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Journal Club #19 Psychedelic therapy as immersive reflection: a phenomenological perspective

21/10/21, Online

by Mateo Sanchez Petrement, RMa

1 min

As part of his research into the political potential of psychedelic drugs, this talk focuses on interpreting psychedelic therapy through the conceptual lens of phenomenological psychiatry. Specifically, it describes the therapeutic mechanism of such therapy as a process of “immersive reflection” through which we gain a perspective on ourselves by immersing ourselves in the world, rather than by a distanced detachment. Through this process, it is reality and not merely the self which is transformed, since self and world exist in mutually constitutive, reciprocal relation. This perspective stands against any simple individualisms or dualisms which considers experience as a inner, mental or isolated phenomenon which easily allow the dismissal of psychedelic experience as hallucinations and betray the recurring theme of “connection” and the importance of “set & setting”. By considering psychedelics as truly (yet modestly) reality-transforming, several important questions pertaining to psychedelic research can be answered, including not only “what is the mechanism of action of psychedelic therapy?” but also, “how can psychedelic experiences be said to concern reality and not only the self?“, “why do psychedelics transform reality and not only amplify it?“, and “why do psychedelics have lasting effects beyond their psychoactive duration?”

Speaker bio
Mateo is a graduate of philosophy from the University of Amsterdam where his thesis Re-Politicizing Psychedelics, building on the work of cultural critic Mark Fisher, enquired into how psychedelics could challenge Capitalist Realism and support an Acid Communist project. Following a posthuman phenomenological method able to link critical feminist, psychiatric, environmental and social theories amongst others, his project ranges from historical-discursive analysis of psychedelic cultures to therapeutic concerns and to speculative futures. At the center of his interests thus lie political concerns as seen through the lens of material embodiment and the potentialities and limitations of different forms of experience.

Location: Online (Zoom address communicated via website members area)
Date/Time: Thursday October 21st, 7PM

This is a free event for APRA members.
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