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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Mar 27, 2022

"One of the things that I find absolutely remarkable about psychedelic medicines is the access one can have into discovering different parts of  oneself, different ways in which we’re put together  Also, to see how we shape our worlds in a very interesting way, experientially. That has been shocking to me - to see and experience how our psychological frameworks have a coherence. They feel structural in a way that you can experience anxiety being removed and then it coming back and it being held somewhere in your body in a very distinct way. Even to be able to travel into an anxiety held in the body in a distinct way and understand its roots and origins as if it was a structure in and of itself. To say it is mind-blowing would be an understatement." 


Episode Description: We begin by discussing the medical aspects of ketamine which includes its long history of use and safety. Gita shares with us her psychoanalytic background and how it has played a central role in her work utilizing psychedelic medicines. We discuss the similarities and differences between the regressions in both treatments and share thoughts about the differing modes of therapeutic action. She describes clinical situations demonstrating the impact that a therapeutically assisted psychedelic experience can have on long-standing character impediments. We close with a reminder of the long-standing interest that psychoanalysts have had in this promising modality. 


Our Guest: Gita Vaid, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in New York City. She is a co-founder of the Center for Natural Intelligence, a multidisciplinary laboratory dedicated to psychedelic psychotherapy innovation and clinical practice. Dr. Vaid completed her residency training at NYU Medical Center and psychoanalytic training at the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. She trained as a fellow in clinical psychopharmacology and neurophysiology at New York Medical College and completed a research fellowship at NYU Medical Center. Dr. Vaid serves as the Director of Psychedelic Awareness at The Chopra Foundation and is on Faculty at The Ketamine Training Center. 


Linked Episodes: 


Recommended Readings: 

Critical Period Plasticity as a Framework for Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy Lauren Lepow, Hirofumi Morishita and Rachel Yehuda 

Frontiers of Neuroscience Sept 2021 


Pivotal Mental States Ari Brouwer and Robin Lester Carhart-Harris Journal of Psychopharmacology 1-34 2020 


Psychedelic Communitas: Intersubjective Experience During Psychedelic Group Sessions Predicts Enduring Changes in Psychological Wellbeing and Social Connectedness H. Kettner, F. E. Rosas, C. Timmerman, L. Kartner, R.L.Carhart-Harris and L. Roseman 

Frontiers of Pharmacology, March 2021 


Notes on Memory and Desire, W.R. Bion 1967) 

The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life. Daniel Stern 2004 

Psychedelic Psychotherapy : Building Wholeness Through Connection 

Gita Vaid, MD; Barry Walker, M.Ed