LSD The Problem-Solving Psychedelic
P.G. Stafford and B.H. Golightly
Chapter VII. LSD and Mental Health
I had a vision, and I still have this vision, of mass therapy:
institutions in which every patient with a neurosis could get
LSD treatment and work out his problem largely by himself. Classical
psychotherapy or psychoanalytical therapy is, of course, a costly
procedure, and most people do not have enough money to undertake
it; nor do we have health benefits to pay for individual psychotherapy.
I hope that there will eventually be health insurance funds to
pay for LSD therapy.
| Dr. C. H. Van Rhijn, The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy. |
COMPARED TO OTHER public health problems, mental illness is a
giant, half hidden in shadow. The statistics are appalling: an
estimated 17 million persons in the United States suffer from
some form of mental disorder; approximately 700,000 patients are
in mental hospitals; over a quarter of a million enter mental
institutions each year; an estimated 3 billion dollars is spent
annually in costs to combat this problem; and to aid the mentally
disordered there are only 12,000 psychiatrists practising in
the entire country. Apart from the lamentable statistics,
the unknown quantity of personal tragedy involved is impossible
to assess. For every person suffering from mental illness, there
are many others who are directly affected. The patients themselves
are not simply maladjusted, unhappy people who nonetheless manage
to function, but those who have little or no contact with reality,
despite longing and strenuous effort. A visit to a mental hospital
confirms this in a harrowing way.
The fact is that in spite of the isolation of the mentally sick
from the community, once hospitalized, they are still very much
among us, although virtually ignored. Few beside hospital personnel
and visitors are aware of the agony and terror suffered by the
paranoiac; by hearing voices; by constantly fearing imminent death;
by feeling that a chair is a mortal enemy; by screaming incessantly
and uncontrollably; by losing all memory; and by being locked
The steps taken in the last fifteen years in treating mental illness
are large and impressive, coming, however, after centuries of
unbridled growth of such disease. Inhumane treatment, bedlams,
shock treatments, "snakepits," lobotomies and strait
jackets are on their way out as a result of crusaders (such as
Dorothea Dix, the Kennedy family and Albert Deutsch) and crusading
organizations, such as the National Association for Mental Health;
the widespread use of tranquilizers in treatment; increased hospital
personnel; and more active public interest and awareness of the
problem. For the first time in history there is sound basis for
hope that mental illness can be controlled and that the disturbed
individual may not be consigned for life to his sickness.
Encouraging as this may be, it is a mistake to think that the
end is yet in sight. In Action for Mental Health, the most
comprehensive and penetrating appraisal of present-day needs (resulting
from a five-year study involving 34 agencies), the situation is
sharply summed up: more than 50,000 persons die in mental hospitals
every year, not including 8,000 additional homicides and 16,000
suicides. As for public concern:
The prevailing system, with few exceptions, has been to remove
the acutely ill of mind far from the everyday sceneto put them
away in human dump heaps.... The facts so arouse a sense of
guilt that, even within the mental health professions, we would
rather not dwell on them.
Pointing in severe criticism at the current system which leaves
mental care to the States, which "for the most part, have
defaulted on adequate care for the mentally ill, and have consistently
done so for a century," this report calls for a massive program
to deal with the problem. "Expenditures for public mental
patient services should be doubled in the next five yearsand
tripled in the next ten. Only by this magnitude of expenditure
can typical State hospitals be made in fact what they are now
in name onlyhospitals for mental patients." (Emphasis
in original. )
In 1949, Albert Deutsch, after visiting two dozen mental institutions,
Most of them were located in or near great centers of culture
in our wealthier states such as New York, Michigan, Ohio, California,
and Pennsylvania. In some of the wards there were scenes that
rivaled the horrors of the Nazi concentration campshundreds
of naked mental patients herded into huge, barn-like, filth-infested
wards, in all degrees of deterioration, untended and untreated,
stripped of every vestige of human decency, many in stages of
There is a tendency on the part of the public to minimize such
reports because it is commonly believed that "miracle drugs,"
particularly tranquilizers, have worked all miracles available
and that there is no longer need for serious concern about the
mental health problem. Actually, this is not the case.
The writer heard state hospital doctors frankly admit that the
animals of near-by piggeries were better fed, housed and treated
than many of the patients in their wards. He saw hundreds of sick
people shackled, strapped, straitjacketed and bound to their beds;
he saw mental patients... crawl into beds jammed close together,
in dormitories filled to twice or three times their normal capacity....
[Albert Deutsch, The Shame of the States.]
What has happened is that tranquilizers have made it possible
to dispense with strait jackets, padded cells and other means
of physical restraint. Also, these drugs and the energizers have
made patients somewhat more accessible to psychotherapy, hence
enabling them to be released in shorter periods of time than before.
In New York State, which uses tranquilizers on a large scale,
the average hospital stay has been cut from eight to four months.
When the patients return to their communities, they are able to
obtain adequate maintenance therapy, primarily through prescribed
tranquilizers and energizers. (Despite complicated side effects,
the anti-depressantsmonoamine oxidase inhibitorsare now
being used in the treatment of over four million Americans per
But for all this, hospital admission rates for the mentally ill
continue to rise. Therefore, it is clear that these drugs now
in use, and some three hundred others being clinically tested,
are not solving the problem.
With LSD, however, the psychiatric profession for the first time
seems to have a means for dealing effectively with some of the
deeper problems of mental disease which elude the tranquilizers
and energizers. Medical reports indicate that LSD dramatically
reaches into the roots of the disorder, rather than merely disposing
of the symptoms and easing the patient. In some caseswith catatonics
and autistic children, for instancethe therapist finds himself
able to make contact with the patient for the first time since
onset of the illness. As Dr. Gordon H. Johnsen
During the first two years of our work with these compounds, we
were in doubt of their value... We now consider that they give
us therapeutic possibilities in areas where we were formerly powerless.
In fact these drugs are of such great importance in our psychiatric
instrumentarium that we can hardly think of doing without them.
Indeed, this is a great step forward in psychiatry.
In agreement with Dr. Johnsen, a high percentage of psychotherapists
who have worked with LSD believe that the drug, in many ways,
may be the answer to Freud's hope for a chemical which could exercise
a "direct influence... upon the amounts of energy and
their distribution in the apparatus of the mind"... and
thus open up "undreamed-of possibilities of therapy."
Throughout his writings, Freud repeatedly deplored the fact that
there were no exact tools for direct dealing with the patient's
deeper disorders, and he voiced hope that the future would see
this need fulfilled:
We are here concerned with therapy only insofar as it works by
psychological methods: and for the time being we have no other.
