A brave new world for psychology?
That is the title of this special edition. A little cautious perhaps, with the addition of that question mark at the end. Because if it's up to the British psychologists, this new world will surely come about. The following quote is from the article 'How do hallucinogens work in the brain?'
"There is a real sense that we are exploring something destined to become the ‘next big thing’ in psychopharmacology."
What is awareness anyway?
In the opening article professor David Nutt does not try to hide his enthusiasm. According to him a psychedelic trip is one of the most interesting experiences a person can have. An experience that provides us with the opportunity to learn about our awareness. He cites consciousness researcher, psychotherapist and psychiatrist Stanislav Grof.
"Psychedelics, used responsibly and with proper caution, would be for psychiatry what the microscope is for biology or the telescope is for astronomy. These tools make it possible to study important processes that under normal circumstances are not available for direct observation."
This quote dates back to 1975. It's now 2014, almost 40 years have gone by. The Hubble Space Telescope, the Large Hadron Collider – we know so much more about stars and molecules. But our understanding of our awareness hasn't gotten much further.
End of scientific censorship
Due to the repression of psychedelic substances, research into them has practically halted. David Nutt on this:
"To me – and I speak here as a former Chair of the UK government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs – the justification for the banning was a concoction of lies about their health
impacts coupled with a denial of their potential as research tools and treatments."
"The failure of the scientific community, particularly neuroscientists, to protest the denial of research on hallucinogens is one of the most disturbing failures of science leadership in the past century, and it must be rectified."
Statements that we can only endorse.
This edition is available online
This September edition of The Psychologist came out just recently. In total the journal contains six articles, covering subjects like the use in archaic cultures, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), the psychedelic experience as described in literature and therapeutic possibilities. We're going to sit down and take some time for this publication and we'll undoubtedly report back to you. For the curious: all articles are available to read and download (pdf).
Written by: Steek