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“Effects of LSD 25 on Psychotherapeutic Communication”.
Psychopharmacol. Bull. 1974;10(2):64-65.
PURPOSE: The investigator is studying the effects of LSD-25 on verbal interaction in psychotherapy. He will compare the results of psychoanalytic therapy conducted with the aid of LSD-25 or d-amphetamine to the results of therapy without drugs. Subjects: The subjects (neurotic, white middleclass men and women between the ages of 23 and 43) are screened to eliminate those with psychoses or physical disabilities that would contraindicate drug administration.
METHODS: Monthly sessions for each patient are divided equally among three experimental programs: seven LSD-25, seven amphetamine, and seven placebo sessions, The investigator does not know who gets which drug during a given session. The experimental session, 2 hours long, consists of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy. The patient is given in low to moderate dose of LSD, amphetamine, or placebo on an empty stomach and allowed to eat a light lunch an hour later. Several language evaluating instruments are used to assess changes in various aspects of the subject's behavior. Nurses' ratings and psychiatric evaluations are also made. All Sessions are tape recorded.
RESULTS: A total of 630 fifty-minute tapes have been recorded from subjects who have completed their experimental sessions. Recent results have shown that various drugs have different effects on speech rhythms during therapy sessions. As compared to placebo, d-amphetamine decreased average pause time and LSD increased it; thus, the patient's pause time may have been one of the subliminal cues utilized by the therapist to guess which drug the patient had received. The therapist noted that the typical LSD patient was more intolerant of interruption, regardless of whether the patient was withdrawn and silent or talkative and excited. Nevertheless, the patient wanted human contact. The therapist felt that the patient who had taken LSD was more preoccupied with inner experiences and harder to understand than before taking the drug, but he still needed some reassurance. LSD diminished interpersonal relatedness and led to greater autonomy, which was reinforced by the therapist. Under LSD, the transference response also was more readily available for the patient's therapeutic use. When the patient became uncommunicative, he often had remarkable inner experiences which he reported at the next session. LSD produced greater emotionality as measured by crying. The ability to understand language per se (as opposed to symbolic expressions) was not changed by LSD or dextroamphetamine. This fact was attributed to the power of the psychotherapeutic situation where verbal communication in the normal mode is expected. Implications: The quantitative and qualitative measurements of verbal behavior under several drug conditions used in this study should provide objective information about the therapeutic usefulness of LSD.
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