Behind every psychoanalyst stands the man with the syringe.
Psychoanalysis never claimed that there were no organic factors
in the psychoses.... It is the biochemist's task to find out what
these are.... So long as organic factors remain inaccessible,
analysis leaves much to be desired.
When LSD was first tested, it was given to volunteers in the hope
of inducing a temporary facsimile of psychosis that could be studied.
At that time clinicians thought this to be LSD's sole function.
Many teams of experimenters undertook such projects in the belief
that by creating schizoid-like states under controlled conditions,
they would be closer to a cure. After all, malaria, yellow fever,
tuberculosis and diabetes, for instance, had yielded to medical
science following the artificial production of the disease, and
by analogy researchers around the world hypothesized that schizophrenia
might yield in the same manner.
But this was not to be. First of all, it was discovered that the
hallucinations produced under LSD were quite different from those
of psychosisfor the most part they were visual rather than
auditory. Also, it was found that certain drugs could terminate
the LSD "psychosis" but were totally ineffective with
Even so, through these experiments great impetus had been given
to the research on mental illnesses, and investigators began to
pay serious attention to the possible biochemical basis of mental
abnormality, studying serotonin, epinephrine, adrenaline, the
"M" substance, nicotinic acid and adrenochrome.
Although the facsimile or "model" psychosis theory was
eventually abandoned by most researchers, LSD was not. It was
found that the drug did have an important place in therapy for,
as mentioned previously, it "abreacts" the patient to
early traumas, creates exceptional rapport between patient and
therapist and, consequently, facilitates transference. In this
regard, British psychiatrist Dr. R.A. Sandison, one of the first
practitioners to recognize the potentials of LSD, made the following
statement to some of his colleagues:
There are good reasons for believing that the LSD experience is
a manifestation of the psychic unconscious, and that its material
can be used in psychotherapy in the same way that dreams, phantasies
and paintings can be used by the psychoanalysts.
In documenting this statement, Dr. Sandison gave evidence that
the drug was, in his experience, a successful, safe treatment
for intractable neurotics and that in other cases, such as the
compulsive obsessive, the results were often spectacular.
One reason why LSD has not been more widely used in therapydespite
its demonstrable effectivenessis that it may have been "too
effective." Highly excited reports, which by now number well
over two thousand, have, as Dr. Buckman put it, "succeeded
in antagonizing" much of the informed psychiatric opinion:
Many therapists were outraged because of this threat to their
omnipotence. Many were justifiably concerned about the irresponsible
use of a powerful drug on unsuspecting patients or volunteers.
As a reaction to the early reports that the answer to the problem
of mental illness was here, at last, there began to appear publications
stressing mostly the dangers of suicide and psychosis, and accusing
those who were using LSD of charlatanry and self-deception.
In actuality, any contra-indications of the use of LSD in treatment
of mental patients are minimal when the therapist is thoroughly
educated in the drug and its action. In 1960 Dr. Sidney Cohen
undertook an extensive survey of psychedelic use to determine
the nature of possible drawbacks. He wrote to 62 European and
American investigators who had published papers on their work
in LSD therapy. Forty-four replied with detailed data on the dangers
of psychedelic treatment; the accumulation represented over 5,000
patients and 25,000 sessions covering a dosage range of from 25
mcg. to 1500 mcg.
In the survey, no serious physical complications were reportedeven
when the drugs were given to alcoholics with generally impaired
health. (This was a somewhat unexpected result, since many of
these individuals had diseased livers, a condition which previously
it had been assumed would produce an adverse drug reaction.) There
was also a surprisingly low incidence of major mental disturbances.
Despite the profound psychic changes that occur while a subject
is under the influence of LSD or mescaline, psychotic reactions
lasting longer than 48 hours developed in fewer than 2/10ths of
one per cent of the cases. The attempted suicide rate was just
over 1/10th of one percent. Not one case of addiction was reported.
If this sampling of five thousand drug users is divided into two
classesthe mentally sound volunteers and the mentally unstablethe
results seem even more encouraging. Among those who had simply
volunteered for LSD or mescaline experiments, major or prolonged
psychological complications almost never occurred. In this group,
only one instance of a psychotic reaction lasting longer than
two days was reported, and there were no suicides. Among the mentally
ill given the drugs, however, prolonged psychotic states were
induced in one out of every 550 patients. In this group, one in
830 attempted suicide, and one in 2500 carried the attempt through.
In evaluating the statistics, it should be pointed out that at
the time of the survey (1960) the proper use of the drug in therapy
was not well understood, and that at least some of the negative
reactions were deliberately brought about, as many of the doctors
were trying to produce "model psychoses" in their patients.
Nevertheless, the statistics clearly showed that contra-indications
to the use of the drug were lower than those normally encountered
in conventional psychotherapy.
Since 1960, new LSD therapeutic techniques have been introduced
and methods of administering the drug have been refined. These
advances have resulted in further reduction of potential hazards.
Dr. Hanscarl Leuner, an outstanding European expert on psycholytic
therapy, has this to say about Cohen's report:
Cohen... showed very well how low the relative risk of the
therapy is, if it is carried out responsibly by qualified doctors.
Thus, we actually are threatened less by adverse results, or severe
complications, than we had to assume at the start. Our experience
has shown that this risk can be reduced practically to zero in
a well-institutionalized therapy, as in our clinic. This holds
for the activation of depressions and schizophrenic psychoses,
as well as attempted or successful suicides.
Some of LSD's therapeutic unpopularity may be attributable to
the strain put upon credulity by the use of the term "miraculous"
in describing results the drug has brought about. Rauwolfia was
synthesized in 1947 and chlorpromazine was manufactured in 1953;
both were put into use almost immediately by physicians throughout
the United States. The tranquilizers are far easier to understand
in their action than are the psychedelics since they do not bring
about any impressive or long-lasting behavior change. As long
as the patient responds to the tranquilizers and uses them regularly,
he maintains the desired well-being; should he become immune to
them or give them up, he reverts. This seems reasonable enough.
But with the psychedelics, change in the patient is often so radical
that the ensuing case history, with its vivid content, may be
viewed with suspicion by those who are unfamiliar with the field.
It bears repeating that many professional researchers who have
made use of the drug feel that cure has come about through what
is essentially a "religious" conversion. This explanation
is in itself an excellent means for alienating those medical practitioners
who are oriented to traditional therapeutic concepts. Consequently,
when LSD therapists speak of their gains, they are inclined to
confine themselves to the subjects of abreaction and transference,
which fit conventional attitudes, rather than to refer directly
to the suspect territory of the "mystical." Undoubtedly
it is the "miracle cure" and "mystical" aspects
that put many medical practitioners off and arouse their adverse
criticism, regardless of how persuasive or elaborate the evidence.
