Try a new search

Format these results:

Searched for:



Total Results:


"Psychedelic Assisted Therapy" Must Not Be Retired [Letter]

Deckel, Garrett Marie; Lepow, Lauren A; Guss, Jeffrey
PMID: 38161309
ISSN: 1535-7228
CID: 5625882

Commentary: Psychedelics and psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral approaches as default

Burton, John; Ratner, Austin; Cooper, Timothy; Guss, Jeffrey
ISSN: 1664-1078
CID: 5425902

Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in the Context of Serious Illness

Rosa, William E; Sager, Zachary; Miller, Megan; Bernstein, Ilan; Doerner Rinaldi, Alden; Addicott, Katie; Ljuslin, Michael; Adrian, Chris; Back, Anthony L; Beachy, Jamie; Bossis, Anthony P; Breitbart, William S; Cosimano, Mary P; Fischer, Stacy M; Guss, Jeffrey; Knighton, Emma; Phelps, Janis; Richards, Brian D; Richards, William A; Tulsky, James A; Williams, Monnica T; Beaussant, Yvan
Psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) is a burgeoning treatment with growing interest across a variety of settings and disciplines. Empirical evidence supports PAT as a novel therapeutic approach that provides safe and effective treatment for people suffering from a variety of diagnoses, including treatment-resistant depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Within the palliative care (PC) field, one-time PAT dosing may lead to sustained reductions in anxiety, depression, and demoralization-symptoms that diminish the quality of life in both seriously ill patients and those at end of life. Despite a well-noted psychedelic renaissance in scholarship and a renewed public interest in the utilization of these medicines, serious illness-specific content to guide PAT applications in hospice and PC clinical settings has been limited. This article offers 10 evidence-informed tips for PC clinicians synthesized through consultation with interdisciplinary and international leading experts in the field with aims to: (1) familiarize PC clinicians and teams with PAT; (2) identify the unique challenges pertaining to this intervention given the current legalities and logistical barriers; (3) discuss therapeutic competencies and considerations for current and future PAT use in PC; and (4) highlight critical approaches to optimize the safety and potential benefits of PAT among patients with serious illness and their caregivers.
PMID: 35285721
ISSN: 1557-7740
CID: 5183792

A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Psychedelic Experience

Guss, Jeffrey
As interest in psychedelics as treatments for psychological problems grows, it is important for psychoanalysts to learn about them. Our patients will come to us to discuss their psychedelic experiences; additionally, psychedelics deserve reconsideration as meaningful collaborators with our field, at both the theoretical and clinical levels. After a brief history of these agents, the paper engages three specific areas: 1) psychedelics"™ capacity to evoke egolysis, or ego dissolution, and mystical states; 2) their capacity to support hyperassociative states, free association, and emergence of unconscious material, and 3) the role of set and setting in psychedelic therapy. Drawing from the fields of neuropsychoanalysis, phenomenological research and neuroanthropology, the paper offers a discourse that connects mind and brain and psychedelics in ways meaningful for psychoanalysts.
ISSN: 1048-1885
CID: 5370262

Lower-dose psycholytic therapy - A neglected approach

Passie, Torsten; Guss, Jeffrey; Krähenmann, Rainer
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and similar psychoactive drugs have been used in psychotherapy since 1949, when the first clinical study with lower-dose LSD showed therapeutically relevant effects. This caused an intense interest among psychotherapists and researchers, alike, on an international scale. In 1960, the use of serial lower-dose LSD/psilocybin sessions in a psychoanalytical framework, which was dominant at the time, was named "psycholytic therapy". Psycholytic therapy was usually conducted in clinical environments, on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Psycholytic therapy was developed and established over a 15-year period on the European continent, where it was used at 30 clinical treatment centers and by more than 100 outpatient psychotherapists. Psycholytic approaches were employed minimally in North America, where the psychedelic approach (use of one or two high-dose sessions for "personality-transforming mystical experiences") became the dominant method in use. The leading figure in psycholytic therapy was Professor Hanscarl Leuner in Germany, who laid the ground with his uniquely fine grained analysis of the LSD reaction in a 1962 monograph. He was central in establishing and distributing psycholytic therapy in Europe and abroad. The article provides comprehensive background information and outlines the essential features of psycholytic therapy. Evidence for the efficacy of psycholytic therapy is reviewed and a case for the inclusion of the psycholytic approach in the field of substance-assisted psychotherapy is made.
PMID: 36532196
ISSN: 1664-0640
CID: 5394952

