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The Past Lives of Betty Eisner: Examining the Spiritual Psyche of Early Psychedelic Therapy through the Story of a Outsider, a Pioneer, and a Villain

The Past Lives of Betty Eisner: Examining the Spiritual Psyche of Early Psychedelic Therapy through the Story of a Outsider, a Pioneer, and a Villain

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Title: The Past Lives of Betty Eisner: Examining the Spiritual Psyche of Early Psychedelic Therapy through the Story of a Outsider, a Pioneer, and a Villain
Author: Davidson, Tal
Abstract: In this thesis, I argue that early LSD research was imbued with a sense of mysticism that was constructed to be commensurable with concurrent scientific epistemology. I demonstrate how mysticism entered psychedelic research and therapy through the history of a pioneer LSD psychotherapist named Betty Eisner. Since the late 1940s, Eisner was a key member of a bible study group that emphasized the psychological foundation of mystical experiences. When she entered psychology in the 1950s, she imported this influence into her research and therapy. As an active member of the small international LSD research community of the 50s and 60s, she participated in ongoing discussions about the place of mysticism in LSD psychotherapy. However, following malpractice accusations in the 1970s, Eisner lost her clinical license. Using records from her license revocation hearings, I will contextualize her work within the larger psychology professions attitudes toward mystically inspired therapy.
Subject: History of science
Keywords: Psychedelics
Lsd
Betty Eisner
Humanistic psychology
Human potential movement
History
History of psychology
Psychotherapy
Psychedelic psychotherapy
California
Esalen
Group therapy
Rolfing
Ketamine
Ritalin
Lysergic acid diethylamide
Psychedelic renaissance
Psychopharmacology
Alternative medicine
Counterculture
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34493
Supervisor: Rutherford, Alexandra
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Program: Psychology(Functional Area: History and Theory)
Exam date: 2017-10-26
Publish on: 2018-05-28

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