A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Psychedelic Experience

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 8 PM

Location: Columbia University Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive
(enter via 116th St. click here for directions)
or via Zoom

Philip Ringstrom Ph.D., Psy.D.
Jeffrey Guss M.D.

This first APM of the 2023-2024 year will focus on a topic of increasing interest to clinicians: the realm of psychedelic experiences and what they can tell us about the mind and the unconscious. We will have two separate presenters, each of whom will offer a different perspective on this realm.

Journey of a Psychoanalytic-Psychonaut
Philip Ringstrom Ph.D., Psy.D.

Dr. Philip Ringstrom will reflect upon numerous “epiphanous moments” over his 48-year career in which experimentation with psychedelics (LSD and Psilocybin) in the 70s, 80s, and 90s – as well as more recently – in 2022 and 2023 with Ketamine, have been integrated in his view and practice of psychoanalysis – in whatever mode of psychotherapy in which he is engaged.
Among the insights that have arisen in these “epiphanous moments” are 1) the criticality of set and setting, 2) capacity for surrender, 3) an idea of our having an essential self, 4) reckoning with our own death, and 5) a profound deepening of his practice of meditation and its effect on his working psychoanalytically. 6) Lastly, the influence of recent neuroscience research on psychedelics and its implication for his work on the topic of psychoanalytic play.

Psychedelics and Psychoanalysis: Haven’t We Met Before?
Jeffrey Guss M.D.

Dr. Jeffrey Guss will offer an introduction to the extensive but erased history of psychedelic psychoanalysis. Psychedelic-assisted psychoanalytic treatments occurred in the 1950s in the US, Europe, and South America, with considerable academic and clinical interest. The distinction between psychedelic therapy and psychoanalytic therapy will be introduced, as well as an introduction to some of the noted psychedelic psychoanalytic practitioners and researchers of the time. In addition, Dr. Guss will present a review of psychedelic experience in psychotherapy contexts, described in the discourses of psychoanalysis, neuropsychoanalysis, and cognitive science.



Philip Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a Senior Training and Supervising Analyst and Faculty Member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, California. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of IARPP and a member of the International Council of Self-Psychologists. He is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Perspectives, and Psychoanalysis: Self and Context. He has published over 60 articles, chapters, and reviews and has presented at conferences all over the world. His book A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Conjoint Therapy (Routledge 2014) won the Goethe Award for Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Scholarship in Psychoanalysis for 2014. He is currently writing a new book titled Psychoanalytic Play: Dramatization, Narration, and Improvisation in Field Theory and Metapsychology.

Jeffrey Guss, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, and teacher with an interest in the integration of psychoanalytic therapy and psychedelic therapy. He is on the faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Guss was the Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Psychedelic Therapy Training for the NYU study on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of cancer related anxiety and is a study therapist with numerous clinical trials of psychedelic therapy. He recently published “A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Psychedelic Experience” in the most recent issue of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Current research is on the psilocybin-assisted therapy for fibromyalgia with the University of Michigan Department of Anesthesia. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association.

This evening is chiefly an in person event though there will also be a hybrid component. Light refreshments will be served.

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