Episode 12

Confrontation with the Unconscious: Part One — Psychedelic Experience and Psychosis


May 22nd, 2024

1 hr 41 mins 52 secs

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About this Episode

In this episode we discuss a chapter from Scott Hill’s book, Confrontation with the Unconscious. It was our intention to cover two chapters, but in the end we managed to get through only Chapter 7: Psychedelic Experience and Psychosis.

We try to wrap our heads around useful, working models of psychosis and (attempt to) determine where this troubling and mysterious phenomenon overlaps with the psychedelic experience. In the process we toss around ideas like Washburn’s Ego and the Dynamic Ground; discuss how researchers accidentally induced “ecstatic mystical” experiences and cured a group of alcoholics of their addiction; speculate as to whether a psychotic episode has the potential to reveal insights for the experiencer; and we even come up with our own metaphor to illustrate how the ego can become overwhelmed by the unconscious.

Ultimately, we agree that psychotic experiences and psychedelic experiences appear to have a common underlying mechanism that enables unconscious material to penetrate the psychic membrane and potentially overwhelm the ego, albeit in a variety of different forms and across varying durations in time.

One question left unresolved in our discussion is this: if you have a personality disorder, are you more likely to have a psychotic experience? If you have any insight into this question, please get in touch with us…



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Music for the show by Si Mulumby.