“Trust” In Therapeutic Relationship Key to Moderating Psychedelic Risks

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Psychiatry Advisor reports on King’s College London psychiatrist James Rucker’s campaign for more research into the therapeutic potentials of psychedelic drugs, and on critics who point to the risks of their powerful, mind-altering properties.

“The psychedelics may invoke a temporary state of neural plasticity within the brain, as a result of which the person may experience changes in sensory perception, thought processing and self-awareness,” says Rucker. He tells Psychiatry Advisor that psychedelic drugs can act as a catalyst that stirs up the mind to elicit insights into unwanted cycles of feelings, thoughts and behaviors. “These cycles can then be faced, expressed, explored, interpreted, accepted and finally integrated back into the person’s psyche with the therapist’s help.”

“Several experts in the field of drug misuse have disagreed strongly with Rucker’s proposals in this area, and are quick to refute his findings and recommendations,” continues Psychiatry Advisor. “Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), emphasized the fact that psychedelics can distort a person’s perception of time, motion, colors, sounds and self. ‘These drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior…”

Psychiatry Advisor reports that Rucker believes that “a high level of trust between patient and therapist is essential“ for psychedelic therapy.

Declassifying Psychedelic Drugs to Examine Their Treatment Potential (Psychiatry Advisor, June 29, 2015)

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