Acute and Sustained Reductions in Loss of Meaning and Suicidal Ideation Following Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Psychiatric and Existential Distress in Life-Threatening Cancer

Ross, Stephen; Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle; Lo, Sharon; Zeifman, Richard J; Ghazal, Leila; Benville, Julia; Franco Corso, Silvia; Bjerre Real, Christian; Guss, Jeffrey; Bossis, Anthony; Mennenga, Sarah E
People with advanced cancer are at heightened risk of desire for hastened death (DHD), suicidal ideation (SI), and completed suicide. Loss of Meaning (LoM), a component of demoralization, can be elevated by a cancer diagnosis and predicts DHD and SI in this population. We completed a randomized controlled trial in which psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) produced rapid and sustained improvements in depression, demoralization, and hopelessness in people with cancer. Converging epidemiologic and clinical trial findings suggests a potential antisuicidal effect of this treatment. To probe our hypothesis that PAP relieves SI through its beneficial impacts on depression and demoralization (LoM in particular), we performed secondary analyses assessing within- and between-group differences with regard to LoM and an SI composite score. Among participants with elevated SI at baseline, PAP was associated with within-group reductions in SI that were apparent as early as 8 h and persisted for 6.5 months postdosing. PAP also produced large reductions in LoM from baseline that were apparent 2 weeks after treatment and remained significant and robust at the 6.5 month and 3.2 and 4.5 year follow-ups. Exploratory analyses support our hypothesis and suggest that PAP may be an effective antisuicidal intervention following a cancer diagnosis due to its positive impact on hopelessness and demoralization and its effects on meaning-making in particular. These preliminary results implicate psilocybin treatment as a potentially effective alternative to existing antidepressant medications in patients with cancer that are also suicidal, and warrant further investigation in participants with elevated levels of depression and suicidality.
PMID: 33860185
ISSN: 2575-9108
CID: 4846332

Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for psychiatric and existential distress in patients with life-threatening cancer

Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle I; Malone, Tara; Yalch, Matthew M; Mennenga, Sarah E; Ponté, K Linnae; Guss, Jeffrey; Bossis, Anthony P; Grigsby, Jim; Fischer, Stacy; Ross, Stephen
BACKGROUND/UNASSIGNED:A recently published randomized controlled trial compared single-dose psilocybin with single-dose niacin in conjunction with psychotherapy in participants with cancer-related psychiatric distress. Results suggested that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy facilitated improvements in psychiatric and existential distress, quality of life, and spiritual well-being up to seven weeks prior to the crossover. At the 6.5-month follow-up, after the crossover, 60-80% of participants continued to meet criteria for clinically significant antidepressant or anxiolytic responses. METHODS/UNASSIGNED:The present study is a long-term within-subjects follow-up analysis of self-reported symptomatology involving a subset of participants that completed the parent trial. All 16 participants who were still alive were contacted, and 15 participants agreed to participate at an average of 3.2 and 4.5 years following psilocybin administration. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:Reductions in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, demoralization, and death anxiety were sustained at the first and second follow-ups. Within-group effect sizes were large. At the second (4.5 year) follow-up approximately 60-80% of participants met criteria for clinically significant antidepressant or anxiolytic responses. Participants overwhelmingly (71-100%) attributed positive life changes to the psilocybin-assisted therapy experience and rated it among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives. CONCLUSION/UNASSIGNED:These findings suggest that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy holds promise in promoting long-term relief from cancer-related psychiatric distress. Limited conclusions, however, can be drawn regarding the efficacy of this therapy due to the crossover design of the parent study. Nonetheless, the present study adds to the emerging literature base suggesting that psilocybin-facilitated therapy may enhance the psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being of patients with life-threatening cancer.
PMID: 31916890
ISSN: 1461-7285
CID: 4257552

Psilocybin-assisted therapy of major depressive disorder using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a therapeutic frame

