Episode 10 : Torsten Passie

“MDMA can be helpful for more conditions than just PTSD - I’m sure about that…”

Torsten Passie M.D.

In this podcast, I sat down with Torsten Passie MD, PhD. Torsten is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Hannover Medical School (Germany) and currently Visiting Scientist at Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). In addition to having a rather fabulous ‘Germanic turn of phrase,’ Torsten is also a preeminent academic scholar in the field of therapeutic psychedelia and is the author of, The science of micro-dosing psychedelics’, - available through Psychedelic Press.

In this Podcast we discuss:

  • The ‘loose science’ that led to the instantiation of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Persisting Disorder (HPPD) as a ‘thing’ 3 mins

  • The asymmetrical support of negative case studies in historical psychedelic research leading to publication bias and scientific artefact

  • Torsten’s scholarly work on HPPD 6 mins

  • The presence of HPPD in ICD 10

  • Torsten’s thoughts on a potential personality/neurological profile for people who have a tendency of HPPD ‘like’ symptoms 12 mins

  • the possible overlap for people to be fantasy proneness, absorption capacity, and hypnotic suggestibility 13 mins

  • The possible need to screen for dissociative tendencies 16 mins

  • Torsten’s belief that MDMA could counteract such dissociative tendencies by functioning as an ‘anti dissociative’ compound 17 mins

  • The broad scope of the Breaking Convention conference, 18 mins

  • The off label potential of MDMA 20 Mins

  • The potential pitfall of sexual abuse in the field of psychedelic therapy 23 mins

  • Torsten’s suggestion for a model of multidisciplinary accountability to protect against sexual misconduct and narcissistic, renegade therapists. 24 mins

  • The problem of the prevailing paradigm of pharmacological and non-pharmacological ‘blunting’ in psychiatry and how the profession will be forced to reckon with this when attempting to incorporate psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy into treatment protocols 25 mins

  • The possible false dawn of genomics 29 mins

  • How Torsten became ‘mystically and existentially disrupted’ - (much more detail given on this podcast and this one)

  • The interesting interplay of psychedelics and personality 33 mins

  • The Eleusinian mysteries 38 mins

  • Transference phenomena 43mins

  • The concern about the monopoly of training protocols and the resultant dogma 45 mins

  • Niall’s concern that ‘not all CPD is created equal’ 47 mins

  • The fact that bad trips for therapists still constitute a learning experience, as in the words of Sam Harris, ‘it increases one’s respect for the tenuous condition of sanity, as well as one’s compassion for people who suffer from mental illness. 51 min

  • The importance of the therapist’s personal experience with the full suite of psychedelic phenomena - as a mechanism to generate trust and safety in the ind of the client 53 min

  • Using non-pharmacological induced altered states of consciousness through techniques like holotropic breathwork and hypnosis as a legal way to familiarise both clients and therapists with non-ordinary states 56 mins

Prof Torsten Passie

Psychiatrist and Psychedelic researcher

Torsten Passie MD, PhD is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Hannover Medical School (Germany) and currently Visiting Scientist at Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main (Germany).

He studied philosophy, sociology (MA) at Leibniz-University, Hannover and medicine at Hannover Medical School. He worked at the Psychiatric University Clinic in Zürich (Switzerland) and with Professor Hanscarl Leuner (Göttingen), the leading European authority on hallucinogenic drugs.

From 1998 to 2010 he was a scientist and psychiatrist at Hannover Medical school (Germany) where he researched the addictions and the psychophysiology of altered states of consciousness and their healing potential, including clinical research with hallucinogenic drugs (cannabis, ketamine, nitrous oxide, psilocybin). In 2012-2015 he was Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA).

He is the author of the science of micro-dosing psychedelics, available through psychedelic press.

Niall Campbell