc2nd (CC)

PIC: Cjc2nd (CC)

Alternative title: Eat Shit and LIVE.

The next big thing?  Someone should probably set up some kind of formal system for measuring doses of… Oh, they did? Huh. There’s video, apparently.

POO IS A DECIDEDLY IMPERFECT delivery vehicle for a medical therapy. It’s messy. It stinks. It’s inconsistent, not to mention a regulatory nightmare. But it can be incredibly potent. A classic study of nine healthy British volunteers found that bacteria accounted for more than half of the mass of their fecal solids. That astonishing concentration of microorganisms, both living and dead, makes sense when you consider that the microbial colonists inhabiting our gastrointestinal tract outnumber our own cells roughly three to one, on recent estimates.

In the ideal conditions of the human gut, a thriving ecosystem of 1,000 or more bacterial species that rivals the complexity of a rainforest has co-evolved with us. This microscopic jungle is constantly adapting in response to our diet, antibiotic use and other environmental influences.

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Kenneth Smith: Self-Knowing

KenIn my archives, I have a large amount of terrific Kenneth Smith emails. This one is an exhilarating journey through the psycho-therapeutic idea of “knowing yourself.” (Smith’s paragraphs are in maroon.)

From: Kenneth R. Smith <kensmith@——.net>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 15:34:40 -0500
To: cbelan <c——@——.com>
Subject: Re: kernel of thought

on 1/6/05 11:54 PM, c—— at c——@——.com wrote:

Hi Kenneth:

Okay, there is a small rumbling deep in the dark recesses of my mind.   I’ll toss it and trust you to run with it.

Rumblings do set me to running.  Never mind to where or with what.  If it’s not an earthquake then it’s something visceral.

After years of therapy I thought that the goal in knowing oneself well was to apply that knowledge and awareness to a range of life experiences.   But looking back at my life I wonder if there are parts of it (namely that faith issue combined with work life) that one should just barrel through in trust of their principals and not analyze or try to make it match that “logic” side of me.

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Don’t Trust Your Feelings: Somatics and the Pre/Trans Fallacy


A great article applying the pre/trans fallacy to somatics and body-work. Steve Bearman brings some much-needed balance to the alternative healing field.

via Interchange Counseling:

It’s easy for counselors, and the people we counsel, to get stuck in our heads. Counseling as we know it originated as “the talking cure”. Over the generations, counselors have discovered how to use dialogue as a powerful medium for facilitating change in our clients. Even at its best, however, conversation can only get us so far. We are more than mere talking heads.

In a tradition that has long been top-heavy, the growing prevalence of somatics has brought counseling back into balance, adding much-needed weight to the body’s role in healing and growth. “Soma” is the body, and body-oriented work takes us places talking never can, but just like mind-oriented work, it has significant limitations.

For those of us in the world of counseling who strive to live fully embodied lives, somatics has seemed like such a godsend that we can fail to recognize its limits.

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Ten Obstacles to Sane Spirituality

EctoplasmicSnotJulian Walker wrote this excellent overview of New Age flakiness, and gives some corrective measures.

via Elephant Journal:

I am passionate about the relationships between three things:

> inquiry-based practices (yoga, meditation, bodywork and ecstatic dance happen to be my favorites)

> critical thinking (also called “viveka” in yogic parlance, or discriminating wisdom)

> and shadow work (after Jung – the psychological idea that we have a “shadow” that is where we hide the emotions, experiences, thoughts and aspects of self that we would rather not face. Shadow work then is the process of courageously turning inward to bring honest awareness and compassionate attention to this place.)

Having been a yoga teacher for the last 18 years, and having spent my adult life swimming in the waters of popular spirituality, my sense is that more often than not these three elements are missing both in theory and practice. My sense is that this comes down to one revelatory observation.

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