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LSD and Psychotherapy: A Bibliography

By Sanford M. Unger, 1964

The Castalia Foundation republishes the following bibliography of LSD 'psychotherapy' related literature purely to preserve the history of the magazine, and to satisfy the interest of the modern reader.

The Castalia Foundation advises the modern reader that the current editorial team on The Psychedelic Review does not support the idea of 'psychotherapy' in any form. Not because 'therapy' cannot work, but because it so often does not; leaving many 'patients' more broken and abused; worse off than when they entered 'therapy. For more information on this, read our free book, MDMA Solo. Additionally, we have added a few notes to the article below to clarify our modern position on this topic.

This is a bibliography of the English-language literature on the topic of LSD psychotherapy. The first account of the use of LSD as an aid in psychotherapy was published by a pair of American investigators, Busch and Johnson, in 1950.

Since that time, claims of clinical usefulness have appeared periodically, and from many countries besides the U.S. — from England and Canada, widely from South America, from Israel, from Germany, France, Italy, Holland, and Czechoslovakia. The biblio­graphy that follows lists only English-language publications; readers interested in the foreign-language literature may consult the exhaustive LSD: Annotated Bibliography available from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Hanover, N.J.)


ABRAMSON, H. A. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) : III. As an adjunct to psychotherapy with elimination of fear pf homo­sexuality. J. Psychol., 1955, 39, 127-155.

ABRAMSON, H. A. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) : XIX. As an adjunct to brief psychotherapy, with special reference to ego enhancement. J. Psychol., 1956, 41, 199-229.

ABRAMSON, H. A. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) : XXII. Effect on transference. J. Psychol., 1956, 42, 51-98.

ABRAMSON, H. A. (Ed.). The use of LSD in psychotherapy. New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Publications, 1960.

ABRAMSON, H. A. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) : XXXII. Resolution of counter-identification conflict of father during oedipal phase of son. J. Psychol., 1961, 51, 33-87.

ANDERSON, E. W. M., & RAWNSLEY, K. Clinical studies of lysergic acid diethylamide. Manchester Psychiat., 1954, 128, 38-55. ARENDSEN-HEIN, G. W. Treatment of the neurotic patient, resistant to the usual techniques of psychotherapy, with special reference to LSD. Topic. Probl. Psychother., 1963, 4, 50-57.

BALL, J. R., & ARMSTRONG, JEAN J. The use of LSD in the treatment of the sexual perversions. Canad. Psychiat. Ass. J.., 1961, 6, 231­235.

BELDEN, E. & HITCHEN, R. The identification and treatment of an early deprivation syndrome in alcoholics by means of LSD-25. Amer. J. Psychiat., 1963, 119, 985-986.

BIERER, J., & BROWNE, 1. W. An experiment with a psychiatric night hospital. Proc. Roy. Soc. Med., 1960, 53, 930-932.

BuscH, A. K., & JOHNSON, W. C. LSD-25 as an aid in psychotherapy (preliminary report of a new drug). Dis. Nerv. Syst., 1950, /7, 241­243.

BUTTERWORTH, A. T. Some aspects of an office practice utilizing LSD-25. Psychiat. Quart., 1962, 36, 734753.

CHANDLER, A. L., & HARTMAN, M. A. LSD-25 as a facilitating agent in psychotherapy, AMA Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 1960, 2, 286-299.

CHOLDEN, L. (Ed.). Proceedings of the round table of lysergic acid diethylamide and mescaline in experimental psychiatry. New York : Grune & Stratton, 1956.

CHWELOS, N., BtEwrz-r, D. B., SMITH, C. M., & HOFFER, A. Use of LSD-25 in the treatment of chronic alcoholism. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1959, 20, 577-590.

COHEN, S. The therapeutic potential of LSD-25. In R. M. FEATHER­STONE & A. SIMON (Eds.). A pharmacologic approach to the study of the mind. Springfield, Ill. : Thomas, 1959.

COHEN, S. LSD: side effects and complications, J. New. Ment. Dis., 1960, 130, 30-40.

COHEN, S. & DITTMAN, K. S. Complications associated with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25). J. Am. Med. Ass., 1962, 181, 161-162. COHEN, S. & DITMAN, K. S. Prolonged adverse reactions to lysergic acid diethylamide, Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 1963, 8, 475-480.

COLE, J. 0. & KATZ, M. M. The psychotomimetic drugs, an overview. J. Am. Med. Ass., 1964, 187, 758-765.

CROCKET, R., SANDISON, R., & WALK, A. (Eds.). Hallucinogenic drugs and their psychotherapeutic use. Springfield, Ill. : Thomas, 1963.

