Importance of Real-World Research
Although results from initial research studies are quite encouraging, the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy is in its infancy. That is, clinical trials have demonstrated that psychedelic-assisted therapies are effective for improving symptoms of severe depression, PTSD, end-of-life distress, substance use disorders, and more; however, there remain a lot of unknowns about how best to implement these therapies within healthcare settings (and beyond).
The conclusions we can draw from clinical trials are limited, as such studies take place in tightly controlled environments that do not resemble the “real world”. Study participants are overwhelmingly white, cisgendered, and financially resourced, and usually do not have complex medical or mental health conditions beyond the singular indication under investigation. While we fully acknowledge that relationships between humans and psychedelics, fungi, and plant medicines have existed within various cultures and communities for millennia, their application within a Westernized medical context is new and experimental. For these reasons, we value collecting outcomes data for the clients we serve (only with clients' consent). This allows us to evaluate the overall effectiveness of our services, as well as determine for whom and under what conditions they work best, and how to reduce costs without compromising effectiveness. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is not a “one size fits all” approach. We are committed to ongoing learning and adapting our methods as often as is needed, so that no one is left behind.
For information about other research that members of our team are involved in, please visit the Social Neuroscience and Psychotherapy (SNaP) lab at Oregon Health & Science University/the Portland VA Hospital.