- March 25, 2017
- 7:00 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco
1187 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Join us for a fascinating evening with Dr. William Richards and Dr. Anthony Bossis, two of the world's foremost experts on psychedelic-generated mystical experiences. Each will give a presentation and then take questions from the audience in a panel with Dr. Janis Phelps, Director of the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research.
Part 1: Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences by Dr. Richards
Dr. Richards will present and discuss selected content from his book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, recently released by Columbia University Press and heralded as a sequel to William James's Varieties of Religious Experience. Written not only for scholars of the psychology of religion, psychotherapy, neuroscience, comparative religion, theology, and drug policy, this book reaches out to all who have encountered profound, potentially transformative states of consciousness, with or without the use of psychedelic substances.
Part 2: Emergent Themes of Love and Transcendence in Psilocybin Mystical Experience Research
Clinical research at NYU School of Medicine has investigated the effects of psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience with individuals diagnosed with cancer who experience psychospiritual and end-of-life existential distress. Subjective features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, and a greater connection to deeply felt positive emotions including love.
A new clinical trial is enlisting religious leaders to participate in psilocybin-generated mystical experience research to contribute to the understanding of mystical or religious experiences. Dr. Bossis will explore the prominent, meaning-making, and potentially transformative experiences of love and transcendence that frequently emerge in psilocybin research sessions and the impact these experiences have in cultivating compassion and promoting healing.
This event is an educational program of the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research in collaboration with CIIS Public Programs & Performances.
William (Bill) Richards, STM, PhD, is a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues have pursued research with entheogens for the past 17 years, and also a clinician in private practice in Baltimore. His graduate training in clinical psychology and the psychology of religion included studies at Yale University, the University of Göttingen, Andover-Newton Theological School, Brandeis University, and Catholic University. After encountering psilocybin research in Germany in 1963, he contributed to psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA, and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center from 1967-1977. Columbia University Press has published his seminal new book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences in 2015.
Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. He was director of palliative care research, co-principal investigator, and a session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study and is the Project Director and primary session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Religious Leaders Study, a clinical trial evaluating the effects of a psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience upon religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a clinical supervisor of psychotherapy training at Bellevue Hospital, is the co-founder and former Co-Director of the Palliative Care Service and served on the NYU Chaplains Clinical Pastoral Education Advisory Committee. He has a long-standing interest in comparative religion, consciousness research, and the interface of psychology and spirituality. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in NYC.