Psychedelics & Psychoanalysis | March 2024
March 21, 2024 – June 6, 2024
Jeffrey Guss, MD
This 12-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 road map 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 Long dismissed for outdated, inadequate research methods, these fascinating papers are steeped in the American psychoanalysis of their time, and quite visionary, as well.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.
A limited number of Diversity Fund scholarships are available, please complete this application, in addition to the course application.
My Fluence experience has been nothing short of fabulous. The ability to hyper-learn material with masterful teachers coupled with bright colleagues was simply terrific. I would recommend Fluence classes for any professional wishing to clinically stretch and grow.
The course is not just informative. It is itself mind-expanding, and at times powerfully moving.
Dr. Guss does a masterful job of integrating perspectives from the ancient to the contemporary in this course. From shamanism to neurobiology, he provides a thrilling jaunt through the myriad ways of conceptualizing psychedelics in modern practice. A true tour de force!
I have now booked several courses with fluence and have been very satisfied with all of them. I particularly appreciate the courses with Jeffrey Guss, in which theories from psychoanalysis are related to psychedelics-supported psychotherapy. Jeff is a very skilled, empathetic and experienced teacher.