How Psilocybin Therapy is Changing the Game
There is a revolution happening in the mental health industry. While everyone seems to be over-worked, over-stressed, and on the verge of quitting, something magical is starting to happen globally. In light of current dissatisfaction, people are being illuminated to one simple fact: It doesn’t have to be this way.
They say that we are in the middle of a depression epidemic in the western world. Statistics indicate that 350 million people have succumbed to this affliction. And that doesn’t even begin to cover anxiety, addiction and many other mental health problems seemingly plaguing the western world today. If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness, you must be asking yourself: Is it really that bleak? Well, new research on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy says it’s not!
While life dissatisfaction seems to be on the rise, so are the tools for its careful evaluation. The truth is: Mental health issues existed far before science was able to show them to us on a brain-imaging device. And, as it turns out, so did the cure.
Today, psilocybin and other psychedelic substances are commonplace in laboratories and are being ardently examined for their effects. What science is finding now is something many ancient tribes and devoted spiritual people knew for the longest time. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any number of similar mental-health tags they attribute to your experience. There is but one true solution to all of them. And the nature of it eludes reason, escapes words, and defies comprehension. It’s something Jung called a vital spiritual experience, and it’s exactly what psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy does for you. And, in spite of the attribute ‘spiritual’, science is starting to find itself its biggest proponent yet.
How Psilocybin Heals
Your brain is complicated. You will never, ever, know the totality of its complexity for as long as you live. You can be sure this is something both the spiritual folk and the scientists can get behind. Not only that, but the more refined brain imaging tools we develop, the more complex the whole puzzle becomes. At this point, we’re all aware that the study of the human brain isn’t going towards a simple answer.
Some of the techniques that can provide us with rough, raw, primitive and, at the same time, breath-taking maps of our condensed psyche are functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EGG), and magnetoencephalography. Scientists use all these results and evaluate them according to the Network theory, a key framework in neuroscience.
Using these imaging techniques, tools and framework, scientists studied the effects of psilocybin on the brain. What the results kept, and still keep, bringing up is the dramatic change the brain undergoes after the controlled psilocybin treatment. There is always a difference between the placebo subjects and the ones getting the real thing. Psilocybin seems to affect the homological structure of the functional patterns of our brain, leaving more persistent structures after the body’s exposure to it. What this means is that there is an actual, permanent change in the structure of our brain after the repeated psilocybin treatment.
Psychological Implications of Psilocybin Research
Your life, but with You in it.
Most of the research conducted on psilocybin compares the brain of the user to the brain of a Buddhist monk in a deep state of meditation. This is because these two states of consciousness are very similar in their nature. They are reduced to the lower level of cognition, more attuned to the subconscious mind.
When the brain enters certain holotropic states of consciousness, much of the phenomenon observed cannot be explained by neuroscience. What all the psilocybin research done so far suggests is that when reduced to these lower levels of consciousness, people break their perception of multiplicity. They start observing everything as being one, and themselves as a part of the whole. Many have described it as returning back into their lives after years of absence. Like it was the same as their normal reality, but with them present in it.
People suffering from treatment-resistant depression showed immense signs of progress when undergoing psilocybin treatment. The majority of the participants had suffered from long-term chronic depression, with multiple failed treatment attempts. However, not all subjects showed the same alleviation in depression symptoms. People who showed most progress were those who reported having an ‘acute spiritual experience’. This is what is actually meant by the break in the multiplicity, and returning to the lower levels of cognition.
The Phenomenon of the Collectively Unsaid
We are divided. We are one.
When Carl Jung tried to heal what he called ‘the most hopeless type of addict’ from the clutches of alcoholism, he said that in reality, he was beyond help. The only thing he ever witnessed heal a case that hopeless was a vital spiritual experience, but the chance of attaining that was so small, the addict shouldn’t even try.
What Jung was actually talking about was the spiritual experience people have when undergoing psilocybin therapy. It’s exactly that feeling of oneness, of being part of the whole that heals even the darkest fears. It’s been even shown to conquer fear of death in terminally ill patients.
In his art project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, John Koenig aims to teach us a lesson about how language divides us. This dictionary is a list of made-up words, used to describe genuine emotions, recognized by psychology.
For example, have you ever felt like everyone else knows something you don’t but need in order to get ahead in life? It’s one of the loneliest feelings in existence. But, believe it or not, that’s a frequent emotion, and John called it pâro. And the only reason you felt like you were all alone in that emotion is because there was never a word for it, and you could never share the sorrow with your friend.
Limits of Language, Reaches of Psilocybin
The key to the state of consciousness induced by psilocybin therapy is going back to the primitive frame of mind. Why? Well, because it predates language. And language predates confusion. It predates division.
Psilocybin, just like meditation, puts you in a headspace of an organism completely unable to verbalize its experience of itself. It makes us realize that every emotion we ever felt, every single phantasmic sensation we never managed to even track, let alone verbalize its unknown name in our impossibly hectic minds, was also felt by every other human on this planet. The art, the magic, the science of psilocybin treatment is just that. Taking all those deep and dark experiences we thought separate us from others and finding out that they actually connect us.
The vital spiritual experience psilocybin therapy offers us is that of a deep inner knowing, without the need to verbalize. And because it’s an experience, it was never going to be passed down to you by language. It can only come from feeling it yourself. And today, even scientists are starting to realize this goes beyond anything we can explain. But it was never meant to be explained. In fact, it appears that what psilocybin therapy has to offer is the only knowledge in existence that was only ever intended to be felt.