Relationship With Therapist Predicts Outcomes of Psychedelic Therapy

Clinician-patient relationship tied to depression symptoms through 12 months
Relationship With Therapist Predicts Outcomes of Psychedelic Therapy
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

FRIDAY, May 3, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- A strong relationship between the therapist and participant is associated with long-term outcomes of psychedelic-assisted therapy, according to a study published online March 14 in PLOS ONE.

Adam W. Levin, M.D., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues followed 24 adults who participated in a trial and received two doses of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and 11 hours of psychotherapy. Participants completed a therapeutic alliance questionnaire, assessing the strength of the therapist–participant relationship, questionnaires about insightful experiences they had during the drug treatment sessions, and an assessment of their depression symptoms at one week, four weeks, and up to one year after the trial’s end.

The researchers found that ratings of therapeutic alliance significantly increased from the final preparation session to one week postintervention. A stronger total alliance at the final preparation session predicted depression scores throughout follow-up. There was also a correlation seen between stronger total alliance in the final preparation session and higher peak ratings of mystical experiences and psychological insight. Furthermore, peak ratings of mystical experience and psychological insight were correlated with depression scores at four weeks. Stronger total alliance one week after the final psilocybin session predicted depression scores throughout follow-up.

"What persisted the most was the connection between the therapeutic alliance and long-term outcomes, which indicates the importance of a strong relationship," Levin said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text

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