Consciousness and Addiction Recovery
For thousands of years, philosophers, theologians, and even more recently, scientists, have theorized about consciousness, particularly, where it exists in the body. Recent research suggests that at least part of the phenomenon of consciousness may be a cooperative activity in several parts of the brain. However, consciousness is likely more than the firing of specific parts of the brain and now, with new neuroimaging tools, scientists are poised to learn more about consciousness.
This June, I have the honor and privilege of traveling to Helsinki, Finland, to participate in the “Toward a Science of Consciousness” conference. Not only will I speak on the subject of shifting consciousness as an important part of addiction recovery, I will also have the opportunity to hear about the latest research in consciousness studies, research that may be applicable to improving not only addiction treatment, but mental health treatment in general.
One area of particular interest to me is the use of entheogenic substances in the treatment of disorders such as addiction, depression and PTSD. Entheogenic substances are those that cause what some call hallucinations or others define as spiritual experience. In these altered or heightened states of awareness, individuals have claimed to have life altering shifts in the way they perceive and act in the world, which could in theory shift the hold depression or addiction, as two examples, have on an individual, making the work of psychotherapy and other treatments take hold more quickly and effectively. In preliminary studies, the use of entheogenic substances has proven to be without side effects, when used in clinical settings.
While we still know very little about consciousness, we do suspect that shifting perspectives and even changes in consciousness, in the metaphysical sense, may be responsible, at least in part, for recovery from several psychological disorders. As this research develops, Cliffside Malibu will be on the cutting-edge of its application.