Psychedelics and Behaviour Change

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Welcome to my blog entitled ‘Psychedelics and Behaviour Change’. It is heavily influenced by a recent paper “Psychedelics and health behaviour change” by Teixeira et al.

Before we start, other blogs that you might be interested in, include:

Psychedelic substances such as psilocybin could be used to assist in promoting positive lifestyle change conducive to good overall health. (1)

Could psychedelic experiences increase self-determination?

This is a question the authors ask in the paper.

They define self-determination as “the degree of self-endorsement of one’s actions at the highest order of reflection“.

Self-determined motivation is consistently associated with improved psychological well-being and with engagement with—and persistence in—a variety of tasks and long-term behaviours. (1)

What Is Self-Determination Theory (SDT)?

The authors go on to explain how according to self-determination theory, at the root of self-determined motivation and behaviour is the satisfaction of the three psychological needs:

  • Competence
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness

SDT proposes that these three psychological needs are essential for mental health and for psychological growth. The theory suggests that human beings are naturally inclined to ‘engage in interesting activities, to exercise capacities, to pursue connectedness in social groups, and to integrate intra-psychic and interpersonal experiences into a relative unity’ but this will occur only to the extent basic psychological needs are satisfied.

We hypothesise that competence (akin to a sense of self-efficacy and confidence in one’s capacities), autonomy (i.e., whole- hearted self-endorsement of one’s actions) and interpersonal relatedness are all factors which psychedelics could plausibly influence. (1)

Integrating Psychedelics With Therapies

The authors also discuss how the “therapeutic container” for such work could be the ACE model (Accept, Connect, Embody).

This model was created by Rosalind Watts and used to support patients undergoing psilocybin treatment for depression (Watts and Luoma, 2020).

It is based on “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” or ACT which has also been proposed as a model for psychedelic therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing could also be used as therapeutic containers.

Conclusion:

It is clear to me that psychedelics have a huge capacity to facilitate positive lifestyle behaviour change. Our understanding of how they work in the brain with Dr. Carhart-Harris REBUS Model, to the role they have played in clinical studies investigation addiction, to the endless anecdotal reports of people noticing positive changes after psychedelic experiences all demonstrate their benefit within this context.

I’d love to hear from you.

How have psychedelics changed your behaviour and lifestyle? And if you’re happy, I’ll add it to the blog as an anonymous story!

References:

  1. Psychedelics and health behaviour change (click here)
  2. Associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases (click here)
  3. Associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and markers of physical health (click here)
  4. Microdosing psychedelics: Motivations, subjective effects and harm reduction (click here)
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