Betty Eisner: Heroine with a Hitch?

AHP readers will be interested in a piece by Tal Davidson on Chacruna on the work of psychologist and LSD researcher Betty Eisner. In “Betty Eisner: Heroine with a Hitch?” Davidson writes,

When psychedelics were banned, Eisner continued to work on cutting edge psychology, including transpersonal psychotherapy, group therapy, and the formation of intentional communities based on psychotherapeutic principles. It’s hard to read Eisner’s biography and not be struck by the life force she poured into the psychedelic revolution and its spillover into the psychotherapeutic counterculture. Or, to say it another way, Betty Eisner was every bit as deserving of glorification as the 1960s’ all-male cast of psychedelic deities, and I expected that promoting her story could help start to rectify the identity-based exclusions that haunted the history of psychedelics.

But there was a hitch. In 1976, a client died in her care, and the circumstances of his death revealed an alternate story about her that was difficult for me to reconcile with the psychedelic champion she had become in my mind….

Read the full piece here.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.