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Psychedelics and Psychoanalysis | Online

A 12-week reading and study group. Starting February 9, 2021

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Event details

Psychedelics and Psychoanalysis

Winter 2021

Faculty: Jeffrey Guss, MD

Dates/Times: Tuesdays, 12-1:30 PM Eastern Time (EST through March 13th, EDT starting March 14th)

Group meeting dates: 2/9, 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30, 4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 4/27




$1,200 for 12-sessions

Optional CE certificate for $65

To obtain your certificate, the CE form must be filled out within 14 days of class completion.

The upcoming course is full. Please click here to see other courses.

Certificate Program

This course can be taken in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychedelic Integration Therapy or the Postgraduate Certificate in Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy.

This reading and study group will meet weekly for 12 weeks, and maintain the same membership for the 12 week period. The group will have a syllabus with papers or chapters that participants are expected to read. The format will include a short review of a selected paper by the group leader, followed by discussion of the content and related matters. This group will not be a forum for case presentations or extended sharing, either personal or clinical. The group is open to all, but will assume that members are interested in studying the academic literature on psychedelics from the psychoanalytic perspective. We are asking Reading Group members to commit to the full 12-week series upon registration.

Course Description

This12-week course uses contemporary and historical sources to teach the numerous ways psychoanalysis and psychedelics have been, and are, involved with one another.  We hope, also, to sketch out a roamap deepening this important affiliation. This course is for more advanced students who possess basic clinical and theoretical knowledge of psychoanalysis, as well as having basic information regarding psychedelic therapy.  

We will begin with a close reading of an analyst’s overview of psychedelic therapy, including relevant neuropsychoanalytic writing.  Throughout, we will offer historic (1950s-70s) papers about psychoanalytic treatment, both research and clinical work utilizing LSD and other medicines.  Long dismissed for outdated, inadequate research methods, these fascinating papers are steeped in the American psychoanalysis of their time, and quite visionary, as well.

Areas we will cover during the course include: 1) ego dissolution, ego death and egolytic processes; 2)primary consciousness, minimal self, numinous states and experiences of unity3) reductions in “defensiveness” and the shift toward connection and unity; 4)Narrative self, minimal self; 5) Psychedelic work from a Jungian perspective;  6) judicious forays into neuroscience to describe physiological embodiment, “hyper associative” states and the unconstrained mind; 7) psychoanalysis, itself, as an alternative state of consciousness; 8) aNative American peyote ceremony described from a social constructivist perspective and a psychoanalytic one; 9) race and psychedelic consciousness 10) a look forward to the 21st theories of psychedelic action.

The class will have psychoanalysis as its central discourse; it will address, as well, phenomenology of self, narrative, identity, unity and a bit of relevant science of neuroplasticity.  We will learn from our analytic ancestors, highlighting Betty Eisner, PhD; diverse contemporary theorists and clinicians are represented

There will be 3 categories of reading:  Assigned, Supplemental and Curiosity.  Each week will have no more than 35-40 pages of Assigned Material.   As mentioned, neither the basics of psychedelics nor psychoanalysis will be taught in this class, they are a prerequisite for it.  However, it is not necessary to be a psychoanalyst to take this course. Anyone interested is welcome.  

It is our hope the classes will invite imagination as well as educate, creating a 21st Century vision of what psychedelics and psychoanalysis have do with each other, and how. An intention for the class is to create community, stimulate discussion and evoke curiosity about the world outside our familiar narratives.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to…

  • Utilize familiar psychoanalytic concepts to understand the changes in consciousness that can occur during psychedelic states
  • Discuss ego death and ego dissolution as central phenomena in the process of psychedelic therapy and how this relates to change processes in psychoanalysis
  • Compare the applications of psychedelic treatment in mid 20th Century psychoanalytic work to current applications that are emerging
  • Describe in detail the differences between psychedelic therapy and psycholytic therapy
  • Critique the contributions of mid-20th century psychoanalysts to psychedelic scholarship, especially the work of Betty Eisner, PhD
  • Utilize basic information from the field of neuropsychoanalysis to understand changes in narrative identity that occur both in psychoanalysis and psychedelic therapy
  • Critique the concept of “reduction in psychological defensiveness” as an effect of psychedelic treatment
  • Explain the components of the mystical state in the language of psychoanalysis, and integrate this knowledge with approaches to clinical treatment
  • Discuss the contributions that Jungian psychoanalysts have brought to the field of psychedelic therapy
  • Describe the phenomena of “hyperassociative” or “unconstrained” mind and relate this understanding to psychoanalytic change mechanisms
  • Describe the altered states of consciousness that emerge in psychoanalysis, itself, and critique how this is similar/different from psychedelic states of consciousness
  • Compare the behavioral therapy model of “psychological flexibility” to the methods and goals of psychoanalysis
  • Describe contemporary unifying theories of psychedelic action using 21st-century models of predictive processing, integrated information theory, and Carhart-Harris’ REBUS model
  • Explain how psychoanalysis, both as a method and a theory, offers a particularly valuable conceptualization of “set and setting” and bring this knowledge to the field of psychedelic therapy

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals

CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

LCSWs, MFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.

For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Elizabeth Nielson, For questions about CE, visit or contact David Lukoff, PhD at