On 26th November I organised an event at All Saints Church, Hove with the title Psychedelic Healing: the Therapeutic Use of Psychedelic Substances. It was the launch event for the Psychedelic Society of Brighton, which campaigns “to encourage wider public understanding of the benefits and responsible use of psychedelic substances”.
The event was attended by almost 300 people (left) and featured presentations from academics from Bristol, Prague, Canterbury and Sussex. The keynote speech by Ben Sessa is shown below.
The argument for psychedelic healing is being won through good science. It’s expected, for example, that MDMA (the active ingredient in the party drug Ecstasy) will be legal for clinical use in the UK by 2022 at the latest. If you’re interested in why that’s a very good thing, please watch Ben’s talk.
My concern as a therapist is that the best treatments are available. The criminalisation of recreational drugs has led to the banning of substances that have proven therapeutic benefits. To give one example, in a number of studies in the 1960s and early 1970s, LSD was used to support therapy for over 500 alcoholics; 59% of those given LSD improved as compared with 38% of the control group, using standard alcohol abuse measures. That’s a massive positive effect and there is no legal medication that can compare. Just imagine how many lives could be saved if 20% more alcoholics were able to give up drink.
As this table (left), from the Economist, shows, it’s the least harmful and addictive drugs, like mushrooms, LSD and Ecstasy, that have the most potential therapeutic benefits. These are the substances that Imperial College London, Bristol University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US are working to return to clinical use. Psychedelic healing is coming soon.
I am well aware that this is a taboo subject in our society. But as a counsellor I invite my clients to say the unsayable – and so in speaking out despite a taboo I feel I am only being as brave as them.
As a counsellor in the UK I cannot offer psychedelic-assisted therapy or psychedelic healing. However I am willing to work non-judgementally with drug users and those suffering from addiction or the after-effects of drug experiences.