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Psilocybin and Mystical Experience Research: Implications for Palliative Care and Religious Studies with Anthony Bossis
October 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This lecture will review FDA and DEA approved clinical trials of psilocybin research being conducted at NYU School of Medicine. The recently completed Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Project explores the potential benefits that a psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience may provide in helping individuals cultivate meaning, enhance spiritual well-being, and experience a greater acceptance of the dying process with less anxiety.
Psycho-spiritual and existential distress is often an integral component of end-of-life suffering. Many individuals diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer experience hopelessness, but for some, a cancer diagnosis can initiate a search for meaning. Subjective features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, and a greater connection to deeply felt positive emotions including that of love. The psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience offers a novel therapeutic approach to promote meaning and openness to the mystery of death.
This presentation will include clinical vignettes from the NYU research. The Psilocybin for Religious Leaders Study is examining the utility of a psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience with religious professionals. This study enlists their assistance in describing these states of mystical consciousness and evaluates the effect on their work as clergy and in their spiritual practice. The study also potentially seeks to better identify the common ground of religions.