CUTNER, MARGOT. Analytic work with LSD-25. Psychiat. Quart., 1959, 33, 715-757.

DENBER, H. C. B., & RINKEL, M. (Eds.). Round Table : psychodynamic and therapeutic aspects of mescaline and lysergic acid diethyl-amide. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis., 1957, 125, 423-451.

DITMAN, K. S., }LAYMAN, M., & WHITTLESEY, J. R. B. Nature and frequency of claims following LSD. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis., 1962, 134, 346-352.

EISNER, BETTY G., & COHEN, S. Psychotherapy with lysergic acid die­thylamide. J. Nerv. Ment. Dir., 1958, 127, 528-539.

FELD, M., GOODMAN, J. R., & GUIDO, J. A. Clinical and laboratory observations on LSD-25. J. Nerv. Men!. Dis., 1958, 126, 176-183. FISHER, G. Some comments concerning dosage levels of psychedelic compounds for psychotherapeutic experiences. Psychedelic Rev., 1963, 1, 208-218.

FREDERKINO, W. Intoxicant drugs (mescaline and lysergic acid diethyl-amide) in psychotherapy. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis., 1955, 121, 262-266. Hallucinogenic drugs. Lancet, 1961, 1, 444-445.

HARMAN, W. W. The issue of the consciousness-expanding drugs. Main Currents in Modern Thought, 1963, 20, 5-14.

HOLLISTER, L. E., DEGAN, R. 0., & SCHULTZ, S. D. An experimental approach to facilitation of psychotherapy by psychotomimetic drugs. J. Ment. Sci., 1962, 108, 99-101.

HOLZINGER, R. Analytic and integrative therapy with the help of LSD-25. Psychologia, 1962, 5, 131-139.

JANIGER, 0. The use of hallucinogenic agents in psychiatry. The Cali­fornia Clinician, 1959, 55, 251-259.

JENSEN, S. E. A treatment program for alcoholics in a mental hospital. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1962, 23, 243-251.

LEUNER, H., & HOLFELD, H. Psychotherapy under the influence of hallucinogens. The Physician's Panorama, 1964, 2, 13-16.

LEWIS, D. J., & SLOANE, R. B. Therapy with lysergic acid diethylamide J. Clin. & Exper. Psychopath., 1958, 19, 19-31.

LING, T. M., & BUCKMAN, J. The use of lysergic acid in individual psychotherapy. Proc. Roy. Soc. Med., 1960, 53, 927-929.

Liao, T. M., & BUCKMAN, J. Lysergic acid (LSD-25) and Ritalin in the treatment of neurosis. London : Lambarde Press, 1963. (Distri­buted in the U.S. by Medical Examination Pub. Co., Inc., Flush­ing 65, N.Y., $5.00.)

MACLEAN, J. R., MACDONALD, D. C., BYRNE, U. P., & HUBBARD, A. M. The use of LSD-25 in the treatment of alcoholism and other psychiatric problems. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1961, 22, 34-45.

MARTIN, A. JoycE. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) treatment of chronic psychoneurotic patients under day-hospital conditions. LSD and Psychotherapy: A Bibliography Internat. J. Soc. Psychiat., 1957, 3, 188-195.

O'REILLY, P. O., & REICH, GENEVIEVE. Lysergic acid and the alcoho­lic. Dis. Nerv. System, 1962, 23, 331-334.

OSMOND, H. A review of the clinical effects of psychotomimetic agents. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 1957, 66,418-434.

ROBINSON, J., DAVIES, L., SACK, E., & MORRISSEY, J. A controlled trial of abreaction with LSD-25. Brit. j. Psychiat., 1963, 109, 46-53.

Row, A., KRINSKY, L. W., & GOLDFARB, L. LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy with alcoholics. J. Psychol., 1960, 50, 85-104.

SANDISON, R. A. Psychological aspects of the LSD treatment of the neuroses. J. Ment. Sci., 1954, 100, 508-515.

SANDISON, R. A., SPENCER, A. M., & WHITELAW, J. D. A. The thera­peutic value of lysergic acid diethylamide in mental illness. J. Ment. Sci., 1954, 100, 491-507.

SANDISON, R. A., & WHITELAW, J. D. A. Further studies in the thera­peutic value of lysergic acid diethylamide in mental illness. J. Ment. Sci., 1957, 103, 332-343.

SAVAGE, C. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25). A clinical-psycho­logical study. Amer. J. Psychiat., 1952, 108, 896-900.

SAVAGE, C., STOLAROFF, M., HARMAN, W., & FADIMAN, J. Caveat! The psychedelic experience. J. Neuropsychiat., 1963, 4, 4-5.

