LSD psychotherapy: Theoretical implications for the study of psychology
The nature, history, and results of LSD psychotherapy where discussed with a particular emphasis on the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof, M.D. The mechanisms involved in the process of LSD therapy were delineated in the context of recent findings concerning the schizophrenic process and the relationship of the ego to the organism's natural self-healing potential. The model of the unconscious suggested by Grof's LSD research was described in detail and placed in historical perspective. This model portrays the human psyche as a multi-dimensional structure encompassing psychodynamic, perinatal (related to the birth trauma), and transpersonal domains of the unconscious.
The significance of the birth trauma was considered in the context of the history of psychoanalysis from the work of Freud through that of Rank, Ferenczi, Fairbairn, and Reich. The role of the body in psychotherapy, the Oedipus complex, sensory awareness, and their interrelations were explored in the light of the perinatal data from LSD session reports. The nature of the ego death in LSD therapy, its significance as a therapeutic threshold, and its implications for a model of the “ideal” personality structure were delineated. The relevance that Grof's model of the unconscious has for our understanding of religious phenomena, especially Christianity and Eastern mystical traditions, was discussed.
It was concluded that, on the basis of Grof's research, LSD therapy appears to be one of the most powerful psychotherapeutic methods known, as well as an unparalleled tool for the scientific exploration of the human mind.