Ben Sessa
Consultant psychiatrist

Psychedelics: The Great Disrupters. But Why Now, and What Next?

This talk will draw on 15 years experience in psychedelic clinical research and the recent emergence of the global psychedelic healthcare industry. Highlighting how psychedelic drugs are disrupting the core pillars of psychiatric diagnosis, treatments, research methodology and public healthcare provision. We are having the Psychedelic Renaissance, but why is this happening now and, crucially, what happens next?

For over 15 years Dr Ben Sessa has been at the forefront of psychedelic research in the UK through his affiliations with Imperial College London. Ben qualified as a medical doctor from UCL in 1997 and went on to specialise in psychiatry. For 25 years he has worked as a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with young people and adult patients in the field of addictions and trauma-related psychiatry.

Ben started studying psychedelics as a junior doctor, and has taken part in research projects at Bristol University, Cardiff University and Imperial College London with LSD, psilocybin, DMT, ketamine and MDMA - receiving and/or administering all of these compounds in legal research settings.

One of the first doctors to develop the field of contemporary psychedelic research in the UK, he is the former co-founder and Head of Psychedelic Medicine at Awakn Life Sciences, a Bio-Tech company carrying out psychedelic research into addictions, with ketamine and MDMA. Awakn have opened four centres in the U.K. and Europe to date, with plans for more high street clinics in coming years, providing psychedelic psychotherapy – initially with ketamine, then with MDMA and psilocybin - for a wide range of psychiatric indications. Ben was one of the first Medical Cannabis psychiatric prescribers in the UK.

Ben is an approved and registered MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin therapist. He has led research into MDMA-assisted therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder and is published widely in the academic and medical press. Ben is the co-founder and past president of the Breaking Convention conference. He is the author of The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012/2017), the novel To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and Altered States (2021). Ben lives and works in Bristol, UK.