Book ID: CBB400319541

The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America (2018)


Oram, Matthew (Author)

Johns Hopkins University Press

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 288 pages
Language: English

After LSD arrived in the United States in 1949, the drug’s therapeutic promise quickly captured the interests of psychiatrists. In the decade that followed, modern psychopharmacology was born and research into the drug’s perceptual and psychological effects boomed. By the early 1960s, psychiatrists focused on a particularly promising treatment known as psychedelic therapy: a single, carefully guided, high-dose LSD session coupled with brief but intensive psychotherapy. Researchers reported an astounding 50% success rate in treating chronic alcoholism, as well as substantial improvement in patients suffering from a range of other disorders. Yet despite this success, LSD officially remained an experimental drug only. Research into its effects, psychological and otherwise, dwindled before coming to a close in the 1970s. In The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy, Matthew Oram traces the early promise and eventual demise of LSD psychotherapy in the United States. While the common perception is that LSD’s prohibition terminated legitimate research, Oram draws on FDA files and the personal papers of LSD researchers to reveal that the most significant issue was not the drug’s illegality, but the persistent question of its efficacy. The landmark Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments of 1962 installed strict standards for efficacy evaluation, which LSD researchers struggled to meet due to the unorthodox nature of their treatment.Exploring the complex interactions between clinical science, regulation, and therapeutics in American medicine, The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy explains how an age of empirical research and limited government oversight gave way to sophisticated controlled clinical trials and complex federal regulations. Analyzing the debates around how to understand and evaluate treatment efficacy, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in LSD and psychedelics, as well as mental health professionals, regulators, and scholars of the history of psychiatry, psychotherapy, drug regulation, and pharmaceutical research and development.

Reviewed By

Review Claire D. Clark (2020) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". American Historical Review (pp. 1057-1058). unapi

Review Danielle Giffort (2019) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". History of Psychiatry (pp. 506-507). unapi

Review Joshua Arduengo (2019) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 358-359). unapi

Review James Pugh (2019) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". Social History of Medicine (pp. 648-649). unapi

Review Nadine Weidman (2020) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 212-213). unapi

Review Nicolas Rasmussen (2019) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 286-288). unapi

Review M L Draper (2020) Review of "The Trials of Psychedelic Therapy: LSD Psychotherapy in America". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (pp. 221-241). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Larsen, Jens Knud
Montgomery, Sarah Fawn
Hartogsohn, Ido
Ross, Colin A.
Johnstad, Petter Grahl
Haslem, Lauren N.
History of Psychiatry
The Chemical Educator
Social Studies of Science
Science in Context
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Journal of Medical Biography
Mad Creek Books
University of Manitoba Press
The MIT Press
Harvard University Press
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana)
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Psychotropic drugs
LSD (drug)
Mental disorders and diseases
Woolley, Dilworth Wayne
Pratt, Joseph Hersey
Moss, Thelma
Hofmann, Albert
Davis, Adelle
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
21st century
19th century
United States
Saskatchewan (Canada)
Paris (France)
Saskatchewan Hospital
National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
United States. Army
Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana)

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