OPEN Foundation

A. Forcehimes

The Psychedelic Debriefing in Alcohol Dependence Treatment: Illustrating Key Change Phenomena through Qualitative Content Analysis of Clinical Sessions

Abstract

Research on the clinical applications of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has demonstrated promising early results for treatment of alcohol dependence. Detailed description of the content and methods of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, as it is conducted in clinical settings, is scarce.

Methods: An open-label pilot (proof-of-concept) study of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol dependence (NCT01534494) was conducted to generate data for a phase 2 RCT (NCT02061293) of a similar treatment in a larger population. The present paper presents a qualitative content analysis of the 17 debriefing sessions conducted in the pilot study, which occurred the day after corresponding psilocybin medication sessions.

Results: Participants articulated a series of key phenomena related to change in drinking outcomes and acute subjective effects of psilocybin.

Discussion: The data illuminate change processes in patients’ own words during clinical sessions, shedding light on potential therapeutic mechanisms of change and how participants express effects of psilocybin. This study is unique in analyzing actual clinical sessions, as opposed to interviews of patients conducted separately from treatment.

Nielson, E. M., May, D. G., Forcehimes, A. A., & Bogenschutz, M. P. (2018). The Psychedelic Debriefing in Alcohol Dependence Treatment: Illustrating Key Change Phenomena through Qualitative Content Analysis of Clinical Sessions. Frontiers in Pharmacology9, 132. 10.3389/fphar.2018.00132
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Development of a Psychotherapeutic Model for Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcoholism

Abstract

Research activity on the potential clinical value of classic hallucinogens and other psychedelics has increased markedly in the past two decades, and promises to continue to expand. Experimental study of hallucinogen-assisted treatment, and any future clinical use, requires the development of psychotherapeutic models that are appropriate to the disorder being treated and effectively integrated with the pharmacologic component of the treatment. To provide a framework for thinking about possible treatment models, we provide an overview of the history of psychedelic-assisted treatment, review what is known about the therapeutic mechanisms of these treatments, and consider the various purposes of psychotherapy in the context of both research and clinical use of psychedelic-assisted treatment. We then provide a description of a therapy model we have developed and are currently using in a trial of psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcoholism. Finally, we discuss advantages and disadvantages of a range of alternative models, emphasizing the need for research to determine the most effective treatment models for any indications for which efficacy becomes established.

Bogenschutz, M. P., & Forcehimes, A. A. (2016). Development of a Psychotherapeutic Model for Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcoholism. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 0022167816673493.
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Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study

Abstract

Several lines of evidence suggest that classic (5HT2A agonist) hallucinogens have clinically relevant effects in alcohol and drug addiction. Although recent studies have investigated the effects of psilocybin in various populations, there have been no studies on the efficacy of psilocybin for alcohol dependence. We conducted a single-group proof-of-concept study to quantify acute effects of psilocybin in alcohol-dependent participants and to provide preliminary outcome and safety data. Ten volunteers with DSM-IV alcohol dependence received orally administered psilocybin in one or two supervised sessions in addition to Motivational Enhancement Therapy and therapy sessions devoted to preparation for and debriefing from the psilocybin sessions. Participants’ responses to psilocybin were qualitatively similar to those described in other populations. Abstinence did not increase significantly in the first 4 weeks of treatment (when participants had not yet received psilocybin), but increased significantly following psilocybin administration (p < 0.05). Gains were largely maintained at follow-up to 36 weeks. The intensity of effects in the first psilocybin session (at week 4) strongly predicted change in drinking during weeks 5–8 (r = 0.76 to r = 0.89) and also predicted decreases in craving and increases in abstinence self-efficacy during week 5. There were no significant treatment-related adverse events. These preliminary findings provide a strong rationale for controlled trials with larger samples to investigate efficacy and mechanisms.

Bogenschutz, M. P., Forcehimes, A. A, Pommy, J. A., Wilcox, C. E., Barbosa, P. C. R., & Strassman, R. J. (2015). Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study. Journal of Psychopharmacology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881114565144

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22 May - Delivering Effective Psychedelic Clinical Trials

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