Erowid References Database
“Psychedelic Drug-Assisted Psychotherapy with Persons Suffering from Terminal Cancer”.
J Altered States Consciousness. 1979;5(4):309-319.
An overview of an experimental program of psychedelic drug-assisted psychotherapy for terminal cancer patients suffering from psychological distress is presented. Therapeutic procedures are described in detail. Discussion focuses on the categories
of altered states of consciousness reported by patients and their respective import for psychotherapy.
To introduce you to the cache of research experience that we will explofe together, let us first go back in time to the year 1965. At that time, while the psychotherapy research staff of the Spring Grove Hospital Center near Baltimore was conducting federally-funded investigations into the possible usefulness of LSD in the treatment of severe neuroses and alcoholism, a fortytwo- year-old female member of the research department staff was found to be terminally ill with cancer of the breast and widespread metastases. In an attempt to help mitigate her psychological distress, and to do whatever might be within the staffs capability to help her live the time remaining in as meaningful a manner as possible, the decision was made to offer her the opportunity to participate in a process of brief psychotherapy that would include a single administration of LSD, essentially in accordance with the procedures being investigated at the time in the projects with persons suffering from neuroses  and alcoholism . After discussing this possibility with her physician and family, she gave her consent and began a brief period of intensive therapy that included both individual sessions and meetings with her husband and children. Then, in a supportive physical and interpersonal environment, she was administered 200 micrograms of LSD. Her own words, taken from a subsequently written report, best describe the apex and essence of her experience:
"I was alone in a timeless world with no boundaries. There was no atmosphere; there was no color, no imagery; but there may have been light. Suddenly I recognized that I was a moment in time, created by those before me and in tum the creator of others. This was my moment and my function has been completed.
Without the time-space boundaries, life reduced itself over and over again to the least common denominator. I cannot remember the logic of the experience, but I became poignantly aware that the core of life is love. At this moment, I felt that I was reaching out to the world-to all people-but especially to those closest to me. I wept long for the wasted years, the search for identity in false places, the neglected opportunities, the emotional energy lost in basically meaningless pursuits.
Later as members of my family came, there was a closeness that seemed . new ... All noticed a change in me. I was radiant, and I seemed at peace, they said. I felt that way too. What has changed for me? I am living now, and being. I can take it as it comes. Some of my physical symptoms are gone: the excessive fatigue, some of the pains. I still get irritated occasionally and yell. I am still me, but more at peace. My family senses this and we are closer."
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