Unlike previous studies that focus on psychedelic therapy in individual settings that often require highly engineered clinical/lab settings, this survey study address psychedelic use in social settings. It serves as a better reflection of indigenous use of psychedelics. In this study, 866 participants answered questions at 5 times before and after participating in a retreat, ceremony, or other guided experience involving the use of a classic psychedelic containing a 5-HT2A receptor agonist (e.g., psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, or LSD).
Various scales (all previously published) were used in an effort to create a new scale of communitas - an intense sense of togetherness and shared humanity. Importantly, communitas was found to significantly predict enduring increases in psychological wellbeing and social connectedness following psychedelic use. The observed increases in psychological wellbeing are in accordance with previous research, which indicates that guided and ceremonial use of psychedelics can lead to longlasting psychologically beneficial changes.
The measurable outcomes from psychedelics are the same ones I advocate for as a DEI practitioner, traits like social connectedness, interpersonal tolerance and cognitive flexibility. The findings are incredibly significant in my mind because it's the first evidence of a socio-pharmacological intervention capable of fostering more accepting attitudes towards others whose opinions, beliefs, practices, or values differ from one’s own.
In my experiences as a DEI practitioner, facilitator and coach, my clients (whether individuals or organizations) recognize the need for a shared inclusive consciousness, but sometimes feel they lack the strategies to achieve it. It can often feel like it is just within reach.
Psychedelics can enhance individual wellbeing and personal growth, but this research indicates that they can also foster a sense of community, interpersonal trust and tolerance. In other words, there is the potential for positive change beyond the level of the individual. Perhaps a new tool to unlocking inclusion that can positively shape society exists at the intersection of corporate DEI strategies and the psychedelics industry.