In this highly logical and verbal society-where semantics appear to be the trafficway of human relationship-it may be disconcerting to find that words often complicate interaction rather than Simplify it. This is particularly evident in relationships where neurotic elements are present. In our culture ego defenses most commonly use verbalization as a method of manipulation and control. Words are also used, consciously or unconsciously, to deny basic motivation and intent. As our western civilization has grown toward the logical, the rational, and the scientific, attention has been diverted (sometimes forcibly) from the intuitive, the spontaneous, and the so-called irrational. This split between rational and irrational-between conscious and unconscious-makes an individual feel pulled apart. In order to operate efficiently with other people he must close off his deeper levels. The price of effective closure is a feeling of emptiness and loneliness; as a by-product creativity shrivels and dies. The use of psychedelics has made excruciatingly but excitingly clear the extent to which adults have been conditioned away from access to the unconscious during the process of growing up. The psychedelic experience gives glimpses that life is intended to be full of brilliant color, stereophonic sound, flowing dimensionality on the sensory level, and unitive and ecstatic experience in relationship to the one-or to the many.
During the past nine years of work with mind-changing drugs, the focus of our interest has turned increasingly toward the removal of barriers which stand in the way of the individual’s fulfillment of his creative potential. In the language of psychotherapy, this means concern with change of character-change of lifelong habit patterns of perception and action. Most of the patients seen and worked with have been from the hard-core residual of individuals who have not been helped by any form of ordinary psychotherapy. ‘Ne have watched the psychedelics emerge not only as the fastest potentiators of character analysis but in many cases as the only possible tools able to create conditions wherein change can occur-tools, so to speak, for opening doors closed by heavy locks and bolts of long disuse. It has been of interest and importance to discover that with knowledge and experimental experience, smaller doses can be substituted for larger ones, and less potent, less esoteric drugs can be as useful as LSD and mescaline. The techniques that make this possible also speed the process of psychotherapy. One factor is the increasing use of individuals trained in drug work and in group processes. (By “drug” is meant treatment with LSD, mescaline, Ritalin or amphetamines, used alone or in various combinations, and also experimental work by the research group with other psychedelics such as ibogaine and ololiuqui). The other is the development of a whole new series of therapeutic techniques-mostly non-verbal.