Evaluating The Self-Transcendent Psychedelic Experience as a Catalyst for Positive Self-Change and Collective Well-being
Thesis or dissertation
Date of this Version
The urgent need for innovation in mental health and well-being has ignited renewed focus on psychedelics as tools for enhancing lives. The empirically-demonstrated potential of psychedelics in supportive settings to enable thriving in the face of depression, end-of-life anxiety, and addiction has captured the attention of prominent scientists, physicians, policymakers, innovators, and, increasingly, the general public. Research in psychology and neuroscience suggests positive self-change and enduring psychological well-being is possible through psychedelic-induced, non-ordinary states of consciousness. Psychedelics—and the transformative experiences they can reliably occasion—are shown to enhance satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capabilities, and the sense of meaning across dimensions relevant to positive psychology and human flourishing. This paper introduces positive psychological constructs that psychedelic experiences have the capacity to shift—the sense of self, creativity, outlook on life, prosociality, and others. These potential benefits are evaluated along with risks associated with psychedelic experiences. Personal readiness is emphasized alongside set and setting as critical factors impacting outcomes. Perspective is offered on how positive psychology concepts could support preparation for the psychedelic experience and integration into daily life. Limitations in the current state of the research are discussed and possible directions for future psychological research and psychedelic-assisted therapy are proposed.
psychedelics, psychedelic experience, self-transcendence, positive psychology, well-being, self-change, meaning, mindfulness, creativity, prosociality, psychedelic-assisted therapy, psychedelic integration
Date Posted: 30 March 2022