I’m 27 year old student from the Netherlands who has been passionate about psychedelic research for a little over 5 years now. It has driven my career and educational choices, initially to a bachelors in Psychology, and subsequently a masters in Neuroscience. An introduction at ICPR in Amsterdam led to a 6 month internship at Imperial College under the tutelage of Dr. Mendel Kaelen and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, where I investigated the effects of music and LSD on functional connectivity and brain network dynamics, both in healthy participants and depressed patients. These results are being reworked for publication. Subsequently, given the current focus on clinical psychedelic research, I opted for a second masters in Clinical Psychology. Additionally, I am still collaborating with Imperial and am currently working on two psychedelic survey projects relating to music and setting (one completed and currently being analyzed, and one ongoing with expected preliminary results in June).
Setting the stage for peak experiences: Mindset, Music and Environment
LSD and other psychedelics show great promise in the treatment of mood and substance disorders, with only a single, or very few number, of treatment sessions and generally not requiring continued treatment. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is not purely an effect of the drug. Observed treatment outcomes indicate the importance of the subjective experience for sustained effects. As such, there are many non-drug factors that potentially influence treatment. Given the substantial portion of patients that do not respond, it is imperative that we investigate and apply those factors that increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Combined, these are often referred to as set & setting. Although the first wave of psychedelic research investigated some of these aspects, music as one of the more prominent, contemporary studies are attempting to systematically investigate which internal and external factors contribute to peak experiences as well as subsequent well-being.