The MIND Foundation Resources consist of three main segments: Psychedelic Compendium, Multimedia Trove, and the Berlin Registry.

The Resources section was created to give an up-to-date overview of German and international journalistic coverage, high-quality research publications, as well as further media on psychedelic research topics. 

Enjoy our documentation of growing academic interest in psychedelic experience, and its applications in the medical field as well as self-development processes. 

Our Resources for you: 

The Psychedelic Compendium comprises carefully curated and annotated readings on key topics in psychedelic research and implementation. Among these are four categories:

  • Lists for Researchers,
  • Lists for Physicians & Therapists, 
  • and Lists for Press & Journalists,
  • and Lists for Patients. 

The first two categories summarize scientific publications. Reading Lists for Press & Journalists comprise high-quality journalistic publications from the German and international context. The category of Lists for Patients includes a mix of educational literature.

The Multimedia Trove presents a selection of recommended non-fiction literature, biographies and fiction, podcasts, feature films, and documentaries related to psychedelic research, society, and cultural history. 

The Berlin Registry is a regularly updated overview of companies that are involved in the psychedelic industry worldwide. The interactive map provides an insight into currently active companies and their ongoing projects. 

Enjoy browsing our resources!

Psychedelic Compendium

Further Resources

Research Instruments

Presented here are a variety of tools that assist scientific inquiry, such as questionnaires. Some of these research instruments have been created by those in the MIND family, while some are shared by our collaborators.

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The Berlin Registry is an interactive and regularly updated overview of companies that are involved in the psychedelic industry worldwide. Our interactive map provides an insight into currently active companies and their ongoing projects.

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The Multimedia Trove presents a selection of recommended non-fiction literature, biographies and fiction, podcasts, feature films, and documentaries related to psychedelic research, society, and cultural history.

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We support and conduct high-quality psychedelic research

The MIND Foundation’s research projects are geared towards evidence-based practice and high-quality science. For many of these projects, we are working together with universities in and outside of Germany and in collaboration with our Scientific Advisory Board. We invite you to explore our current projects, which are listed below.

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Principal investigator Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Gründer has received the final approval for a psilocybin depression study (EPIsoDE) at the Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim and the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin.  The MIND Foundation is a cooperation partner in the EPIsoDE study.

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Studies & Surveys

Find out more about participation in studies and online surveys. You will find studies & surveys that are directly supported by MIND as well as those conducted by other universities and institutes, which are featured here.

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Psychedelic research has implications for a wide range of people and professions. Check out some useful resources for newcomers and those looking to deepen their understanding of the subject.

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uniMIND sets up academic journal clubs across the world to discuss psychedelic research. Students as well as senior academics of any level and any background are invited to engage in critical discourse on altered states of consciousness and psychedelics.

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MIND Awards

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the psychedelic research and therapy field, we award young and established academics prizes of various kinds. Usually at the INSIGHT conference.

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Research Fellowships

The MIND Foundation’s Research Fellowship program 2020 provides two fellowships for doctoral students.

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Combining Psychedelics and 12-Step Programs for Substance Use Disorders

  • Blog
  • Science
  • Interview
  • 7 minutes
noiembrie 12, 2021

Incoming Assistant Professor

David currently studies the subjective and behavioral effects of psychedelic substances as well as their treatment potential.

View full profile ››

Ph.D. Candidate

Lukas Basedow's research is in the field of adolescent substance abuse at the medical faculty of the TU Dresden.

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This interview is about the following publication: Yaden, D. B., Berghella, A. P., Regier, P. S., Garcia-Romeu, A., Johnson, M. W., & Hendricks, P. S. (2021). Classic psychedelics in the treatment of substance use disorder: Potential synergies with twelve-step programs. International Journal of Drug Policy, 98, 103380.

Treatment for people with substance use disorders is often based on classical psychotherapeutic principles, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy. However, two unorthodox approaches have existed since the 1950s that, at first glance, seem to incorporate opposing principles: 12-step abstinence-based programs and psychedelic therapy. In this interview, I exchange with David Yaden, PhD, who recently published a paper with his colleagues from John Hopkins University, in which they discuss potential synergies between these two treatment modalities.