A recent, somewhat unconsidered AMA editorial reflected this when
it urged that "Every effort should be made by the medical
profession to block the use" of LSD and similar drugs.
A third problem which interferes with general professional acceptance
lies in the nature of the claims put forth by practitioners; they
seem to contradict each other, and often sound unreasoning and
chaotic. Nowhere is this better illustrated than at the 1959 Josiah
Macy Conference, where 26 experts on LSD therapy came together.
The conflict, disagreement and confusion over the four papers
presented made it clear that there were approximately 26 separate
opinions on how LSD should be used in treatment. Dr. Charles Savage
had this to say about the conference:
This meeting is most valuable because it allows us to see all
at once results ranging from the nihilistic conclusions of some
of the evangelical ones of others. Because the results are so
much influenced by the personality, aims, and expectations of
the therapist, and by the setting, only such a meeting as this
could provide us with such a variety of personalities and settings.
At the present time, psychedelic therapy is still in an exploratory
stage, with individual doctors favoring widely assorted techniques,
dosages, drugs and drug mixtures. Over the past quarter century,
Sandoz Pharmaceuticals spent over $3-million in developing the
drug and handed out sample doses of LSD to hundreds of reputable
investigators. As a result, well over 40,000 patients to date
have received the drug from a "variety of personalities"
and in a variety of settings. The dosage range ran from 25 mcg.
to 2,500 mcg. and was taken privately or in some cases administered
to whole hospital wards. Some received only one dose; others had
over 120. In most instances the drug was used as an adjunct to
psychotherapy, but many patients were given it as a onetime treatment.
Most investigators screened out psychotics or schizophrenics,
but some did not and claimed surprising success in such cases.
Most patients received the treatment from only one therapist,
but a number of researchers believed better results obtained when
treatment was given by teams of several persons. Among the varied
techniques, hypnotism was used in conjunction with LSD; some installed
nurses as "parent surrogates" for the patients; others
encouraged their patients to "act out" aggressions during
the LSD session by giving them objects to tear up, strike, etc.
There were also doctors who depended primarily upon symbolic interpretation
of familiar objects and universal insignia, as well as those who
concentrated on dream material. Some used LSD alone; some combined
it with Ritalin, Librium, Dramamine or amphetamines of several
kinds, while others added one or another of the familiar "mind-changing"
drugs as well as some of the lesser known such as CZ-74.
Just as the techniques and dosages differed in the extreme, so
did the "variety of personalities" of the physicians
guiding the sessions. Inevitably included were many who did not
truly understand the characteristics of the drug's transformations
and who, consequently, were inept. Tact, zeal and intuition are
considered requisite in guiding a session, in addition to familiarity
with the drug's action. That many "psychotic reactions"
were attributable to the personality of some of the therapists
is evident from the remarks of two doctors
who have frequently supervised the administration of LSD:
We've also had psychotomimetic reactions in patients who were
not psychotic before we gave them the drug. We have traced these
reactions back to the effect of the attitude of the treatment
personnel. We have been able to give the drug again and get a
psychedelic reaction, after we have worked through with the treatment
personnel what had caused the psychotomimetic reaction.
... there is already considerable evidence to suggest that the
potential harm in the drug lies in its dramatic appeal to the
sick therapist. I have wondered, further, if its repudiation by
many is a function of too-limited experience and, in some instances,
the therapist's need to control the rehabilitative process more
closely than can be done under LSD.
Today there is a general agreement among LSD therapists that the
drug is a superior instrument for treating the whole range of
neuroses, or any similar disorders, which ordinarily respond to
psychoanalysis. Typical reports seem to indicate that even with
severe problems only 10 or 15% fail to achieve any improvement.
Hollywood Hospital in Canada, following up 89 patients for an
average of 55 months, found that 55% had a total remission of
the problem; 34% were improved; and 11% were unchanged. In Germany,
at the University of Gottingen's Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Leuner's
results, independently rated, showed 76% "greatly improved"
or "recovered" in patients with character neuroses,
depressive reactions, anxiety, phobias or conversion-hysteria.
And Dr. Ling states in an evaluation of his work at Marlborough
Day Hospital in London:
An analysis of 43 patients treated privately in 1962, i.e., three
years ago, shows that 34 are completely well and socially well-adjusted.
Six are improved, one abandoned treatment, one had to leave for
Africa before treatment was finished, and one failed to respond
satisfactorily, so treatment was abandoned.
Such recovery rates speak so positively that even those LSD specialists
who have definite reservations about the drug's use in therapy
are, nonetheless, of the opinion that LSD should be used when
accepted techniques have failed after a year or more, as long
as there is high patient motivation for change. Dr. Donald Blair,
an English consultant psychiatrist, says, for instance: "People
who have had psychotherapy or psychoanalysis for some time, as
much as eight years, and haven't gotten anywhere, do so with the
drug; it does break resistance... You get neurotic patients
who have been to numerous therapists, analysts, and they don't
get better. Then they come to one of us who are using LSD and
thanks to the effect of the drug, they do get better."
In using psychedelic drugs for psychotherapy, European doctors
seem to be considerably more enlightened than American doctors,
and until very recently there were no legal restrictions that
made these drugs difficult to obtain. Now European laws are being
tightened, too. In the United Kingdom, where once any hospital
could buy and dispense LSD at its own discretion, and the drug
was available to approved psychiatrists, new bills restricting
LSD distribution have been passed by Parliament. Since these rulings,
the black market there has grown and may soon be comparable to
that in America; British research and therapeutic programs are
now also curtailed. The same situation may eventually spread to
the Continent, where psycholytic therapy has been widely available
for ten years.
Based upon Leuner's successful work at the University of Gottingen,
17 centers using the psychedelic drugs in multi-session therapy
were set up in Europe. Experience indicated that best results
came about when the patient had had an average of 26.7 sessions.
The average number of treatment hours for the doctor amounted
to 55.5 per patient, in addition to about ten hours of
pre-treatment and after-care. Sixty-five therapy hours per patient
may seem a disproportionate amount of attention, but as Dr. Leuner
... keeping in mind that psycholysis is a causal therapy for
most severe and previously incurable cases, to those resisting
all other forms of therapy, including long years of psychoanalytic
treatment, this expenditure seems slight. If we were to carefully
assume that on the average our cases would have required 300 individual
psychoanalytic sessions, our time expenditure is less than one
fourth, completely ignoring the far greater effect. Furthermore,
new indications such as sexual perversion, psychopathy and borderline
cases can be treated.
