This talk explores VR scenarios designed to promote movement through phases of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and discusses a novel protocol that utilizes unique features of VR as the moderator of the psychedelic journey. The protocol was developed by Enosis Therapeutics- focussed on combining new world technology with old-world wisdom.
The unique therapeutic approach of treatment that involves psychedelic substances offers unprecedented results for our patients. At the same time, it presents a novel set of challenges, previously unconsidered in psychiatric treatment. These novel challenges require us to reach beyond familiar, established therapeutic frameworks and reach for cutting edge solutions, to maximize the potential of the healing process that is rooted in the psychedelic experience.
Set and setting protocol is the most commonly adopted framework for research that involves psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Whilst theoretically highly valuable, the key assumptions of that protocol are yet to be thoroughly explored in their practical application. What is more, basic elements of the protocol have not been challenged since its introduction several decades ago.
A transition into and out of an altered state of consciousness requires support and guidance that may not be most efficiently facilitated in standard face to face therapy. In contrast, the ineffable world of VR effortlessly inspires the sense of surrender, mindful self-exploration and consolidation of mystical or peak experiences.
Enosis Therapeutics specializes in the design of specific VR scenarios that target the unique needs that emerge as a result of an altered state of consciousness. In augmenting the set and setting protocol, our approach explores how to best use contextual design of the psychedelic journey to catalyze the process of healing and maintain the sense of permanence that follows the structured psychedelic therapy.
Our immersion models maintain a continuous, mindful, multi-sensory engagement throughout the entire therapeutic journey. VR serves as a catalyst that is congruent across preparation, dosing and integration sessions, assuming a similar role that nature played in psychedelic retreat and tribal settings.
A more congruent design is also expected to encourage an overlooked phase of the psychedelic journey, which may continue after the integration phase: self-practice. Following a clear, uninterrupted structure makes it easier for patients to continue integration privately, outside the clinic and at their own pace, for as long as they see fit.
Lastly, we use this powerful tool to delve deeper into psycho-emotional states that emerge as a result of the psychedelic experience. We do not think it coincidental that the emergence of VR and societal use of psychedelics have common roots, and believe that magnifying their shared mechanisms will offer unprecedented insights into our conscious and unconscious minds.
Agnieszka is a scientist with a background in biomedical engineering and medical imaging. She uses cutting edge biotech tools, including customised imaging robots, 3D modelling and VR, to innovate research in forensic medicine, space medicine or translational science.
Agnieszka is devoted to science outreach, extensively advocating for open science communication, community-led research and outcome transparency. For her outreach efforts, she won the best speaker award at 3D MED Australia and the MiLabs Image of the Year award, among others. Her work has been displayed worldwide, including Shanghai EXPO, Florence Biennale or Sounds of Space Exhibition in Austria/ South Africa.
Agnieszka has MSc degrees in engineering and in psychology. Her academic work was published in the Journal of Forensic Radiology and Imaging, and the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. As a freelance journalist, Agnieszka produced numerous articles on altered states of consciousness, including Transcendental Therapy: Mysticism, Psychedelics and Mental Health article for the prestigious Przekroj magazine.
Dr Prash Puspanathan, a medical doctor and former Neuropsychiatry Fellow at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, is one of Australia’s leading advocates for accessible psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. In this capacity, Prash sits on the Advisory Panel of Mind Medicine Australia and is a clinical adviser to the Australian Psychedelic Society.
Prash is also the founder of pioneering digital currency brokerage Caleb & Brown, named “Fintech Startup of the Year” in 2018 by the Australian Stockbrokers & Financial Advisors Association. Caleb & Brown, Australia’s largest personalised cryptocurrency brokerage firm, widens the suite of traditional wealth management services through the provision of bespoke digital currency solutions.
Prash has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Honours) from Monash University in Melbourne, a Masters in Psychological Medicine from the University of Melbourne, and has written for a number of publications including The Lancet and the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. In 2018, Prash was awarded Young Executive of the Year by the Australia-wide Indian Executive Council.