L: For our readers who may be are unaware of this concept, could you shortly explain what 12-step programs are?

D: 12-step programs are peer-support groups that follow a guiding set of principles to help members maintain sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step program, and probably the one that most people are familiar with. Nowadays, there are 12-step groups intended to help with most addictive drugs as well as behaviors like gambling.

12-step groups sit a little uneasily with mainstream addiction treatments. While many clinicians encourage their patients to seek out 12-step groups as an adjunct to evidence-based therapies or treatments, 12-step programs are not themselves considered part of medical or clinical treatments. Moreover, many 12-step programs do not allow members to participate in some evidence-based drug treatments such as medication assisted treatments (e.g., methadone), which is considered a controversial practice among evidence-based clinicians and researchers who see this as preventing effective treatment. Lastly, a large Cochrane review showed that there is evidence suggesting that 12-step programs are effective for some people.1 There are a complex set of dynamics at play here.

L: What do you think is the broad appeal of 12-step programs? Why has this program been able to spread successfully across the whole globe?

D: 12-step programs benefit from its members, who are often extremely engaged and can provide social connection and support to people who are often lacking it in their lives. The social support that many 12-step programs provide goes well beyond the amount of time that clinicians can provide due to the constraints of their schedules. For example, 12-step program members are teamed with another 12-step program member, who plays the role of a “sponsor.” New members can generally call their sponsor at any hour, day or night, if they are tempted to relapse or if they simply need someone to talk to.

Additionally, the 12-steps themselves are very easy to understand, and provide as their name implies, a step-by-step process to regain sobriety and remain sober.

Finally, 12-step programs are usually easily accessible and free, while healthcare resources can sometimes be inaccessible and/or difficult to afford in the US.

L: The 12-step programs explicitly mention spiritual experiences as catalysts of change. Could you elaborate on what is meant by that?  What is considered a spiritual experience in 12-step programs and how does this experience differ from or is similar to experiences induced by psychedelic substances?

D: The 12-step programs stem from Bill Wilson’s writings. Bill Wilson (b. 1895 – d. 1971) co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) after he achieved sobriety during a moment that he considered a “spiritual experience.” Here is Bill Wilson describing his experience:

“Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me was a wonderful feeling of Presence. A great peace stole over me and I thought, “No matter how wrong things seem to be, they are all right…” (quoted by Ernest Kurtz2)

Notably, Bill Wilson was being treated with a substance called Scopolamine, which some consider a psychedelic (though it is not a classic psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD). He was undergoing treatment for alcoholism in a New York City hospital under the care of a physician who was attempting a new form of treatment. Most people are unaware that Bill Wilson’s first spiritual experience occurred under the influence of a psychedelic-like substance!

Spiritual experience plays a prominent role in 12 step programs. After all, it’s part of the 12 steps. The 12th and final step reads: “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”3

L: With regards to your paper: What led you to think that synergies between psychedelic use and 12-steps programs could exist?

D: The spiritual experience that Bill Wilson described as prompting his sobriety is very similar to the subjective effects reported by many people taking psychedelics.  Bill himself made this point. Later in his life, Bill tried LSD (a classic psychedelic) under the care of a physician. He appeared to benefit from these psychedelic treatments, and Wilson provided a positive endorsement:

“It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God’s grace possible If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going – well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone.” 4

Wilson’s endorsement of psychedelic treatments may surprise people – it certainly surprised us when we learned about it. According to one scholar, Joe Miller, who wrote US of AA, this fact may have even been actively suppressed by the board of AA.

L: So, what actual synergies do you see? Do you believe there is a benefit to combining the two approaches?

D: I want to be very clear on this point – in the paper, we are neither advocating nor denouncing the combination of psychedelics with 12-step programs.

However, we can’t help but notice the substantial similarities between psychedelic treatments, which many people report resulting in a spiritual-type experience, and the aims of 12-step programs, which aim to provide a kind of spiritual experience as a result of working the steps.