Sloshower, Jordan; Guss, Jeffrey; Krause, Robert; Wallace, Ryan M.; Williams, Monnica T.; Reed, Sara; Skinta, Matthew D.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy is based on the premise that psychedelic substances can act as catalysts or adjuncts to psychotherapeutic processes. Recent clinical trials involving psychedelic-assisted therapy have generally employed a similar three-part structure consisting of preparation, support during the dosing sessions, and subsequent "integration." However, the content of these sessions and the frame through which the therapists approach participants and understand the clinical process has thus far been inconsistent among studies. In designing a manualized therapy protocol for a small clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted therapy for major depressive disorder, our group sought to delineate an explicit and replicable, evidence-based model that intentionally builds upon both the neurobiological actions of the medication and the phenomenology of the drug experience. Having identified considerable concordance in proposed mechanisms of change between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and psilocybin therapy, we employed ACT as an overarching psychotherapeutic framework. We hypothesize that the psilocybin experience can provide direct experiential contact with ACT processes that increase psychological flexibility, and that these deeply felt experiences may in turn be reinforced during ACT-informed follow-up therapy sessions. In this paper, we describe the rationale for selecting ACT, areas of potential synergism between ACT and psilocybin-therapy, the basic structure of our treatment model, and limitations to this approach.
ISSN: 2212-1447
CID: 4219862

Individual Experiences in Four Cancer Patients Following Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy

Malone, Tara C; Mennenga, Sarah E; Guss, Jeffrey; Podrebarac, Samantha K; Owens, Lindsey T; Bossis, Anthony P; Belser, Alexander B; Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle; Bogenschutz, Michael P; Ross, Stephen
A growing body of evidence shows that existential and spiritual well-being in cancer patients is associated with better medical outcomes, improved quality of life, and serves as a buffer against depression, hopelessness, and desire for hastened death. Historical and recent research suggests a role for psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in treating cancer-related anxiety and depression. A double-blind controlled trial was performed, where 29 patients with cancer-related anxiety and depression were randomly assigned to treatment with single-dose psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg) or niacin in conjunction with psychotherapy. Previously published results of this trial demonstrated that, in conjunction with psychotherapy, moderate-dose psilocybin produced rapid, robust, and enduring anxiolytic, and anti-depressant effects. Here, we illustrate unique clinical courses described by four participants using quantitative measures of acute and persisting effects of psilocybin, anxiety, depression, quality of life, and spiritual well-being, as well as qualitative interviews, written narratives, and clinician notes. Although the content of each psilocybin-assisted experience was unique to each participant, several thematic similarities and differences across the various sessions stood out. These four participants' personal narratives extended beyond the cancer diagnosis itself, frequently revolving around themes of self-compassion and love, acceptance of death, and memories of past trauma, though the specific details or narrative content differ substantially. The results presented here demonstrate the personalized nature of the subjective experiences elicited through treatment with psilocybin, particularly with respect to the spiritual and/or psychological needs of each patient.
PMID: 29666578
ISSN: 1663-9812
CID: 3039602

Cancer at the Dinner Table: Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Cancer-Related Distress

Swift, Thomas C; Belser, Alexander B; Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle; Devenot, Nese; Terrana, Sara; Friedman, Harris L; Guss, Jeffrey; Bossis, Anthony P; Ross, Stephen
Recent randomized controlled trials of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for patients with cancer suggest that this treatment results in large-magnitude reductions in anxiety and depression as well as improvements in attitudes toward disease progression and death, quality of life, and spirituality. To better understand these findings, we sought to identify psychological mechanisms of action using qualitative methods to study patient experiences in psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 adult participants with clinically elevated anxiety associated with a cancer diagnosis who received a single dose of psilocybin under close clinical supervision. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, which resulted in 10 themes, focused specifically on cancer, death and dying, and healing narratives. Participants spoke to the anxiety and trauma related to cancer, and perceived lack of available emotional support. Participants described the immersive and distressing effects of the psilocybin session, which led to reconciliations with death, an acknowledgment of cancer's place in life, and emotional uncoupling from cancer. Participants made spiritual or religious interpretations of their experience, and the psilocybin therapy helped facilitate a felt reconnection to life, a reclaiming of presence, and greater confidence in the face of cancer recurrence. Implications for theory and clinical treatment are discussed.
ISSN: 1552-650x
CID: 2676992