Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Full Review
book cover
LSD: The Highway to Mental Health
by Milan Hausner with Erna Segal
ASC Books 
Book Reviews
Reviewed by Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D., 12/21/2009

There was a big gap in my knowledge about psychedelic psychotherapy that I didn’t even know existed until I ran across Hausner’s LSD: The Highway to Mental Health. I had hardly considered: What happened to LSD psychotherapy in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) after Stan Grof came to the United States? Grof wasn’t the only researcher from there. What about the others? Highway helps fill in that gap.

The book describes the work of Dr. Milan Hausner at his clinic in Sadská, near Prague, where as Medical Director of the psychiatric clinic he supervised over 3,000 therapeutic LSD sessions from 1954 to 1980. As Grof says on a back cover blurb, “He has amassed information that is invaluable for the theory and practice of psychotherapy.”

Hausner attributes emotional disorders to the patients’ lack of understanding of hidden thought processes which occur from a combination of dysfunctional social learning processes and faulty parenting. His method of bringing these thought processes to consciousness is a system he calls Pathogenic Confrontation Model within a system of Multigroup Community Therapy. In order to reset patients’ irrational attachments to faulty ideas and emotions, psychotherapy confronts patients’ own past illness-producing experiences and replaces their dysfunctional reactions during the more congenial atmosphere of the therapeutic relationship between patient and therapist.

This is therapy in the psycholytic style, with many small to medium dose sessions, rather than the unitive consciousness, mystical experience approach. In his clinic, “dosages of LSD ranging from 50 to 400 [micrograms] were administered in up to 60, sometimes 90, sessions on an inpatient—and weekend—basis in conjunction with psychotherapy.” While 400 micrograms is far above the usual psycholytic dose, apparently such doses were the exception.

Part of the unlearning of faulty patterns of behavior took place in Multigroup Community Therapy. Patients and staff held daily meetings and the patients took a role in running the hospital. This social learning process helped patients build reality-based interpersonal skills and practice them with others.

After ten chapters of theory and description of Hausner’s model, Highway presents eleven chapters of case histories and back-matter. Enriched with excerpts from transcripts of sessions, these chapters focus on depression, schizophrenia, double bind, archetypes, sexuality, and other presenting problems.

As well as filling in the gap about treatment that continued in Czechoslovakia, LSD: The Highway to Mental Health presents its psycholytic methods of treating inpatients, a way to use group processes, and social learning as adjuncts on the way to mental health. A worthy addition to university, medical school, and city libraries, this book deserves a place in the library of anyone doing LSD-based therapy or investigating it, or on the shelves of psychedelic book collectors, historians of the 60s, and historians of psychotherapy.

Fatal error: Uncaught TypeError: count(): Argument #1 ($value) must be of type Countable|array, null given in /www/library/review/review.php:699 Stack trace: #0 {main} thrown in /www/library/review/review.php on line 699