Another advantage to LSD therapy is that the patient need not
necessarily be institutionalized, even if his case is severe.
Such therapy has the advantages of speed and intensity as well.
Dr. Ling cites an illustrative example:
A senior executive of an international advertising agency who
had had two years of analysis, four days a week, stated that he
had derived more insight in his third LSD session than in the
two years' analysis. As a busy man, he made it clear he was not
going to spend "endless hours" between sessions in view
of his failure to improve previously with one of the leading orthodox
analysts in London.
As with traditional methods of therapy, one of the basic components
of psycholytic LSD therapy is abreaction, i.e., the patient's
recall of events in his life in which negative and threatening
experience was dominant and never subsequently resolved. When
such material is repressed, the individual's emotional and intellectual
maturation may be stunted. Freud, in fact, was of the opinion
that no symptoms of any kind were removable unless abreaction
occurred. If these traumatic events also happen during critical
growth periods in a person's life, their effect will be even more
seriousand more elusive. This is particularly true when treatment
is on the verbal level only.
In the successful session with LSD, abreaction is spontaneous
and almost inevitable. In addition, this process can be elicited
and abetted by means of "props," such as Panda bears
given to the patient to fondle, hot water bottles, dolls, mirrors;
and the creation of homelike atmosphere and practices such as
reading children's stories aloud to the patient, tucking him in
bed, "cooing," calling the patient by a childhood nickname,
etc. Because the LSD experience produces vacillating states of
past and present (or co-existing past and present), the patient
can bring his mature viewpoint to bear on a problem that occurred
in childhood; thus what might have heretofore seemed incomprehensible,
unfair or cruel canin the light of the LSD insightseem
perfectly natural or of no adult importance.
Abreaction, however, is only part of the story. Dr. Jack Ward
has some discerning remarks to make which are pertinent here:
It is my conviction that in both the Psychodramatic
and LSD treatment experiences the forces leading
to growth are somehow concentrated in greater intensity than in
other forms of therapy.... In both forms of treatment there is
no room for the "as if" operation. In Psychodrama, if
the protagonist, group or auxiliary egos are acting instead of
living what they are doing, the session will be almost useless.
If the converse is true, the session is very productive. In LSD
there is no "as if" experience. One is not "like"
something; one is. It is not as if one were looking at one's self;
one looks at one's self. It is not as if one had a heart attack
like that which killed father; one has it and so convincingly
that on one occasion an empathic physician present felt the same
acute physical symptoms himself....
So far, the majority of successful reports on the treatment of
mental patients with LSD are those which deal with neurotic patients
who have had at least reasonable motivation to get well. There
seems to be a tacit agreement among therapists that LSD will not
be effective in the psychoses, and those practitioners who undertake
LSD treatment of schizophrenics are often regarded by many as
brave and/or reckless.
.... the intense experiences of the LSD patient are basically
common to all of us. This is probably the reason why the LSD patient
feels that he has shared with the observers a basic experience
even though he often has not spoken about it while going through
it. It is obvious that everyone has an exquisite perception of
the reaction of those about him when he is undergoing the effects
of the drug. Negative comments often bring out paranoid reactions
as in one patient who said to a physician who was his friend and
who began to probe, "Your fingers are growing long and claw
like. It's amazing how someone can change in one minute. I'm not
going to answer anybody's questions from now on." More usual,
if one has a skilled LSD "Audience," is the unexpected
comment, "Thank you for being here and going through this
Impressive in both techniques is the amount of spontaneity that
human beings are capable of under favorable conditions.... the
individual is freed or forced to experience a great outpouring
of feeling often far beyond his conception of his own emotional
capabilities. Sometimes the patient becomes so overwhelmed by
the unexpected extent of his own spontaneity that he experiences
acute (fortunately temporary) panic because of his own "lack
of control." However, such feelings are usually followed
by a feeling of great peace, a result which is also similar to
many successful Psychodrama sessions.
In general, it is true that LSD does not work particularly well
with the patient whose mental derangement is well developed. It
may, in fact, precipitate a worsened condition. Nevertheless,
there are indications that those who have administered LSD in
such instances have nonetheless obtained positive reactions that
are impressive and worthy of broader consideration. Dr. Fred W.
Langner, who has had wide experience with LSD, has used the drug
effectively with severely disturbed persons whose disorder was
preponderantly schizophrenic. His conclusions, after using LSD
in over two thousand patient sessions, are that pseudo-neurotics
and paranoid schizophrenics do not respond favorably, and may,
in fact, suffer regression; but that schizoid personalities, whose
egos are not too brittle, may through LSD have their first experience
with "feeling." One of his patients said, "I know
now that I never knew what people were talking about when they
talked about feelings till I took LSD. I didn't know till toward
the end of my second year of therapy that feelings could be good
as well as
Dr. Edward F. W. Baker of Toronto has also found LSD "extremely
effective" in treatment of acute psychoses. After he presented
a paper on his work with schizophrenics and others, Dr. Savage
I really admire Dr. Baker for his courage in using LSD with involutional
manic-depressives and paranoids. It suggests to me that perhaps
we have been a little too fearful and timid in our approach. Have
we been threatened by others in the hostile field with which we
have been surrounded?
While many physicians are reluctant to give LSD to psychotics
who are out of contact with reality, latest indications are that
more will eventually come to agree with Dr. Savage (seeing that
it is a matter of "bedside manner" with these badly
regressed patients, and that trust and understanding in LSD application
may be the sine qua non for positive results). It is clear
now that spectacularly beneficial changes can be obtained, even
in severe cases where prognosis has been poor. The present conflict
of opinion closely resembles the earlier arguments concerning
LSD and the treatment of alcoholics who had liver damage. Many
were emphatic on the subject at the time and said a definite contraindicant
was a diseased liver. But when alcoholicswho had been abandoned
as hopeless because of advanced liver deteriorationreceived
the drug, it was found that no deleterious effects resulted.
Ironically, another reservation about the wisdom of giving LSD
to the psychotically disturbed is fear that the initial jolt that
the drug brings to the state of consciousness may so alarm the
patient that he will become further disoriented. This attitude,
however, fails to acknowledge the fact that LSD's action resembles
the psychotic state itself, and that the psychotic mind regularly
wanders in and out of everyday reality. Consequently, the psychotic
might actually be a more likely and appropriate candidate for
this treatment than the average person, because he is already
familiar with oscillations of consciousness and can more easily
It is to be hoped that a thorough systemization of sundry techniques
and methodologies will soon be undertaken so therapists in the
field will have a clearer picture of the directions being taken,
their significance, and a delineation of future avenues of investigation.
