Fear & Trembling in Lost Vagueness: The Challenging Psychedelic Experiences Project.

While much of the psychedelic research focuses on the benefits, especially psychological, of taking psychedelics or having psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, only very limited research is available into the nature and prevalence of challenging experiences, and even less has explored coping strategies and prognosis. This presentation provides a discussion of the preliminary quantitative and qualitative results of a survey of 600+ psychedelic users who have experienced prolonged difficulties following a psychedelic experience. It explores what made the experience challenging, how long the challenges lasted, and who and what methods helped with coping and integrating these experiences. Some discussion is also given to the limitations of the research and directions for future research.

Dr David Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, UK, where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and he is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, and Lecturer on the MSc Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology for Alef Trust and Liverpool John Moores University.

His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including thirteen books, such as Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019). When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness.

He has given over 400 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.