SAVAGE, C., HARMAN, W., SAVAGE, ETHEL, & FADIMAN, J. Therapeutic effects of the LSD experience. Psychol. Rep., 1964, 14, 111-120. SCHMIEGE, G. R. The current status of LSD as a therapeutic tool: a summary of the clinical literature. J. Med. Soc. of N. J., 1963, 60, 203-207.

SCHOEN, S. LSD in psychotherapy. Am. J. Psychother., 1964, 18, 35-51. SHELTON, J. LSD : notes on the psychotherapeutic use. Mind : Psychiat. in Gen. Practice, 1963, I , 339-342.

SHERWOOD, J. N., STOLAROFF, M. J., & HARMAN, W. W. The psyche­delic experience a new concept in psychotherapy. J. Neuro­psychiat., 1962, 3, 370-375.

SMART, R. G. & STORM, T. The efficacy of LSD in the treatment of alcoholism. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1964, 25, 333-338.

SMITH, C. M. A new adjunct to the treatment of alcoholism: the hallucinogenic drugs. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1958, 19, 406-417. SMITH, C. M. Some reflections on the possible therapeutic effects of the hallucinogens. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1959, 20, 292-301.

TENENBAUM, B. Group therapy with LSD-25. Dis. Nero. Syst., 1961, 22, 459-462.

TERRILL, J., SAVAGE, C., & JACKSON, D. D. LSD, transcendence, and the new beginning. I. Nero. Ment. Dis., 1962, 135, 425-439.

UNGER, S. Mescaline, LSD, psilocybin, and personality change: a review. Psychiatry, 1963, 26, 111-125.

WARD, J. L. The psychodrama of the LSD experience : some com­ments on the biological man. Group Psychother., 1961, 14, 121­128.


I. Summary of claimed therapeutic effects: Reported therapeutic effects have recently been summarized by Schmiege (1963) as follows:

"Those using LSD in multiple doses as an adjunct to psycho­therapy feel that it is so useful because of its ability to do the fol­lowing:
  1. It helps the patient to remember and abreact both recent and childhood traumatic experiences.
  2. It increases the transference reaction while enabling the patient to discuss it more easily.
  3. It activates the patient's unconscious so as to bring forth fantastic and emotional phenomena which may be handled by the therapist as dreams.
  4. It intensifies the patient's affectivity so that excessive intellectuali72tion is less likely to occur.
  5. It allows the patient to better see his customary defences and sometimes allows him to alter them. Because of these effects, therapists feel that psychotherapy pro­gresses at a faster rate... Those who administer lysergic acid in a single dose have as their goal, in the words of Sherwood, et al. (1962), an overwhelming reaction 'in which an individual comes to experience himself in a totally new way...
Frequently, this is accompanied by a transcendental feeling of being united with the world... Some spectacular, and almost unbelievable, results have been achieved by using one dose of the drug."

Exemplary descriptions of the use of LSD as an aid, adjunct, adjuvant, or facilitating agent in traditionally-conceived therapy are contained in Sandison and co-workers (1954), Abramson (1955), Eisner and Cohen (1958), and Chandler and Hartman (1960). Exemplary accounts of the recently-formulated "new concept" procedure that is, with psychotherapy considered as preparation for a single, high-dosage, psychedelic session are contained in Chwelos and co-workers (1959), MacLean and co-workers (1961), and Sherwood and co-workers (1962).


The issue of the safety (or danger) of LSD is quite complex. Leaving subtle questions aside — that is, speaking only "medically" — LSD appears quite safe. Two recent reviews concluded as follows:
"LSD (or one of the other chemicals of this class) represents a potent and versatile tool requiring responsible handling and effective controls (as with electricity or automobiles). There are real hazards involved with casual or uninformed or mal-directed usage of the psychedelic drugs. But any agent with the power to produce benefits has also the power to do harm. Safety is not a basic issue, but often is a camouflage for issues less easy or less comfortable to examine" (Harman, 1963).
"...warranted concern over the illicit abuse of these agents should not prevent the systematic study of their possible potential in the treatment of otherwise severely treatment-resistant psychiatric conditions" (Cole and Katz, 1964).
The incidence and occurrence of side effects and prolonged adverse reactions have been dealt with in the series of papers by Cohen (1960), Cohen and Ditman (1962), and Cohen and Ditman (1963). Their conclusion (1963): "When properly employed, LSD is a rela­tively safe and important research tool." However, when improperly employed — that is, irresponsibly or unskillfully, or self-administered — the occurrence of LSD casualties is considered inevitable (opinion of the present author). It should be absolutely understood that safe and effective work with LSD (or other psychedelic agents) presupposes specialized training and experience.