Such a clarification may prove of vital importance to the mental
Work with autistic children was also considered forbidden territory
for LSD, but in the past few years research has broadened surprisinglyhowever
quietlyand using the drug on autistic children is only one
of the new areas which has come under LSD exploration. Casework
has also been done with juvenile delinquents and potential suicidesand
even with such unlikely subjects as dolphins.
Early in 1966, The New York Times picked up a story from
the American Journal of Psychiatry concerning the LSD treatment
of five-year-old twins who had almost completely withdrawn from
human contact; this was the first case reported in a series of
eighteen at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. The twins,
after receiving the drug, "markedly reduced their bizarre
repetitive movements, their preoccupation with mechanically rhythmic
activities," and indications were that for the first time
they might be reached. As the Times reported it, "One
reason why childhood autism has been so resistant to treatment
is that its victims can make no contact or express any interest
in the people who try to help them. There is little eye contact,
no speech, lack of concentration on everything but mechanically
repeated activities." This study was especially important
not only because the twin boys became subjectively more accessible,
but also because the procedure was witnessed by independent observers
unaware that the pair had been given LSD. The Times report
on this study was significant, for it constitutes one of the first
accounts of such work to appear in a newspaper of wide circulation.
In the following case, which concerns an adult who had been institutionalized
since childhood for retardation, the therapist took the drug along
with the patient, and there was a psychologist present as an observer.
PATIENT: (Lying on cot) I haven't had the same opportunity as
those outside. I had to learn by my surroundings... (Referring
to the staff) Their expressions tell me what they think... (Referring
to patients) The worst one to watch for is the quiet type. They
can talk but won't talk...
THERAPIST: How would you feel if you were a whitecoat?
PATIENT: If I took a liking to a particular patient, I would not
show this in front of the other patients. It is just the way you
would treat your own children. You should not favor one over the
THERAPIST: Do you think that a lot of the patients here need help?
PATIENT: Not a lot of them, all of them... One little word
of kindness sparks a whole new world of love... I would like
to talk to you in 3 or 4 weeks, after the drug has worn off. Then
compare what I say then and what I say now.... You people talking
to me after 30 years is like the world coming to an end...
Other boys feel this way. It is like a key is opening a door and
the light is flowing in. And this means a great deal to me....
THERAPIST: When he goes through these gates, what do you think
that he should do first?
PATIENT: He should get to know others. There is no return. Do
not look back, go ahead... Find a girl who feels the same way
you do and maybe get married... Why have you given me your
time when nobody ever did before?
OBSERVER: How much is enough time?
PATIENT: Eternally... I don't know whether to laugh or cry
... Do you get the feeling of closeness as humans, instead of
like man and patient?... If I get out, write and let me know
when you have helped another patient...
At this point, the discussion turned to religion. The patient
told the therapist that as a psychologist he should have a Bible
in his office, which he did not.
PATIENT: I feel sorry that you don't know the Bible. You are never
too old to learn and you'll never learn any younger. If you want
to know the patients, read the 5th chapter of Matthew. Work out
these verses, verse by verse.
OBSERVER: Unfortunately we can't do that.
PATIENT: (Shouting) Can't or won't. The truth hurts.
I want it to hurt you as it hurts me... You have to give kindness
in order to get it. You won't get kindness by poking somebody
Following this episode, the patient grew increasingly critical
and verbally aggressive. Possibly this could have been avoided
had the observer humored the patient about the Bible verses. (In
the original report it was noted that one alert observer, visiting
temporarily, did bring in a copy of the New Testament when the
subject of religion was first mentioned. In any case, the session
deteriorated from that time on and did not fulfill its original
At the same institution, another patient who was "opened"
by the LSD treatment responded more positively. Like the patient
in the previously cited case, he also seemed to enjoy himself
at times during his LSD session. He responded with laughter, displayed
intuitive ability and made some rather sharp observations.
The second case is especially interesting in that through the
patient's LSD sessions, the therapist was made aware that such
patients, although suffering from advanced mental disorders, maywithin
their virtually impregnable mental "fortress"be far
more alert and rational than is generally assumed. If this is
true, it becomes obvious that great care must be exercised in
dealings with such patients, for it may well be that they are
so oriented to minutiae that even an inadvertent blink of the
doctor's eye can destroy trust that has been established and close
the patient up once again. "These are human beings,"
the therapist remarked, "not vegetables."
As a result of this particular session, the therapist reported
that he has gained a number of other insights as well. He found
the patient's response to religious material and to music indicative
that much more daily attention should be paid to these interests
and that a music therapy program might be of considerable benefit
to such patients.
Additionally, the therapist stated that this case presented, in
a new light, the importance that work and doing a job successfully
has for these patients. It became apparent that rotating jobs
for the patients was ill-advised. Continuing on the same project
helped the patients define themselves and establish at least an
island in reality. Work therapy was the institution's primary
means for helping the patients pass time, yet as a result of this
patient's LSD session, the doctor realized that mere employment
was an inadequate answer to the patients' needs. The doctor was
able to see that the patients would benefit from exposure to the
same diversions as those found in life outside the institution:
Once these people are oriented to outside living and are trained
in specific skills which they can offer the community, they must
not be tossed out of the institution like a man swept off of a
ship into the raging sea. They need to feel the security of companionship
while in the new environmentto learn to share the pleasant
experiences of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day,
Father's Day, birthdays, picnics in the park, and all those little
things which give value to living. It is not enough to train them
for a jobthis is only a part of the outside world, a very essential
and important part, but only a part of the whole.
Repeatedly the "need for love" is stressed by LSD therapists.
At the Amityville LSD Conference, for instance, the "plea
for love" was made 60 frequently that the moderator, Dr.
Frank Fremont-Smith, commented on it:
It is not enough to have a social or guidance worker drop around
to see how you are doing occasionallythese people need real
love and understanding, the love and understanding which seems
to come through LSD. Maybe it is an artificial way of achieving
it, but if it achieves the end of a fuller life, then this, in
my opinion, is good.... If LSD has brought this idea to a more
prominent place in my thinking, then although it may have its
drawbacks, it is beneficialat least for me.
If all nursing staff was administered one shot of LSD under suitable
conditions, we may have the growth of a new approach to the mentally
handicapped, an emptying of our overfull garbage cans.
It is a great advance to have people who are courageous enough
in a scientific meeting to speak of love. I am delighted... It
is crucial.... But for doctors to admit they have to give love
of the appropriate kind, as described by Dr. Kramer, to their
patients is something we are afraid of. Because of the suffering
of patients and the call upon us as medical students for a kind
of love that we don't know how to manage, we don't know how to
put it in the right frame of reference. We have had no training
in this respect at all. We tend, rather, to build up our defenses
against it.... We have to make it respectable in the nursing profession,
in the medical profession, and in the whole therapeutic team.
