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Psychoanalysis and Psychedelics

In Gorelick’s words: “Freud’s legendary (mis)adventures with cocaine have drawn plenty of attention, but far less has been said about the fraught relation between the science he invented and the clinical history of psychedelics. In fact, psychoanalysis and psychedelics grew up together. At times they were even friends. Now that psychedelics are (again) going mainstream, we should return to this history and consider: what can the theory, clinical practice, and ethics of psychoanalysis learn, or relearn, from the psychedelic experience? And what can the science and big business of altered states of consciousness learn from the unconscious?”


Nathan Gorelick is Term Assistant Professor of English at Barnard College. Previously, he was Associate Professor of English at Utah Valley University, and he holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has published widely on the intersections of literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. His first book, The Unwritten Enlightenment, is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. He is currently researching the history of the relationship between psychedelics and the Freudian field, as well as how this relation may be reinvented today.


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