OPEN Foundation

Jeff Guss – Psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment of existential distress in cancer patients

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Existential distress in reaction to a life-threatening illness is often undertreated and mistreated in western medicine.  A randomized clinical trial of psilocybin assisted therapy for treatment of existential distress in cancer patients was recently completed at NYU School of Medicine with Stephen Ross, MD, Principal Investigator and Drs. Anthony Bossis, PhD and Dr. Guss as Co-Principal Investigators.   The results will be published as “Rapid and Sustained Symptom Reduction following Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Life-Threatening Cancer:  A Randomized Controlled Trial” during 2016. During talk, Dr. Guss will describe the NYU study in detail, including its history, the structure and content of the therapy sessions and our method for training clinicians to work as study therapists.   After presenting outcome data from the study, a short film with participants from the study will be shown.
Biography
Jeffrey Guss, MD is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and researcher with a specializations in psychoanalytic therapy and the treatment of substance used disorders. He is a Co-Principal Investigator, study therapist and the Director of Therapist Training for the NYU School of Medicine’s study on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of existential distress related to cancer diagnosis and treatment, and is a co-author of “Rapid and Sustained Symptom Reduction Following Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Life-Threatening Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial”. He is also a study therapist for NYU School of Medicine’s “Psilocybin Treatment of Alcohol Dependence” RCT study.
Dr Guss is particularly interested in the integration of psychedelic therapies with contemporary models of psychodynamic therapy and exploration of the practice models for future use of psychedelic medicines in clinical practice. He is an Instructor, Mentor and on the Council of Advisors for the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research and on the Advisory Board for the Center for Optimal Living’s Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program. He has published on the topics of gender and sexuality in Studies in Gender and Sexuality and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. Dr. Guss maintains a private practice of psychiatry and psychotherapy in New York City.

Thijs Roes

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