The appropriate way to manage an expression of love is not only
highly respectable but absolutely a demand.
One of the most unusual bits of evidence suggesting that LSD can
create affection and end alienation is to be found in the work
Dr. John Lilly and his associates have done with dolphins. An
experiment conducted in the Virgin Islands included a female dolphin
who had been accidentally injured and thus had developed a phobia
for human beings that lasted for two years, i.e., until she was
given 100 mcg. of LSD. Prior to that she had remained on the far
side of the pool, remote and isolated. Given LSD, she proved a
particularly interesting subject for Dr. Lilly, one of many scientists
experimenting with dolphins (because of their superior intelligence)
in an effort to "communicate" with them in their language
Forty minutes after the dolphin's LSD injection, she approached
Dr. Lilly and looked him in the eye for ten minutes without moving.
This reaction was exciting because it was totally without precedent
on her part. To test her further, Dr. Lilly began to circle the
tankand she followed him right around the edge. When an assistant
took over, the dolphin followed him also. Now she approaches Dr.
Lilly to within five feet instead of maintaining the twenty-foot
distance she had kept between them previously.
One English case-worker who learned of this response, Mary S.
Wicks, likened it to her own experience in working with delinquents
and others whose reaction to past experience had rendered them
incapable of trust and mutuality:
I know from... working with these people for years, who never
give in, and who always hit back at society, and I have had the
same experience you had. After one or two treatments with LSD
they are feeling for the first time that they are actually relating,
and that it is possible to get near someone, and that it is all
part of the process of lovingand then being able to accept
Among those most alienated from the rest of humanity are the incipient
suicides. According to statistical prediction, some 20,500 Americans
this year will elect to die. This group presents an especially
baffling mental health dilemma because often there are no warning
signals that suicide is contemplated. However, LSD has been known
to identify latent suicidal tendencies and alleviate them. Such
instances may be found throughout the LSD literature.
The majority of doctors who use LSD in practice are exceedingly
cautious in treating known potential suicides because there are
on record a number of cases in which the drug may have actually
pushed the patient over the edge. In fact, this is one of the
few areas in the LSD controversy where specialists are in general
agreement. Yet, at the same time, such contraindicant persons
are known to have responded well to the drug when it has been
given in instances where histories of past suicide attempts have
been concealed from the therapist. Dr. Baker, for example, in
discussing a suicide case he had treated also mentioned four other
patients who were suicidal (and had, in fact, been in barbiturate
coma when admitted to his hospital), who later, after LSD, lost
their suicide drive. In the case where an actual suicide had occurred,
Dr. Baker said that he did not know whether it could be ascribed
to the LSD interview which had taken place two weeks earlier,
to the patient's schizoid personality or to other unknown factors.
Dr. Cohen, when asked to compare LSD-induced suicide with that
brought about through the therapeutic use of other drugs or other
forms of treatment, replied:
The comparison can't be made. If a group of potentially suicidal
patients has any kind of therapy, a few will commit suicide, and
many will be rescued. If a drug is involved, it will be of less
importance than the skill, alertness, and devotion of the therapist.
In explaining how LSD has upon occasion helped to subvert suicide,
two rationales are generally given. The first focuses upon the
drug's ability to produce a state of euphoria at the same time
it creates the fantasy of death and rebirthwhich together can
replace and satisfy the suicidal urge. Some people seem to feel
attracted to death by suicide from early childhood, and in such
cases there is as a result good theoretical justification for
the LSD experience.
One example of such a case occurred when Masters and Houston were
conducting their research. It concerned a businessman in his late
forties who had definitely decided to kill himself and who took
LSD as a last resort. However he did not mention suicide to his
guide either before or during his session. Even after the drug
began to take effect, he gave no sign that anything out of the
ordinary was happening to him except when, for a while, he assumed
the foetal position. Only two weeks later did the subject confess
his chronic suicide compulsion, stating that previous treatment
with various therapists had actually intensified it. But after
taking LSD, he found himself free of his depressions. During his
session he felt as if he had died and been reborn, and consequently
no longer needed to kill himself. Here are the subject's own words,
describing his feelings before and after:
It was absolutely essential that I die. It was not the depression
alone that created this urgent need within me. I had lived with
the depression for years and while it was extremely painful it
was not beyond my ability to endure. No, there was something else
that I cannot explain beyond saying how I felt. There was this
inescapable and irresistible feeling that I must die. I am
absolutely certain that had I not "died" in the LSD
session I would have had to die in some other way, and that could
only have meant really dying. Committing suicide, destroying myself,
as I surely would have done.
A second way in which LSD seems to eradicate suicidal promptings
is to bring forth long-repressed death wishes which might have
tragically surfaced in dramatic fashion. One of Dr. Sandison's
patients, who was in a state of depression, describes her experience:
I had the sensation... of a snake curling up around me....
I then began to see serpents' faces all over the wallthen I
saw myself as a fat, potbellied snake slithering gaily away to
destruction. I felt horrified and thought, "Whose destruction?"
I then realized it was my own destructionI was destroying myself.
I seemed to be having a battle between life and deathit was
a terrific struggle, but life won. I then saw myself on the treadmill
of lifea huge wheel was going round and round with hundreds
of people on it. Some were on top going confidently through life,
others were getting jostled and trodden on but still struggling
to go on living (I saw myself as one of these people) and then
there were the others who just couldn't cope with life and were
being crushed to death in the wheel. I had another realization
of how I was destroying myselfby carrying on this affair with
this married man.... I knew it must cease and knew that I must
never see him again.
It is clear that in the case just cited the problem centered in
a drive toward self-destruction, but it took an LSD session for
these impulses to emerge; all that was specifically known before
was that this patient was "deeply depressed"a diagnosis
which might never have been understood in enough detail, even
with lengthy treatment under ordinary analysis.
Sometimes when LSD has not been used for therapy itself, analysts
have employed small quantities of the drug as a diagnostic tool.
Prior to actual treatment, as an exploratory measure, the candidate
was given a sample dosage, along with standard psychometric tests
to establish the nature and depth of the patient's disorder. This
served to clarify in the therapist's own mind the nature of the
patient's problemand the patient himself, gaining insight under
the drug, became more cooperative. One particular patient who
had been oblivious to all of her symptoms, cried out, during her
second diagnostic LSD session, "I am a sex maniac,"
much to her own astonishment. Her therapist, Dr. Baker, commented
on this outcry and the relation it bore to her "gun-phobia,"
for which she had entered treatment:
[It] brought her to realize the male genital symbolism involved
(you must believe that this was not suggested by the therapist).
