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Taxonomy of Ecstatic States in the Context of Psychotherapy with Psychedelic Substances

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This paper reviews different forms of ecstatic states which might appear under the influence of such psychedelic drugs as LSD, psilocybin, or MDMA in a psychotherapeutic context. It is pointed out that ecstatic states as induced by psychedelics belong to the lucid form of ecstatic states, without clouding of consciousness and memory disturbances as with the somnambulic forms of ecstatic states. We distinguish micro-ecstatic states and macro-ecstatic states depending on the degree of altered self-experience and ego-dissolution. The use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapy is outlined and discussed with respect to different forms of ecstatic experiences, e.g. 'depersonalization' versus 'personalization' forms of ecstasy, 'oceanic' versus 'volcanic' forms of ecstasy, etc. The authors elaborate on acute, subacute, and long-term effects of ecstatic experiences and their therapeutic implications. The question of a possible 'primitivization' of psychological functioning, sometimes called 'regression', during ecstatic experiences is critically discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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