Hallucinating Your Way To Marriage

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10/24/2002

20 West 74th Street NY, NY 10023

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

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Department of Open Minds


The William Alanson White Institute, founded in 1943 by Clara Thompson, among others, is known for its interpersonal approach to analysis. The interpersonal approach suggests that the patient is part of a complex social network that includes the therapist, and therefore the patient’s relationship to the analyst is less formal and more intimate than traditional approaches such as Freud’s. The institute’s relationship to hallucinogenics is apparently less formal as well.

What follows is a selection from Institute’s newsletter from the winter of 1968-69:

“Lima, Peru–Dr. Alberto Sequin, Director of psychiatric research at San Marcos University in Lima, has a staff that is far flung and located by pins scattered over a map of Peru. He and his staff are studying the native customs of those living in the jungles as well as those living at heights of 20,000 feet. Sequin’s mission is to learn about the mental health problems of the indigenous Indian population and to provide services for them.

There is a town in Northern Peru in which one third of all the male inhabitants are medicine men. The medicine men use a variety of herbs and native drugs, now being analyzed in the laboratories of San Marcos University. Some are hallucinogenic sub-hallucinogenic drugs. In one tribe boys are put on hallucinogens at the age of fifteen and kept on them until the age of twenty-one, at which point they marry.”

Here is a selection from the November, 1965 newsletter:

“The Institute has just received a $150,000 National institute of Mental Health three-year grant for clinical research with LSD. Dr. Charles C. Dahlberg is Principal Investigator.
The present project is unusual in that it will be a controlled clinical study of the effects of LSD on the theraputic transaction, using methods of psycholinguistic analysis. As far as is known, this is the first NIMH grant which has been awarded for the study of psychoanalytic outpatients under the influence of LSD.”

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