We thought it was interesting that 12-step programs tend to disallow members from participating in medication assisted treatments (MAT) because they are seen as “swapping one drug for another.” This can be unfortunate considering that MAT has been shown to be among the most effective ways of keeping people who have substance use disorders alive.

We were curious as to whether some 12-step programs might make an exception for treatments with psychedelics. Indeed, while they are drugs or kinds of medication, they provide experiences that are similar to (or identical to in some cases) the spiritual experiences that are at the heart of 12-step programs. Meanwhile, the founder of AA advocated combining 12-step programs with psychedelic treatments – and it could be that knowing about this endorsement from AA’s founder might be impactful or at least interesting to some members of 12-step programs.

L: Regarding the integration of psychedelics into 12-steps: What would the actual practice look like? How could psychedelics be integrated into a 12-step program?

D: We could imagine a few different possibilities – call the possible models initiatory, intermittent, or culmination. An initiatory model would suggest undergoing a psychedelic experience toward the beginning of the 12-step process in order to provide more motivation during what may be a difficult period of transition. An intermittent model might involve periodically engaging in psychedelic treatments over the course of the 12-step process, maybe once every few months or so, in order to maintain the momentum of treatment and sobriety. Lastly, a culmination model might involve having the psychedelic treatment along with the 12th and final step as a kind of capstone to, and opportunity to reflect on, the entire process.

Again, these are just some possibilities, we don’t really know how this integration might look in the real world. It’s a topic that’s worth studying and would require interdisciplinary teams to do the research well. Let me reiterate that both here and in the paper, we are neither advocating or denouncing the combination of psychedelics with 12-step programs, but merely considering the subject.

L: What do you think the next steps would look like for this line of research? What are important aspects about this combination that need to be explored?

D: We’re launching some research projects to study groups that are apparently already engaged in integrating psychedelics into the 12-step process. Yet again, I want to reiterate that we’re not supporting or condoning integrating psychedelics into 12-step groups (it is currently illegal in the US and therefore legally risky). But we do want to learn more about this practice – the potential safety issues that come up, whether it’s effective, and how the integration fits with 12-step philosophy as well as with current mainstream evidence-based treatments. There are a number of interesting and important psychological, medical, legal, and anthropological questions to address in this framework.

L: Finally, what would the best possible care for patients with substance use disorders look like? What do you envision the ideal future of treatment to look like?

D: I am a psychological and psychopharmacological researcher, so I study psychological and pharmacological interventions. I think there is a great deal of progress that can be made on both of these fronts. It’s important to note that there are treatments currently available for people who suffer from substance use disorders, and I encourage this population to take advantage of these existing evidence-based treatments.

Learn more about substance use disorders on MIND’s Elements of Science.

At our lab at Johns Hopkins, the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, we are conducting studies and collecting promising data on the potential efficacy of psychedelics for the treatment of substance use disorders. We need more and better research to follow-up on preliminary findings (something that researchers like Matt Johnson, Albert Garcia-Romeu, and Peter Hendricks are currently working on), but it does seem that psychedelics have the potential to help treat some patients with substance use disorders. On the other hand, community-based peer support groups like 12-step programs also appear to be effective, as the recent Cochrane review showed.

Ultimately, though, several larger social forces and policy-related issues need to be addressed to allow people with substances use disorders to obtain access to the services and resources they need.

To summarize, “the best possible care for substance use disorders” would likely involve the integration of access to economic resources and social services. The same goes for psychological and pharmacological treatments. There are no easy or simple solutions here.

The aim of our paper was to highlight a somewhat complicated situation – integrating psychedelics into 12-step programs – and to try to understand their dynamics a little better. I think we probably succeeded more in raising questions than we did at providing concrete answers.

Our work at MIND relies on donations from people like you.

If you share our vision and want to support psychedelic research and education, we are grateful for any amount you can give.

  1. Kelly JF, Humphreys K, Ferri M. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 30];(3). Available from:
  2. Kurtz E. A.A.: The Story by Ernest Kurtz. Harpercollins; 1988.
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. 4th ed. Hazelden; 2001.
  4. Hartigan F. Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson. Thomas Dunne Books; 2000. 256 p.

