Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development


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by Neal Goldsmith Ph.D.

From the Publisher: Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development is a biography of psychedelic medicine, taking you from its shamanic youth through its adolescent troubles with the law and into its current blossoming as a healthy and responsible member of mainstream society.

In a clear summary of cutting-edge clinical research, Goldsmith explains how the medical community has found psychedelics to be a crucial part of therapies that ease anxiety in the dying, loosen the grip of addictive drugs, relieve post-traumatic stress disorder, and help people overcome profound pain and suffering. He also tells of his own experiences using psychedelics as healing tools, and offers guidelines for working with them in psychotherapy. Psychedelic Healing is a true story about the past, present, and future of psychedelics as therapeutic tools.

Psychedelics as therapeutic catalysts for emotional and spiritual transformation: explores the latest medical research on the healing powers of entheogens, reveals the crucial role of tribal and shamanic wisdom in psychedelic medicine, provides guidelines for working with psychedelics, including the author’s personal healing and recommendations for creating change on the spiritual and societal levels.

Banned after promising research in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, the use of psychedelics as therapeutic catalysts is now being rediscovered at prestigious medical schools, such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, NYU, and UCLA. Through clinical trials to assess their use, entheogens have been found to ease anxiety in the dying, interrupt the hold of addictive drugs, cure post-traumatic stress disorder, and treat other deep-seated emotional disturbances. To date, results have been positive, and the idea of psychedelics as powerful psychiatric–and spiritual–medicines is now beginning to be accepted by the medical community.

Praise for the Book:  “Psychedelic Healing is full of knowledge and wisdom, psychologically sophisticated, and up-to-date. It contains important lessons for those wishing to work with psychedelic plants and substances, which are powerful and tricky tools for accessing the psyche. Neal Goldsmith makes a well-reasoned plea for society to use them once again because they are important tools for healing inside, healing relationships, and healing society. I enjoyed his speculation about the post-postmodern synthesis of tribal and modern. Written bravely and with open eyes, this is an important, mature book”– Jeremy Narby, Ph.D., author of The Cosmic Serpent and co-editor of Shamans Through Time

“Psychedelic Healing offers the reader a wondrous journey, capturing within one volume a guide for the use of psychedelics by therapists and patients as well as a contemporary summation of relevant research and points of history. Goldsmith bravely goes where few dare to tread, especially in his autobiographical vignettes that make clear how what is learned through psychedelic-assisted therapy can usefully be applied and integrated into everyday life. This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in learning how psychedelics may contribute to a healthier, richer, and more rewarding life rather than just assuming that these substances must be categorized as drugs of abuse. There is more to these substances than their pejorative categorizations within a Drug War: Psychedelic Healing offers an easy-to-read path to these deeper waters.”–John H. Halpern, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“Neal Goldsmith’s comprehensive, wise, and timely guide explores the impact of psychedelics throughout history and today at the level of the individual, the society, and the collective consciousness. Psychedelic Healing addresses salient theoretical questions pertinent to policy, therapy, spirituality, and philosophy and offers a bountiful harvest of hardearned insights to every reader interested in the transformative power of psychedelics. Neal has made a major contribution to ensuring the continued expansion of the psychedelic research renaissance. Psychedelic Healing will enable motivated readers to work more effectively to create a world where the mature use of psychedelics for spiritual, psychological, and medical purposes is both accepted and appreciated.”–Rick Doblin, Ph.D., executive director, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

“In this lively and provocative book, Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D., makes the case for a ‘Psychedelic Renaissance,’ one in which LSD-type substances would be rescheduled in the United States, permitting their applications in psychotherapy and medicine. Psychedelic Healing presents considerable evidence from the research and clinical literature, as well as from Goldsmith’s own experiences, that psychedelics can relieve pain, change personality, foster spiritual growth, and promote community harmony. After reading this book, many of his readers will be persuaded that this renaissance cannot come a day too soon!”–Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University, and coauthor of Personal Mythology

“Written with personal warmth and passionate engagement, Psychedelic Healing makes a compelling case for the medical and social benefits of a therapy practice that encompasses substance-induced experiences of transcendence. With scrupulous care, Neal Goldsmith explores the great promise of this reemerging field, while proposing a path forward that avoids the mistakes made a generation ago. This book is valuable reading for those who would like to see a crucial new chapter open in consciousness studies and the mental health field.”–Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head

“A thoroughly researched and engaging discussion of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, profiling not just the drugs, but many luminaries in the psychedelic research field. Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of set, setting, and ritual on outcome. By chronicling his own growth and transformation he answers the question, ‘Is fundamental personality change possible?’ with an emphatic ‘Yes!'”– Julie Holland, M.D., editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis

“When we look back at the extraordinary cultural transformations of the past forty years, there is one ingredient in the recipe of social change that is consistently and inexplicably expunged from the record. And that is the fact that countless thousands, indeed millions, of young at some point in their lives lay prostrate before the gates of awe having taken a psychedelic. Neal Goldsmith’s insightful book suggests that perhaps we might do well by doing the same.”– Wade Davis, award-winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker, author, and photographer

“Neal Goldsmith’s comprehensive analysis of the healing power of psychedelics puts the medical, spiritual, and legal status of these soul medicines in a passionate, well-informed voice.”–Alex Grey, author of Sacred Mirrors and Transfigurations.

About the Author: “I am a therapist and counselor with a private practice in New York City.  I take a psychospiritual approach to personal development, healing and change.  In my practice, I employ innovative methods drawn from Psychosynthesis, Imago Relationship Therapy, yoga psychology and other humanistic, transpersonal and eastern traditions.  I’m particularly helpful with couples, existential and midlife crisis, and resistance to change.

What differentiates me from most therapists is that, over time, I have come to see that behavior labeled “neurotic” is not pathological at all.  Instead, I view “neurosis” as the whole organism’s natural response to developmental stress on the path to maturation.  In my view, “neurosis” is better seen as developmental challenge, the surmounting of which brings maturity – wisdom – rather than as pathology.  Neurochemical, often genetic mental illness, such as schizophrenia, must be treated by psychiatrists (doctors who can prescribe medical, nowadays usually pharmacological, treatment).  I try to return psychology to the study of the unfolding psyche in all it’s beauty and complexity rather than pursue the medical model.  ~ Neal Goldsmith Ph.D.

About the Author: Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist specializing in psychospiritual development. A frequent speaker on spiritual emergence, drug policy reform, and post-modern society, he lives in New York.

ISBN-10: 1594772509    –    ISBN-13: 978-1594772504

Additional information

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 8.9 × 5.9 × 0.6 in