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Therapists report significant psychological risks in psilocybin-assisted treatments

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the potential negative effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy, which has gained increasing interest as a treatment for various psychological disorders. It presents findings from a qualitative study that interviewed therapists who have facilitated psilocybin-assisted treatments, highlighting the short-term and long-term negative impacts they have observed.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Negative Effects of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy

1. What are the short-term negative effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy reported by therapists?

  • Direct negative reactions during psilocybin dosing sessions, including physical symptoms like nausea and headaches, cognitive disturbances such as disorientation and paranoia, and emotional challenges characterized by fear and intense distress
  • Undesirable processes in the therapeutic relationship, such as communication barriers, misunderstandings, and shifts in power dynamics, which can lead to breaches in the therapeutic alliance
  • Difficult self-experiences where clients encounter painful and traumatic realizations about themselves, which can be overwhelming in the short term

2. What are the long-term negative effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy reported by therapists?

  • Destabilization, with clients experiencing ongoing cognitive and emotional instability, a prolonged sense of confusion, changes in personal identity, and altered life perspectives
  • Adaptation difficulties, where clients struggle to integrate the insights gained during therapy into their lives, leading to prolonged periods of adjustment and dissatisfaction
  • Complications in the treatment relationship, such as emotional dependencies, continued attachments, and even romantic feelings towards the therapist
  • Undesirable outcomes, including the emergence or worsening of psychological symptoms like existential anxiety, depressive states, sleep difficulties, and a persistent sense of disillusionment

[02] Limitations and Future Research

1. What are the limitations of the study mentioned in the article?

  • The study focused on the treatment provider perspective and did not include interviews with clients who have received psilocybin-assisted therapy.

2. What are the recommendations for future research?

  • Incorporate the perspectives of clients who have undergone psilocybin-assisted therapy to provide a more balanced view of the risks.
  • Explore the mechanisms behind the negative effects observed and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.
  • Encourage researchers and clinicians to consider potential adverse effects more thoroughly before adopting psilocybin-assisted therapy as a treatment.
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