Die Ressourcen der MIND Foundation bestehen aus drei Hauptsegmenten: Psychedelic Compendium, Multimedia Trove und die Berlin Registry.

Die Rubrik Ressourcen wurde geschaffen, um einen aktuellen Überblick über deutsche sowie internationale journalistische Berichterstattung, hochwertige Forschungspublikationen und weitere Medien zu psychedelischen Forschungsthemen zu geben.

Nutzen Sie unsere Dokumentation der wachsenden akademischen Beschäftigung mit psychedelischen Erfahrungen und deren Anwendungen im medizinischen Bereich und Selbstentwicklungsprozessen.

Unsere Ressourcen für Sie:

Das Psychedelic Compendium umfasst sorgfältig kuratierte und kommentierte Literatur zu wichtigen Themen der psychedelischen Forschung und Anwendung. Darunter befinden sich vier Kategorien:

  • Listen für Forschende,
  • Listen für Ärzte & Therapeuten,
  • und Listen für Presse & Journalisten,
  • und Listen für Patienten.

Die ersten beiden Kategorien fassen wissenschaftliche Publikationen zusammen. Die Leselisten für Presse & Journalisten umfassen hochwertige journalistische Publikationen aus dem deutschen und internationalen Kontext. Die Kategorie Listen für Patienten enthält einen Mischung informativer Literatur.

Die Multimedia Trove präsentiert eine Auswahl an empfehlenswerter Sachliteratur, Biografien und Belletristik, Podcasts, Spielfilmen und Dokumentationen mit Bezug zur psychedelischen Forschung, Gesellschaft und Kulturgeschichte.

Die Berlin Registry ist eine regelmäßig aktualisierte Übersicht über Unternehmen, die weltweit in der psychedelischen Industrie tätig sind. Die interaktive Karte gibt einen Einblick in derzeit aktive Firmen und ihre laufenden Projekte.

Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Freude beim Durchstöbern unserer Ressourcen!

Psychedelic Compendium

Further Resources

Weitere Ressourcen


Hier werden eine Reihe von Instrumenten vorgestellt, die die wissenschaftliche Untersuchung unterstützen, wie z. B. Fragebögen. Einige dieser Forschungsinstrumente wurden von den Angehörigen der MIND-Familie erstellt, während andere von unseren Kooperationspartnern zur Verfügung gestellt wurden.

Research Instruments


Die Berlin Registry ist eine interaktive und regelmäßig aktualisierte Übersicht über Unternehmen, die in der psychedelischen Industrie tätig sind. Unsere interaktive Karte gibt einen Einblick in aktuell aktive Unternehmen und deren laufende Projekte.

The Berlin Registry


Die Multimedia Trove präsentiert eine Auswahl empfehlenswerter Sachliteratur, Biografien und Belletristik, Podcasts, Spielfilmen und Dokumentationen mit Bezug zur psychedelischen Forschung, Gesellschaft und Kulturgeschichte.

Multimedia Trove
Wir unterstützen und führen hochwertige psychedelische Forschung durch

Die Forschungsprojekte der MIND Foundation sind auf evidenzbasierte Praxis und qualitativ hochwertige Wissenschaft ausgerichtet. In vielen unserer Projekte arbeiten wir gemeinsam mit Universitäten in- und außerhalb Deutschlands, sowie in Zusammenarbeit mit unserem wissenschaftlichen Beirat. Wir laden Sie ein, sich über unsere aktuellen Projekte zu informieren, die im Folgenden aufgeführt sind.

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Die geplante Studie wurde initiiert und wird geleitet von Studienleiter Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Gründer am Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim des Universitätsklinikums Heidelberg. Wir arbeiten mit beiden Studienzentren in Mannheim und an der Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin zusammen.

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Studien & Umfragen

Erfahren Sie mehr über die Teilnahme an Studien und Online-Umfragen. Sie finden hier sowohl Studien & Umfragen, die direkt von MIND unterstützt werden, als auch solche, die von anderen Universitäten und Instituten durchgeführt werden, die hier vorgestellt werden.

