Psychedelic Therapy in the NYU Cancer Anxiety Psilocybin Program
Jeffrey Guss, M.D.
A study of psilocybin-assisted therapy for the treatment of existential distress in response to a cancer diagnosis was recently completed at the NYU School of Medicine. A model for psychedelic therapy was developed by the research team and used in conducting the preparatory sessions, dosing sessions and integration sessions. A psychedelic therapy training program was developed to prepare study therapists to work with participants. Dr. Guss will present some background ideas regarding what goes into being a psychedelic therapist, describe the ways that sessions were conducted in the study. He will then offer a model for describing the psychedelic experience in psychodynamic terms followed by some reflections on the therapist’s state of mind during therapy. We will then break into small groups to discuss the integration of our personal experiences in doing psychedelic therapy into our understanding of that process.
Jeffrey Guss, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and researcher with specializations in psychoanalytic therapy and the treatment of substance use disorders. He served as Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Therapist Training for the NYU School of Medicine’s study on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of cancer related existential distress and is a co-author of “Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial” which was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, December 2016.
Dr. Guss is interested in the integration of psychedelic therapies with contemporary psychoanalytic theory and the development of psychotherapy platforms for psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and has published in Studies in Gender and Sexuality and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. He is an Instructor and Mentor with the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Center for Psychedelic Therapies and on the board of the Center for Optimal Living’s Psychedelic Program: Education and Continuing Care.
He maintains a private practice in New York City.