At the same time she realized her own marked, hitherto repressed,
genital sexual drive.
LSD has proved useful, too, in determining whether certain homosexual
patients have such a deep-set disorder that their only hope is
to accept it, or whether the condition can be corrected and the
patient's life situation thereby brought into normal focus. This
prognostic ability of LSD also applies to neurotics; the drug
helps the therapist gauge the patient's amenability to psychotherapy.
Dr. Johnsen on this subject says:
If we get sexual perverts, for example, we may question what kind
of treatment to give them; we want to find out a little more about
them. We could use three or four weeks finding out, but we shorten
that and say we will try if we can find out more with one or two
LSD sessions. We use small doses then. We find that the symptoms
are clearer; they are willing to speak more openly to us; we can
get a clearer picture of the diagnosis. We have used it in that
way to save time.
A second indication for limited LSD use is in the termination
of regular analytic treatment. LSD will be administered in small
doses when the therapy is nearing its end to bring about a clarification
and emotional summary of the preceding gains. It may also bring
to light any important material that has been overlooked. Just
as in technical and creative problem-solving, LSD seems to synthesize
and provide a fuller understanding of stored-up intellectual matter
previously apprehended primarily on a verbal level. It forces
an emotional crisis in those who have over-intellectualized, and
makes their cure sounder, on an unsuperficial level.
That LSD can benefit others beside the patient involved was indicated
earlier in speaking of what therapists have learned of "feeling
the psychotic experience" instead of simply witnessing the
performance from the outside. Through clearer understanding of
the schizophrenic process, valuable and entirely new tests have
been devised, based upon a closer look at the details of mental
disorder, unavailable before. The Hoffer-Osmond Diagnostic Test
(the HOD Test) explores the experiential world of the schizophrenic,
and though it is a crude instrument, it is unexpectedly effective.
An ex-schizophrenic said of the HOD Test, "I wish you had
had this test when I was ill. I would have known you knew something
about my illness."
And, as might be expected, artists and other creative people have
contributed their personal psychedelic findings to the drug's
growing body of literature at the disposal of the clinician. Henri
Michaux, the distinguished French painter-poet, used his experiences
with mescaline, psilocybin and cannabis to picture for
the layman the difficulties and problems encountered by the mentally
deranged. In the "Chasm-Situations" section of his book,
Light Through Darkness, and in the "Experimental Schizophrenia"
section of another volume, Miserable Miracle, he vividly
describes what it is like to be a "model psychotic."
His work is of great value to psychologists and medical students.
Perhaps the outstanding instance of creative problem solving lending
itself to therapeutic implementation occurred when Kyoshi Izumi,
a prominent architect, was asked to design a mental hospital in
Canada and decided to take LSD in search of better insight into
the problem. In his words:
Psychiatrists talk one language and I talk another. They knew
what they wanted but someone had to translate their wishes into
architecture. To me there was really no other way. If I were to
really understand the fears and problems of the schizophrenic,
I would have to look at things the way they did.
Consequently, when he took LSD, Izumi paid extensive visits to
old mental institutions in an attempt to see them through the
eyes of derangement. He found himself terrified by literally dozens
of standard hospital accoutrements and features which had always
been taken for granted as adequate. The tiles on the wall glistened
eerily, thereby projecting hideous fantasies that sprang at him
from the cracks. The
recessed closets seemed to yawn like huge, dark cavities, threatening
to swallow him alive. The raised hospital beds, too high for a
patient to sit on and at the same time touch the floor, were like
crags jutting out over abysses. There was no privacy, and the
time sense was nil, due to the absence of clocks, calendars or
any other measuring device which might help a patient find his
bearings. The bars on the windows were a constant reminder of
incarceration. But worst of all were the long, endless corridors
leading into more of Nowhere which, nevertheless,
had to be traversed.
After his LSD insights, Mr. Izumi was able to design what has
been called "the ideal mental hospital." The first was
built in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and five others have been modeled
upon it elsewhere in Canada. There is a similarly-inspired hospital
in Haverford, Pa., and because commendation has been made for
this outstanding architectural advancement by the Joint Information
Service of the American Psychiatric Association, it is possible
that the present outdated hospitals will give way to new ones
resembling Izumi's designs.
The Yorkton hospital consists of small, cottage-like clusters
of rooms, thirty to a unit, joined together by underground passageways.
Seen from the air, the entire structure resembles a Maltese cross.
There are many windows, low and unbarred,
eliminating the old, dismal barnlike aspect of mental hospitals.
The walls are painted in pleasant, flat colors, and each patient
has his own room in one or another of the clusters, rather than
a bed in an austere, nearly bare ward. The beds are low to the
floor, and the rooms are furnished with regard to making it easier
to define the floor as a mere floor, not a pit. Also, the furniture
is comfortable and not unlike that with which the patient is familiar
at home. The closet problem has been solved by installing large,
moveable cabinets which the patient can clearly see possess both
a back and a front. Clocks and calendars abound, while floor tiles
are sparingly used. The emphasis throughout puts patient needs
foremost, without sacrificing utility. Izumi's ingenious designs
for mental hospitals are monuments to humanitarianism, making
it clear that LSD can be not just a "mind-or consciousness-expanding"
drug, but a "conscience-expanding" one as well. For
so many centuries the doors to compassion for the mentally ill
have been closed, barred by fear, superstition and misunderstanding.
One doctor [Dr. Savage], who had thought himself reasonably kind
and understanding, made an explicit statement regarding the therapeutic
and humanitarian implications that have flowed from experience
First, I would suggest that we be more alert for the early onset
of schizophrenia, which is commonly accompanied by strong feelings
of unreality and perceptual distortions. Very often the schizophrenic
makes early appeals for help, often repeatedly calling his friends
or his family, yet he is so blocked that he does not get his message
across. Such patients make frequent appeals to the doctor....
I believe that if we can recognize them at this point and somehow
reduce the level of anxiety, we can materially impede the perceptual
distortions and the rapid disintegration of the ego....
It is difficult to imagine "madness" with any sense
of accuracy or intensity. One can imagine blindness, to some extent,
by simply closing the eyes;
one can empathize with another "normal" personality,
regardless of sex or idiosyncrasies. But the acute derangement
of the senses falls beyond the imaginative and empathetic powers
of most individuals. This is, perhaps, the explanation for the
paucity of "inside understanding" of schizophrenia and
the general feeling of revulsion towards the insane. It may be
that LSD is on the verge of changing all this. Just as the LSD
therapists who worked with alcoholics found that the drug brought
about cooperation both with the patients and among themselves,
so those who have used psychedelics in treatment of mental disorder
are finding the same rewards and gaining new and vital knowledge.
