Testing Psychotherapies and Drug Therapies: The Case of Psychedelic Drugs

  • James B. Bakalar
  • Lester Grinspoon
Part of the Topics in the Neurosciences book series (TNSC, volume 9)


The drug revolution that began 30 years ago has transformed psychiatry, but it has left little imprint on psychotherapeutic procedures themselves. Little attention has been given to the possibility of using drugs directly to enhance the process of psychotherapy — fortifying the therapeutic alliance and facilitating the production of memories, fantasies, and insights. A change may now be coming; for example, a psychiatrist known for his research on the therapeutic alliance has proposed that a “pharmacotherapy of interpersonal processes” might be considered both to study and to improve the alliance [1], The wait has been long partly because the research involved is complex and hard to perform. The theoretical bases for the two types of therapy are vastly different; these differences are reflected in the way experiments arc conducted and the results are evaluated. Reconciliation and unification will not be easy to achieve. One of the best ways to see why that is so is to examine the different significance assigned to placebo effects in drug experiments and psychotherapy studies.


Placebo Effect Therapeutic Alliance Placebo Response Interpersonal Process Psychiatric Drug 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Bakalar
  • Lester Grinspoon

There are no affiliations available

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