Psychedelics, Madness, & Awakening:
Harm Reduction and Future Visions
Digital Conference, held January-April, 2021
This conference series reconsidered the contentious relationship between madness, psychedelics, and awakening. Difficult psychedelic trips and extreme emotional states can create profound opportunities for growth, but their healing and spiritual potential is often pathologized as psychotic or manic instead. Early research described psychedelics as “psychotomimetic” – imitating psychosis, suggesting complex possibilities now overlooked.
Despite some people diagnosed with psychosis, bipolar, or schizophrenia using psychedelics for recovery, today madness is excluded from psychedelic therapy and left outside the emerging conversation. As psychedelics re-enter mainstream psychiatry, it is a timely moment to open a dialogue and critical examination of the relationship between psychedelics and madness.
Please browse the pages and videos on this now-archived conference website, and join us in breaking open a vital multi-perspective conversation on psychedelics that questions the medicalization of madness and explores community harm reduction responses to spiritual awakening.
Check out the conference format and schedule.
Read more about the organizing team and the story of how the conference emerged.
Statement of Values
As an alliance of academics, practitioners, activists and people with lived experience of mental distress and non-normative states, we are committed to honoring marginalized voices. We stand in solidarity with past and present uprisings against white supremacy and other ongoing forms of colonization, and support calls for an end to psychiatric brutality and incarceration.