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Discovering a More Accessible and Supportive Treatment Option

The efficacy of group therapy in psychedelic therapy based off a study conducted by Brian Anderson and his team at UCSF

Dear friends and neighbors,

The main challenge with psychedelic research is the current model, which involves two therapists for each patient. This model may be the most effective, but it is clearly impractical as only a very small number of individuals can afford to pay for two therapists.

However, there is hope for the future of psychedelic therapy. In this interview with Dr. Brian Anderson of the University of California San Francisco Medical School, he discusses how utilizing group therapy can be effective in psychedelic therapy. This is a critical development for historical reasons, as it is the first research that demonstrates the efficacy of group therapy as part of psychedelic therapy.

This new approach can potentially provide a more affordable and accessible treatment option for those who cannot afford the traditional two-therapist model. Furthermore, it can also create a supportive and collaborative environment for patients undergoing psychedelic therapy, allowing them to share their experiences and emotions with others who are going through similar experiences. Overall, the introduction of group therapy as part of psychedelic therapy marks a promising step forward in the field of mental health treatment- and made for a groundbreaking interview.

You can listen to the audio here, or subscribe to read the transcript below.

Mind Body Health & Politics
Beyond the Trip: The Power of Group Therapy in Psychedelic Research – Brian Anderson
Escucha ahora (56 min) | We take another deep dive into the world of psychedelic research with our guest, Brian Anderson, this week. Is there a place for group therapy with psychedelic medicine and treatment? Brian just concluded a clinical trial to study just that. Working with HIV/AIDS survivors, Brian and his team focused on the efficacy of group therapy following psychedeli…
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NOTE: I am currently embarking on a new series featuring healing stories from those who have benefitted from psychedelics at the end of life, or in the face of a terminal diagnosis. I hope to interview those with direct personal experience, as well as relatives, friends, and clinicians with stories to share. Please email my producer if you would like to be interviewed on my program, and featured in a future book on this topic.

Wishing you Golden Light,

Dr. Richard Louis Miller

This podcast will always remain available at no cost. However, I’d like to offer my most loyal listeners additional options for enjoying my interviews – both as videos and transcripts.

Further Reading:


*This transcript has been simplified for easier reading without changing the core content of the dialogue. Transcription provided by Vergilius.

Dr. Richard L. Miller: Welcome to Mind Body, Health and Politics. I'm your host, Dr. Richard Louis. Miller. The mission of Mind Body, Health and politics is to enhance your physical and psychological wellbeing and encourage community. I say encourage community because I believe that human beings are basically friendly tribal animals. We like hanging around with one another. We like doing things together. Just look at all the things that we do, ranging from sewing circles to watching football games, playing cards, playing ball, getting together to eat. We love getting together to eat. We love hanging out together. There's no question about it and we are friendly about it. However, we must also be aware that there is a small percentage of us who are very different. They are predators, they are avaricious, and they would rule by a very different form of government than the democracy and republic than we've been experimenting with for over 200 years.

These people prefer dictatorships ruling from the top down, and if anything, they might prefer that we be subjects rather than citizens. You all recall that we threw off the yoke of being subjects way back in our revolution against England in the late 17 hundreds. So in the words of one of my heroes, Thomas Jefferson, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

We must stay aware and maintain the democracy and republic that we have. It's not an entitlement, it's not a given. It's something we have to work for.

Today on Mind, Body, Health and Politics, I have the privilege of interviewing Dr. Brian Anderson, a psychiatrist and clinical professor in the University of California San Francisco Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He is affiliated with the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics and the UCSF Neuroscape lab. Of particular interest, in 2018 he led an important pilot clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralized long-term AIDS survivors.

We look forward to hearing more about this research. Welcome, Brian.

Brian Anderson (02:52): Thanks, for having me.

How Brian Anderson got involved with Psychedelic research

Dr. Richard L. Miller (02:56): How did you first become involved in psychedelic research, Brian, and when did that happen?

Brian Anderson (03:05): It was a long time ago. Early on, I was lucky to have mentors and teachers who pointed me to this field. Notably, Charlie Grob, a psychiatrist at UCLA, encouraged me to attend medical school and train as a psychiatrist. So I've had exposure to this field for about 20 years.

Initially, I did not do clinical research. I worked with anthropologists and sociologists studying psychedelics in community and religious settings. I even collaborated with anthropologist Beatriz Caiuby Labate, a specialist in ayahuasca. I started investigating community uses of psychedelics almost 20 years ago. More recently, I've transitioned to clinical research and clinical trials.

Dr. Richard L. Miller (04:11): Dr. Charlie Grob has been a pioneer in psychedelic research. Despite facing many obstacles, he persevered in petitioning the government for decades until they allowed him to conduct studies. As you know, for many years psychedelic research was not a popular or safe field to work in, similar to hypnosis or human sexuality, where it could damage your career. But that has not been the case for you. It has been okay for you to research psychedelics, correct?

Brian Anderson (04:48): In recent years, the field of academic psychiatry and mental health has become much more open to investigating psychedelics as potential treatments, not just as harmful drugs. I remember when I was first training to become a doctor, people still discouraged interest in this area. It wasn't discussed as optimistically as it is today. There was even an article in the MAPS Bulletin by the late Dr. Andrew Sewell, a psychiatrist and neurologist who worked at Harvard and Yale. He wrote a great piece called "So You Want to be a Psychedelic Researcher". Even though he was studying psychedelics and cannabinoids, he discouraged young researchers from discussing it openly until they were faculty. Just in the last 10 years, that has changed a lot compared to when I first entered the field.

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Mind Body Health & Politics
Psychedelic Wisdom
Psychology, Medicine, and Spirituality
Richard L. Miller