The Castalia Foundation invites the modern reader to consider whether the author's requiring "specialized training and experience" is less connected to safety surrounding LSD, and more an expression of his unconscious fear that the role of the 'psychotherapist' is rendered totally redundant by psychedelics like LSD.

It is the modern position of The Castalia Foundation that 'psychotherapy' has been superseded by the responsible use of psychedelics in a solo setting. For more information, you may like to download our free book on the topic of LSD self-actualization.


There does exist a fair-sized clinical literature on psychedelic agents other than LSD. For early work with mescaline and the "Weir Mitchell treatment," see: Ross, T. A., The common neu­roses (2d ed.; London; Arnold, 1937.

Mostly paralleling the uses of LSD, there has been considerable recent work with psilocybin (see Psilocybin : Annotated Bibliography, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Han­over, N.J.). Of special interest in the psilocybin literature, in view of the patient category (recidivist convicts) is an as yet unpublished paper : Leary, T., Metzner, R., Presnell, M., Weil, G., Schwitzgebel, R., & Kinne, Sara, "A change program for adult offenders using psilocybin," in press, Psychother.: Theory, Res., Practice. For a number of other incidental items, not included in the bibliography,see: Bender, Lauretta, Goldschmidt, L., & Siva Sankar, D. V., "Treat­ment of autistic schizophrenic children with LSD-25 and UML-491," Recent Advances Biol. Psychiat., 1962, 4, 170-177 (which follows a chemo- rather than a psychotherapeutic model); and Kast, E., "The analgesic action of lysergic acid compared with dihydromorphinone and meperidine," Bull. Drug Addiction and Narcotics, 1963, Appendix 27, 3517-3529 (which recounts work with terminal cancer patients).


Following the Thalidomide tragedy, Con­gress passed restrictive legislation governing the testing and research use in man of experimental or non-introduced drugs. Since the imple­mentation of these regulations on June 7, 1963, the authorized distribution of psychedelic agents has been stringently controlled.

The Castalia Foundation invites the modern reader to consider whether this law was a theatrical device to prevent the widespread use of LSD, and the rapid awakening of humanity. Certainly, the 'government' ignored everything it learned from the "Thalidomide tragedy"; and by 2020 it was handing out authorizations to experimental medicines with no long-term safety data whatsoever — less data than even Thalidomide. Why would this be?

The intent has been to insure against misuse of these potent substances or unsafe research — which might be undertaken by well-meaning but unqualified investigators —— by surrounding them with an adequate system of checks and balances. Cole and Katz (1964) have made a more detailed statement:
"Psychotomimetic agents are legally and scientifically 'investi­gational' drugs and can only be studied by experienced investigators under carefully controlled conditions... None of these agents can legally be used, even on an investigational basis, except by investigat­ors who have filed a formal research plan with the Food and Drug Ad­ministration through a sponsoring pharmaceutical company or by investigators who have themselves taken on both the role of sponsor and of investigator and have gone through the appropriate steps for providing the necessary information concerning the safety of the agents and their proposed research use in man with the Food and Drug Administration."

Not a single, methodologically-acceptable controlled study of the efficacy of LSD-assisted psycho­therapy has yet been performed. The many claims of dramatic thera­peutic changes in such highly treatment-resistant conditions as chronic alcoholism, severe chronic neurosis, and severe personality disorder must thus be regarded as not proven (for further discussion, see Cole and Katz, 1964). (In all fairness, it may be pointed out that methodologically-acceptable controlled studies of other psychotherapies, including psychoanalysis, hardly abound in the literature.)

One controlled study is presently in progress. Financed by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and proceeding under the auspices of the Department of Medical Research, Spring Grove State Hospital, Baltimore, Md. (Dr. Albert Kurland, Director), it is designed to assess both the short-term and possibly enduring thera­peutic consequences in chronic, hospitalized alcoholics of "psychedelic therapy" — that is, two weeks of intensive psychotherapeutic prepara­tion for one single, high-dosage, continuously-monitored LSD session (averaging ten hours in duration).

The only other installation in the United States at which extensive clinical research has been pursued in recent years is the International Foundation for Advanced Study, Menlo Park, California (Dr. Charles Savage, Medical Director). For accounts of this work, see: Sherwood and co-workers (1962), Savage and co-workers (1963, 1964), as well as the as yet unpublished papers: Savage, C., Hughes, Mary A., and Mogar, R., "The effectiveness of psychedelic (LSD) therapy A preliminary report," in press, Int. J. Soc. Psychiat.; and Mogar, R., Fadiman, J., and Savage, C., "Personality changes associated with psychedelic (LSD) therapy," in press, Psychother.: Theory, Res., Practice, 1964.

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