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Die psychedelische Forschung hat Implikationen für ein breites Spektrum von Menschen und Berufen. Wir stellen nützliche Ressourcen zur Verfügung und erweitern diese ständig.

Für Neulinge und diejenigen, die ihr Verständnis des Themas vertiefen möchten.

Erfahren Sie mehr


Mit uniMIND entstehen weltweit akademische Journalclubs zur Diskussion psychedelischer Forschung. Sowohl Studierende als auch höherrangige Akademiker sind eingeladen, sich am kritischen Diskurs über veränderte Bewusstseinszustände und Psychedelika zu beteiligen.

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MIND Awards

In Anerkennung herausragender Beiträge zum Feld psychedelischer Forschung und Therapie verleihen wir jungen sowie etablierten WissenschaftlerInnen Preise unterschiedlicher Art. Die Verleihung findet in der Regel auf der INSIGHT Konferenz statt.

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Die MIND Foundation stellt jährlich Stipendien für Doktoranden zur Verfügung.

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Social Interoception

The case for treating mental illnesses through the body, in a social setting
  • Blog
  • Science
  • Essay
  • 10 minutes
mai 1, 2020

The growing field of social interoception—which examines how social emotions arise from subjective appraisal of bodily states—calls for a rebranding of mental health issues as “social health issues” and builds the case for new forms of embodied social treatment, including psychedelic-assisted therapy. I spoke with researchers at UC San Diego, the University of Utah’s Social Development Lab, and the University of Zurich to find out more.

It was by studying a part of the brain called the insula that neuroscientist John Allmann first realized self-awareness and social awareness are part of the same functioning1. Tucked deep within the Sylvian fissure, a connectivity hub disguised as an island unto itself, the insula is one of the main brain structures responsible for translating body states into social emotions. It starts doing this for us the moment we are born, recasting intimate touch into feelings of pleasure or a harsh tone from a parent into feelings of shame. If we do not receive appropriate care as children, the way the insula encodes the relationship between our bodies and social emotions can cement in a maladaptive way, leading to a propensity for mental health issues later in life2. Mounting evidence shows that it may be possible to change this relationship, since the insula also plays a role in therapeutic practices like mindfulness meditation, body trusting, and psychedelic-assisted therapy. Taken together, these findings suggest that the link between body, self, and social emotions plays a bigger part in mental health than we might think, highlighting a need for more forms of therapy which directly target social emotions through the body.

The Bodily Self

The insula’s main function—helping us recognize what we are experiencing based on what we sense—is called interoception. It allows us to interpret an “empty stomach” as physical hunger or “butterflies” as excitement or fear. As mentioned above, social emotions arise from this process. Despite the connection between interoception and social emotions, little scientific attention has been given to the social origins of interoception.

At the University of Utah’s Social Development Lab, Kristina Oldroyd’s pioneering work suggests that early social experiences significantly impact areas of the brain responsible for interoception by influencing the development of the bodily self. Oldroyd’s research team has found that insensitive caregiving—which includes responding inconsistently to a child’s needs or rejecting distress altogether—can impair a child’s ability to form accurate representations of bodily sensations3. For example, when a child who is learning to walk falls down and feels physical pain, a sensitive response from a parent might be, “That must have hurt,” whereas an insensitive response would be, “You’re fine, that didn’t hurt, get back up.” For the child to become comfortable detecting, acknowledging, and expressing bodily cues, the parent must notice what the child is experiencing, draw joint attention to it, and label it3:

“To the extent that caregivers recognize, honor, and respect their children’s bodily experiences, the child will develop more accurate interoception,” Olroyd explains. “To the extent that a child’s bodily experiences are denied, devalued, ignored, or punished by parents, the child will find ways to avoid feeling them, and develop a distorted sense of interoception.”3

Oldroyd maintains that the way we learn to regulate physical pain is no different from the way we learn to regulate emotional pain—in both cases, we are socialized through our bodily experience. Neuroscientific studies support her theory, showing that children who are classified as having anxious or avoidant attachment styles have markedly lower insular volume than securely attached children4. If the bodily self remains unchanged throughout those children’s adult lives, when relationships become more complex and social-emotional regulation increasingly important, Oldroyd believes it is poor interoception itself which may lead to disorders like anxiety, depression, and addiction. It may also lead some of us farther away from social connection when, ironically, that may be what we need the most.

