On Redescribing the Indescribable: Trauma, Psychoanalysis and Psychedelic Therapy

Stubley, Joanne (2023) On Redescribing the Indescribable: Trauma, Psychoanalysis and Psychedelic Therapy. British Journal of Psychotherapy . ISSN Print ISSN: 0265-9883; Online ISSN: 1752-0118

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The psychedelic state can be thought about as an interdependent intrapsychic, somatic, interpersonal and spiritual happening which encourages, perhaps both to the relief and dismay of those participating in the experience, the shocking and impressive emergence of one's unconscious desires and traumata's; a state which may be experienced as cathartic or healing, and as anxiety-provoking and confusing. Often, in clinical trials investigating psychedelics in mental health conditions, these go hand in hand. Amid a renewed, at times hyperbolic, interest in psychedelics as a potential treatment for mental ill health, significant gaps of knowledge remain. Additional studies exploring the impact of the extra-pharmacological factors and adjunct therapeutic models on treatment outcomes are needed. Drawing from psychoanalytic perspectives, this paper explores points of intersectionality between psychedelic therapy under investigation and psychoanalysis in the context of traumatic stress. To that end, the psychedelic state will be considered an attempt to make the unconscious conscious by immersing self in a bewildering waking-dream to better tolerate reality; immersing self in a wilful state of vulnerability, to develop trust in one's agency and capacity to trust others; immersing self in an indescribable experience to learn how to redescribe, to self and to others the traumatic past.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Psychedelic Therapy, Psychedelics, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, PTSD, Trauma
Subjects: Human Psychological Processes > Strange Environment/Situation
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2814

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