Carl Jung and the Psychedelic Brain

An Evolutionary Model of Analytical Psychology Informed by Psychedelic Neuroscience

In: International Journal of Jungian Studies
Gary Clark Adelaide University School of Medicine Australia Adelaide

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In this essay, I outline an approach to analytical psychology based on the emerging disciplines of psychedelic neuroscience and psychedelic assisted therapies. During the 1950s Jung made brief comments on the use of psychedelics in traditional cultures and therapeutic contexts. I analyse these comments in the light of consequent research in the field. Contemporary psychedelic researchers are achieving impressive results in the treatment of mental illness and various forms of existential distress. A number of theories have been proposed to explain these results. In this essay, I will explore the idea that psychedelics facilitate a transition from our recently evolved secondary consciousness associated with the default mode network, to a more affect-based form of primary consciousness. I will also apply these findings to ethnographic accounts of traditional psychedelic use in Africa and Latin America, highlighting the usefulness of a Jungian approach to this material informed by psychedelic and evolutionary neuroscience.

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