Interoception and Social Health

“One idea I’m working with,” says Andy Arnold, a psychologist and interoception expert at the University of California San Diego and Visiting Professor at Knox College, “is that interoception might be a critical mechanism for evaluating needed resources in our lives. If interoceptive understanding is turned down, then one might not be able to accurately sense the lack of needed resources [like] social connection and act accordingly.” For example, addiction could be a misevaluation of resources where you “overevaluate the drug but underevaluate other stimuli in your life,” Arnold told me, adding that the insula probably plays a critical role in this process.

It also works the other way around: substance abuse disrupts interoception and damages the insula. Brain images of people with alcohol use disorder show significantly reduced grey matter in the insula, marked by a profound loss of von Economo neurons (or “empathy cells”)5, a relatively recent evolutionary specialization in humans thought to be crucial for interoceptive sensitivity and prosocial behavior6. Paradoxically, in certain cases, damage to the insula actually reverses addictive behaviors. In a 2015 study on addiction, researchers at the University of Southern California observed: “On the one hand, alcohol dependence damages the insula. On the other hand, damage done to the insula reduces cravings for alcohol.”7

But this is not a contradiction if you view addiction as social health issue. The insula might normally motivate us to seek social reward, but if we cannot understand our social-emotional needs based on what we are feeling, we might turn to substances to resolve this uncertainty. Heavy substance use may be like putting the wrong type of fuel in the tank: when the brain and body crave social connection, giving it something else harms the engine over time although it appears to run fine. In this case, perhaps the habitual relationship with the drug outlasts the original motivation to use it. On the other hand, damaging the insula outright may destroy its record of the substance as a substitute for social reward, and therefore immediately reduce one’s craving for it.

The insula shows us just how misguided we may be in labeling disorders like addiction, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse as “mental health” issues. If interoception initially develops in the context of interpersonal relationships, then so do many of our afflictions—and so, too, should our treatments.

Connecting Through the Body

In November 2019, Arnold and his colleague, neuroscientist Karen Dobkins, published the first academic discussion of what they call “social interoception,” arguing that interoceptive ability facilitates social connection8. To understand how interoception might work in a social situation, imagine an encounter that raises one’s heart rate—a response meant to enhance alertness and prepare one for “fight or flight.” Dobkins and Arnold believe it may not be one’s physiological response per se that causes social stress, but rather one’s subjective interpretation of it. They reference a series of studies by researchers in Munich who used social stress tests designed around impromptu public speaking9 and social exclusion10 in a game setting to measure interoception. The researchers found that people with higher interoceptive accuracy reported fewer negative emotions after the challenging social situation, despite their heart rate and skin conductance being similar to participants with lower interoceptive accuracy. In other words, two people can have the same internal body state but experience completely different levels of social discomfort.

“This leads to the interesting idea that perhaps greater interoceptive accuracy allows one to identify the physiological response as resulting from an objective, external ‘social situation’ rather than an attribute of oneself,” Dobkins and Arnold say. “This could reflect better emotional regulation in social situations.” Oldroyd echoes these ideas in her own work: “It is the bias to interpret bodily signals in a negative manner, rather than the noticing of bodily signals, that contributes to both the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of anxiety.”

There is an important subtext to these statements: Maybe we are not born with our various social neuroses. Maybe we are born with a bias towards positive social signals, towards bonding with others. Poor interoception, often developed in the context of an adverse childhood, may be what shifts the bias towards negative signals. The way to shift it back, Dobkins says, would be to start listening to and trusting your body before your mind jumps to conclusions. In their own work on loneliness, Dobkins and Arnold found that one measure of interoception in particular—body trusting—predicted variations of subjective loneliness amongst university students at UCLA11, suggesting that connecting with your body allows you to connect with others, whether that means making more friends or different friends. The more you trust your own body, the better you become not only at reading yourself but at reading and connecting with other people.

