AHP readers will be interested in a new open-access article in Social History of Medicine: “Tune in, Turn on: Religious Music and Spiritual Power in the History of Psychedelic Therapy,” Stephen Lett, Erika Dyck. Abstract:
Psychedelic-assisted therapy has attracted considerable clinical attention in the past decade for its ability to bring therapeutic benefits to patients in treatment-resistant categories. In contradistinction from other psychopharmaco-therapies, contemporary psychedelic therapists, like their predecessors, paid close attention to the ‘set and setting’, and argued that the mind-set of the subject and the conditions or environment of the session was as influential as the pharmacological reaction itself. In this paper, we examine how religious sounds and music were both incorporated into and strategically avoided in the early psychedelic therapeutic sessions in an effort to achieve spiritual epiphanies at peak experiences. Prominent contemporary practices, we conclude, recapitulate many of the practices of the past, relying, we argue, on aesthetic premises that could hinder the therapy’s broader applicability.