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Front Pharmacol. 2018 Feb 21;9:132. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00132. eCollection 2018.

The Psychedelic Debriefing in Alcohol Dependence Treatment: Illustrating Key Change Phenomena through Qualitative Content Analysis of Clinical Sessions.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York University, New York, NY, United States.
2
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.
3
Train for Change, Inc., Phoenix, AZ, United States.

Abstract

Research on the clinical applications of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has demonstrated promising early results for treatment of alcohol dependence. Detailed description of the content and methods of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, as it is conducted in clinical settings, is scarce. Methods: An open-label pilot (proof-of-concept) study of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol dependence (NCT01534494) was conducted to generate data for a phase 2 RCT (NCT02061293) of a similar treatment in a larger population. The present paper presents a qualitative content analysis of the 17 debriefing sessions conducted in the pilot study, which occurred the day after corresponding psilocybin medication sessions. Results: Participants articulated a series of key phenomena related to change in drinking outcomes and acute subjective effects of psilocybin. Discussion: The data illuminate change processes in patients' own words during clinical sessions, shedding light on potential therapeutic mechanisms of change and how participants express effects of psilocybin. This study is unique in analyzing actual clinical sessions, as opposed to interviews of patients conducted separately from treatment.

KEYWORDS:

addiction treatment; alcoholism; ego-dissolution; hallucinogens; motivational interviewing; psilocybin; psychedelic assisted therapy; psychotherapy

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