“You know the feeling when you and another are ‘on the same page’?” Dobkins says. “Well, that’s not what I am talking about. That’s the mind reporting back and saying that, ‘the other person and I believe or want the same thing.’ Connection is body-based. It’s a knowing in the body. Which means you need to know your body.”

The growing field of social interoception may help us better understand and treat not only loneliness but anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, depression, and other conditions traditionally associated with thought patterns rather than body signals. In fact, social interoception may be a key piece in the puzzle of explaining how psychedelic-assisted therapy functions.

Psychedelic Drugs and Interoception

As part of the Salience Network, one of the main functions of the insula is to orchestrate activity between other networks, including the Default Mode Network and the Central Executive Network. In 2017, Robin Carhart-Harris and his research team at Imperial College London found hypo-connectivity of the insula to be “a neurobiological signature of the MDMA experience,” correlating it with reduced anxiety, altered bodily sensations, and changes in interoception12. “Further understanding of how MDMA affects the insula,” Carhart-Harris writes, “might be crucial to elucidating the neurobiological underpinnings of re-emerging interest in MDMA as a therapeutic adjunct to psychotherapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders including PTSD.” Other teams have found similar results, linking insula hypo-connectivity to the LSD experience13.

Research on the neural correlates of different types of mindfulness meditation points to the insula and the body as well. Commenting on a study on Loving Kindness, Focused Attention, Open Monitoring, and Mantra Recitation, Carhart-Harris notes that although these four meditation styles are clearly dissociated by their neural correlates, there are “a few recurrent patterns of activity modulation, in particular in the insula, an important multisensory area heavily involved in interoceptive awareness”14. He suggests that involvement of the insula in all four styles of meditation points towards “the central role of the attentional control of bodily awareness, and awareness of breathing in particular, during various contemplative practices.” As we’ve seen, body awareness is closely linked to social emotion, which may help explain the benefits of both mindfulness meditation and psychedelic therapy.

Psychedelics and Connectedness

At the University of Zurich, Katrin Preller studies the social health benefits of psychedelics. Her work in this area confirms Allmann’s notion that how we see ourselves is inextricably intertwined with social perception. For example, psilocybin and LSD have been found to reduce social pain specifically through alterations in self-processing15, which include experiences of unity and connectedness.

“One of the main aspects of the psychedelic experience is the sense of connectedness – with the universe, nature, but importantly also with the social environment,” Preller told me. “Furthermore, we see an increase in emotional empathy which may be an important factor contributing to the feeling of connectedness. In clinical trials, we are currently testing the hypothesis that this experience contributes to the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy.”

In a successful series of Johns Hopkins studies targeting psilocybin and nicotine addiction, participants “identified social factors, i.e., smoking as a way of connecting with other people, that contributed to their addiction.” 16 They reported psilocybin-induced feelings of love and connection with their environment and other people, independent of smoking as a social factor, as important for quitting smoking17. “Psilocybin may have re-instated social reward processing, helping patients to overcome their addiction,” Preller speculates. “My hope is that therapy will focus more on social cognition and the social environment of patients. For example, social trainings may aim at re-instating social reward processing in addicted patients, helping them to re-connect with their social environment.”

Research on the insula and social interoception suggest that the body is the main channel through which these changes must occur. Feelings of love and connection are exactly that—feelings. It seems we must feel the social reward, hold it in our bodies, to stop needing its replacement. In doing so, maybe we restore some kind of default setting. For all we know, “connectedness” may not be an additive feeling at all. On the contrary, it may be the stripped-down, primordial sensation that the self is socially constructed. And while it may be a new feeling to the psyche, Oldroyd’s work suggests it is not a new feeling to the body. Perhaps this is why psychedelic experiences can feel so profound to some: deep in their bodies, they’ve always known.

