In a recent Project Immersed episode hosted by Tyler Cymone, a panel of guests were brought together to discuss the power of Sound, Psychedelics + Altered States of Consciousness. The panel included Multidisciplinary Artist | Producer | Sound Meditation Guide, East Forest; Therapist | Creative Executive of Minds iHealth Solutions, Sara Reed; and Chief Science Officer of Wavepaths | Professor at Berklee College of Music, Dr. Bradley Vines.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy is on the rise as an alternative form of treatment for people struggling with various mental health conditions. In this discussion, panelists engaged to demystify the use of psychedelics in a therapeutic or traditional ceremonial setting as a means for personal healing; as well as highlight the influence of music on the experience. In honor of #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, in this article we will cover the key takeaways from the conversation.
1. Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy is a new form of therapy that is becoming available as a treatment option for those with significant mental health challenges.
Psychedelic-Assisted therapy is a drug-assisted therapy that offers a new approach to healing and personal transformation. The sessions are facilitated by a trained therapist and usually incorporate psychoactive substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, LSD, and others with the intention of being a catalyst for healing. Music plays a crucial role in the set and setting of psychedelic-assisted experiences and can have a profound influence on the overall experience of the patient. Research supports the fact that these therapies offer breakthrough treatment options for people suffering from conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, suppressed trauma, and more.
Learn more from Sara Reed, Therapist and Creative Executive of Minds iHealth Solutions, as she shares her definition of psychedelic-assisted therapy below:
2. Sound + Psychedelics
Psychoactive plants have long been used by ancient and indigenous cultures as a means to cleanse and purify the body and spirit, as well as a means for personal evolution and connection with the divine. These substances were often used ceremonially and almost always involved music and sound. Science supports that individually, both sound and various psychoactive substances hold tremendous potential for healing and personal transformation. When the two are combined, the power is amplified and it creates the perfect grounds for profound healing to take place.
Artists like Jon Hopkins and East Forest are blazing the trail for creators who make music for these experiences. East Forest creates music to assist people in these transformative experiences and even hosts "ceremony concerts" to experience the magic live in person. There is much care that must go into creating music for these experiences as they can be some of the most vulnerable and profound moments of a person's life. The authenticity is felt through East Forest's music, and it serves as what he calls a supportive "vehicle" for the experience.
3. Neuroscience of Sound + Psychedelic Experiences
The true power of psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions, and any form of transformative personal experience, lies in the influence it has upon the brain. Dr. Bradley Vines gave a great description of neuroplasticity, or the ability for the brain to change, which is the desired effect of any form of therapeutic practice. Dr. Vines shared that music holds great neuroplastic potential, and this is evident in the role it can play in psychedelic-assisted therapy experiences.
There is much research to support the connection between music and memory, and the ways in which music can trigger memories in the brain that may have otherwise been blocked or dormant. Dr. Bradley Vines shares with us how this information can be used in psychedelic therapy sessions, as it can help with integrating and recalling the fullness of the experience. He shares that music can act as "time stamps" for moments in the experience, which can then be more easily recalled when the person hears the music again following the experience.
Dr. Vines is the Chief Science Officer of Wavepaths, is a company that works with artists to create music for and as psychedelic therapy sessions. Wavepaths was built upon the research of its founder, Mendel Kaelen; someone who has contributed extensively to the science behind sound and psychedelic therapy experiences. Wavepaths technology creates music in real time that is tailored toward the experience of the individual patient to assist them in the most transformative journey possible. Learn more about Wavepaths at their website: www.wavepaths.com
As this emerging world continues to grow, we look forward to continuing the conversation around Sound, Psychedelics + Altered States. Stay tuned for more discussions from Project Immersed coming soon!
Do you have experience with Sound + Psychedelics? Let us know @healthandbass :)