Confrontation with the Unconscious: Jungian Depth Psychology and Psychedelic Experience

Confrontation with the Unconscious: Jungian Depth Psychology and Psychedelic Experience

ISBN: 9781908995070
26th July 2013
RRP: £17.95
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About the Book

Carl Gustav Jung pioneered the transformative potential of the deep unconscious. Psychedelic substances provide direct and powerful access to this inner world. How, then, might Jungian psychology help us to better understand the nature of psychedelic experiences? And how might psychedelics assist the movement toward psychological transformation described by Jung?

Jungian depth psychology and psychedelic psychotherapy are both concerned with coming to terms with unconscious drives, complexes, and symbolic images. Unaware of significant evidence for the safe clinical use of psychedelic drugs, Jung himself remained wary of psychedelics and staunchly opposed their therapeutic use. His bias has prevented Jungians from objectively considering the benefits as well as the risks of using psychedelics for psychological healing and growth.

Confrontation with the Unconscious intertwines psychedelic research, personal accounts of psychedelic experiences, and C. G. Jung’s work on trauma, the shadow, psychosis, and psychospiritual transformation—including Jung’s own “confrontation with the unconscious”— to show the relevance of Jung’s penetrating insights to the work of Stanislav Grof, Ann Shulgin, Ronald Sandison, Margot Cutner, among other psychedelic and transpersonal researchers, and to demonstrate the great value of Jung’s penetrating insights for understanding difficult psychedelic experiences and promoting safe and effective psychedelic exploration and psychotherapy.

“Scott Hill’s brilliant book presents a sophisticated analysis of how psychedelic experiences may be understood from the standpoint of Jung’s archetypal psychology.”

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. author of The Unfolding Self and other books, including The Psychedelic Experience (with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert).

“A perceptive and creative interface between the thought of Carl Jung and contemporary psychedelic research, now in its rebirth, by a scholar who skillfully articulates a profound comprehension of both realms of knowledge.”

William A. Richards, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, co-designer and principal monitor for Johns Hopkins’ landmark study on psilocybin-induced mystical experiences.

“The Jungian insights Dr. Hill provides here are invaluable for clinicians working with acute psychedelic crises and the integration of difficult psychedelic experiences They also shed light on the robust archetypal dynamics of all psychological transformation.”

David Lukoff, Ph.D., co-president of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology, and co-author of the DSM-IV category Religious or Spiritual Problem.

“A landmark study . . . . timely, impeccably researched, and wisely conceived.”

Sean Kelly, Ph.D., author of Individuation and the Absolute: Hegel, Jung, and the Path Toward Wholeness.


About the Author

Scott J. Hill, Ph. D., lives in Sweden, where he conducts scholarly research on the intersection between psychedelic studies and Jungian psychology. He holds degrees in psychology from the University of Minnesota and in philosophy and religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies.


Complete Table of Contents






Part 1         Encountering the Unconscious


1          Jung’s Confrontation with the Unconscious and its Relation to Psychedelic Experience

Psychedelic Research and Theory: A Brief History

Jung, Jungians, and Psychedelic Experience


2          Psychedelic Psychotherapy

Psycholytic and Psychedelic Models

Schools of Psychedelic Psychotherapy

An Early Jungian Approach to Psychedelic Psychotherapy


3          Basic Jungian Concepts and Principles

Consciousness and the Unconscious

The Relationship Between Consciousness and the Unconscious


Archetypes and Their Manifestation in the Psyche

Dreams and Other Symbolic Products of the Unconscious


4          Jung’s Explanation of Psychedelic Experience

A Lowering of the Threshold of Consciousness

The Limits of Integration

Ronald Sandison’s Response to Jung’s Criticism


Part 2         Jungian Insights Into Difficult Psychedelic Experiences


5          Psychedelic Experience and Trauma

Difficult Psychedelic Experiences as Potentially Traumatic

Psychedelic-Induced Trauma

Psychedelic Therapy as Treatment for Past Trauma

The Relation of Trauma in Jungian Psychology to Psychedelic Experience


Kalsched’s Model of the Psyche’s Archetypal Self-Care System

Trauma and Dissociation in Jung’s Psychology

Trauma and Jung’s Theory of the Complex

Possession by Complexes in Relation to Archaic Psychological Defenses

The Emergence of Trauma-Based Imagery in Psychedelic Experience


6          Psychedelic Experience and the Shadow

The Shadow in Jung’s Psychology

Personal and Archetypal Levels of the Shadow

The Overwhelmingly Numinous Nature of the Archetypal Psyche

Resistance to and Projection of the Shadow

The Shadow in Psychedelic Experience


7          Psychedelic Experience and Psychosis

Psychosis and Psychotic States

Psychedelics as Psychosis-Inducing Substances

From the Psychotomimetic to the Psychedelic Paradigm

The Psychotomimetic Paradigm Reconsidered

Transpersonal Explanations of Psychedelic-Induced Psychotic States


8          Psychosis in Jung’s Psychology

Jung’s Focus on Schizophrenic Forms of Psychosis

Commonalities Between Schizophrenia and Other Conditions

Neurosis, Latent Psychosis, and Manifest Psychosis

Reduced Consciousness and Psychedelic-Induced Psychotic States

Accounts of Psychedelic-Induced Psychotic States


9          Psychedelic Experience and Transformation

The Transformative Potential of Psychedelic Experiences

The Transformative Potential of Psychotic States

The Transformative Potential of Psychedelic-Induced Psychotic States


10        A Jungian Approach to the Transformative Potential of Difficult

Psychedelic Experiences

Jung on the Healing Potential of Psychotic Experiences

The Painful Passage Through the Shadow Towards Wholeness

Treating Trauma: Integration Versus Abreaction in Jung’s Psychology

Jung’s Definitions of Trauma and Abreaction

Grof’s View of Abreaction

Jung’s Critique of Abreaction

Drawing from Both Grof and Jung

The Transformative Potential of Psychedelic Psychotherapy:

Two Case Studies

Dr. Rick Strassman’s Report

Dr. Margot Cutner’s Report


Part 3         Jung’s Psychology and Psychedelic Psychotherapy


11        The Transcendent Function: Jung’s Approach to Integration


12        Jungian Psychotherapy


The Method and Purpose of Psychotherapy 

                        Gaining Access to the Unconscious

                        Coming to Terms With the Unconscious

            The Relationship Between Analyst and Patient

The Analyst

The Dialectical Relationship

The Transference

Dreams and Their Interpretation

The Sphere of the Irrational

The Purpose and Value of Dreams

The Compensating Function of Dreams


13        Implications for Psychedelic Psychotherapy

Subject Readiness

The Therapist and the Dialectical Relationship

The Compensating Function

The Significance of the Collective Unconscious

Integration and the Role of Ego-Consciousness












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