Dr. Savage, as quoted above, has been joined by similar spokesmen
in this branch of medicine. Dr Robert C. Murphy, Jr., in a paper
entitled, "A Psycho therapist's Debt to LSD," gives
the drug credit for enabling him to become better acquainted with
his patients and to "give freely and unguardedly" of
Second, I would like to suggest that our treatment of the acute
schizophrenic reaction is all wrong. At a time when the schizophrenic
is desperately trying to hold on to some vestige of reality, we
do everything in our power to destroy his hold on reality. We
take him from his home, to a police station; from there to the
emergency hospital, then to the admission ward, and finally either
to the treatment ward or to the mental hospital. We cloud his
sensorium with soporifics and shock, dealing a blow to his grasp
on reality. We isolate him, putting him in a quiet roomas unreal
an environment as one could ask for. We change his doctors and
nurse; every eight hours a new shift comes on and several new
faces appear.... The talking is important, but more important
is the presence of another person, whom he can learn to trust
and whom he feels is capable of understanding. I think that during
an experience when time is meaningless, to have the attendant
disappear for prolonged intervals is devastating. As one subject
with LSD put it, "Your physical reality disappears, and then
your body disappears, and you have only another person and something
gets between you and the other person, and you're cut off from
the only thing that can save you."
Appreciation for this progress in physicians' under standing of
their patients (and the ensuing shifting of personal attitudes
toward the patient) was recently voiced by Norma McDonald, a former
One of the most encouraging things which has happened to me in
recent years was the discovery that I could talk to normal people
who had had the experience of taking mescaline or Iysergic acid,
and they would accept the things I told them about my adventures
in mind without asking stupid questions or withdrawing into a
safe smug world of disbelief. Schizophrenia is a lonely illness
and friends are of great importance. I have needed true friends
to help me to believe in myself when I doubted my own mind, to
encourage me with their praise, jolt me out of unrealistic ideas
with their honesty and teach me by their example how to work and
play. The discovery of LSD-25 by those who work in the field of
psychiatry has widened my circle of friends.
Today government restrictions make further LSD therapy and experimentation
virtually impossible, no matter how grave the need or plentiful
the evidence that LSD can be effective in reversing the upward
trend of mental disease. (Of
all the promising projects that were in process, only six conservative
investigations into the area of human response have been allowed
to proceed at this writing.) There is now a general despondency
among LSD practitionerswho have the feeling that they have
been needlessly "laid off" and will continue so until
the governing agencies can come to grips with the nature of the
disagreement and realistically define the role of LSD in therapy.
Dr. Langner, for instance, asks, "Do I feel any patients
are being denied an experience of significant value as a result
of non-acceptance of LSD as a therapeutic tool?" and answers,
"Yes, I do."
1. Dr. Johnsen of Modum Bads Nervesantorium
in Norway, has treated about 200 patients in 1500 sessions with
LSD, psilocybin and CZ-74. (back)
2. An account of Dr. Sandison's work with
LSD can be found in The Hallucinogenic Drugs and Their Psychotherapeutic
Use (C. C. Thomas, Inc.), edited by Crocket, Sandison and
3. [At that time] Director of Research, Spring
Grove State Hospital, Maryland. (back)
4. Dr. Kenneth Godfrey, and Dr. Fred W. Langner
of Albuquerque, New Mexico. (back)
5. Psychodrama is a technique developed by
Dr. J. L. Moreno in which the "acting out" of problems
in group therapy is the principal method used. (back)
6. This work was carried out at the Saskatchewan
Training School, Saskatchewan, Canada. (back)
7. Dr. Humphry Osmond describes the effects
of curious moldings and other standard hospital decorations upon
the mentally ill: "When you look at them with LSD, you suddenly
realize how very strange they are. In many mental hospitals there
are literally thousands of square feet of nicely polished tiles
on the walls, which act like distorting mirrors at a fun fair.
These are illusion-producing machines par excellence, and
very expensive ones at that. If your perception is a little unstable,
you may see your dear old father peering out at you from the walls
and you may become extremely frightened, particularly if it happens
you didn't get on too well with him. And even If you got on very
well, it would be a little upsetting, if he has been dead a few
8. Dr. Osmond also indicates how the mental
patients constancy of perception becomes disorganized when he
looks down a long corridor: "One of the best places to see
this without taking LSD is at the TWA Building at Kennedy Airport.
In one of the octopus-like legs of that contraption, we have inadvertently
produced a machine for destroying constancy of perception. You
cannot be sure whether the people walking toward you, along those
sinuous corridors, are dwarfs close by or normal-sized people
far away. And in such a corridor, when people walk toward you,
instead of getting closer (our normal way of describing things),
they merely seem to become larger, and if you don't realize what
is happening, this can be quite frightening. The architect who
has become sensitive to these matters, quickly recognizes the
need to avoid vague and strange spaces." (back)
9. Such a design, influenced by psychedelics,
may only coincidentally embody religious symbolism. Certainly,
however, it has an intriguing metaphorical aptness. It is interesting
to note that the Maltese cross was the symbol of the order of
the Knights of Malta (Knights Hospitalers), who in the eleventh
and twelfth centuries were noted for ministering to the sick and
10. The difficulties in describing unfamiliar
colors even to those who have their sight are yet formidable.
For instance, Webster (Third New International, Unabridged)
is put to some pains to describe "onionskin pink":
"a light brown that is stronger and slightly redder and darker
than alesan, stronger and slightly yellower and darker than blush,
lighter, stronger and slightly redder than French beige; and redder,
stronger, and slightly lighter than cork." (back)
11. From The Inner World of Mental Illness,
R. Kaplan, ed. (N.Y., Harpers, 1964) (back)
12. Some of the evidence fits well in current
psychological testing. Indications are, for instance, that the
Rorschach, while not a very good guide to the selection of patients,
does reflect LSD recoveries by a definite change in the approach
to the test. "We think the Rorschach test definitely points
to a permanent alteration of outlook in a significant number of
cases," says Dr. Sandison, "and it will be interesting
to see whether this correlates with permanent freedom from neurosis.
Looking through the results, I have been impressed by the quite
remarkable changes that have taken place in the tests over a period
of 12 months."
Dr. Savage has this to say about the effect of LSD on the depression
scale of the Minneapolis Multiphasic Personality Inventory: "I
am coming more and more to the conclusion that LSD might be the
treatment of choice with depressions, because according to MMPI
data, at any rate, it moves the depression scale down further
than anything else being used. It stays down; it doesn't come
shooting right back up." (back)