From Global Connectivity to Local Plasticity

In April 2019, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published an animal study showing that MDMA reopens a “critical period” when the mouse brain is sensitive to learning the reward value of social behaviors18. Although it is a neurobiological study, attributing the reopening  to heightened, oxytocin-induced brain plasticity, the behavioral mechanism sounds very much like Oldroyd’s childhood theory of interoception: Critical periods were first described in snow geese in the 1930s when goslings were found to bond with an object if their mother disappeared 24 hours after they hatched, but not 48 hours after they hatched. You can imagine which goslings would be best able to socialize their bodily cues going into adulthood, assuming geese are self-aware enough to do so. In the Hopkins study, adult mice who were given MDMA showed prosocial behavior in a way normally seen only in juveniles, forming positive associations between companionship and a certain type of bedding in their enclosure. Neuroscientist Gül Dölen and her team found that this happened only if the drug was given to mice when they were with other mice, not if it was given to mice while they are alone. “This suggests that reopening the critical period using MDMA may depend on whether the animals are in a social setting,” Dölen says.

Embodied Therapy in Social Settings

Although Dölen suggests this kind of treatment may work in humans by strengthening the psychotherapist-patient bond, I would argue it is also a case for a different type of therapy altogether—something along the lines of social embodied therapy, or group bodywork led by psychotherapists. Social reward learning occurs through the body, in a social setting, in large part because we are socialized through our bodies early in our lives. If the therapeutic aim is adaptive social connection, then why not place a greater emphasis on connection as therapy?

Indeed, it seems questionable that any of us should heal as isolated subjects, when we are born to bond, and when the rest of our lives are built around connection. No matter how great your relationship is with your therapist, the dynamic is often that of an object being scrutinized under a microscope. Modern therapy still whiffs of stigmatization and quarantine—our problems so private that they must be kept a secret. Even Somatic Experiencing therapy, which at least reveals these problems to us through the body, largely treats each person in isolation. We do not necessarily have to share our problems to heal. In fact, some PTSD patients become asymptomatic after psychedelic assisted therapy sessions where no words are exchanged19. But it may be the case that we can only re-open the doorways of social learning—and heal from social illnesses—through the body, through each other, and through the part of the brain that so ironically appears to stand alone.

Our work at MIND relies on donations from people like you.

If you share our vision and want to support psychedelic research and education, we are grateful for any amount you can give.


1. Chen, I (2009). Brain Cells for Socializing. Smithsonian Magazine.

2. Khalsa S et al (2018). Interoception and mental health: a roadmap. Biological Psychiatry. 10:004. doi:

3. Oldroyd K, Pasupathi M and Wainryb C (2019). Social Antecedents to the Development of Interoception: Attachment Related Processes Are Associated With Interoception. Psychol. 10:712. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00712

4. Lim L, Radua J, Rubia K (2014). Gray matter abnormalities in childhood maltreatment: a voxel-wise meta-analysis. J. Psychiatry 171 854–863. 10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13101427

5. Senatorov V-V, Damadzic R, Mann C-L, Schwandt M-L, George D-T, Hommer D-W, Heilig M, Momenan R (2015). Reduced anterior insula, enlarged amygdala in alcoholism and associated depleted von Economo neurons. Brain, 10:305. doi:

6. Yang L, Yang Y, Yuan J, Sun Y, Dai J, Su B (2019). Transcriptomic Landscape of von Economo Neurons in Human Anterior Cingulate Cortex Revealed by Microdissected-Cell RNA Sequencing. Cerebral Cortex. 29, 2, 838–851. doi:

7. Droutman V, Read S-J, Bechara A (2015). Revisiting the role of the insula in addiction. Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience. 10:005. doi:

8. Arnold AJ, Winkielman P and Dobkins K (2019). Interoception and Social Connection. Psychol. 10:2589. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02589

9. Werner N. S., Duschek S., Mattern M., Schandry R. (2009). Interoceptive sensitivity modulates anxiety during public speaking. Psychophysiol. 23 85–94. 10.1027/0269-8803.23.2.85

10. Werner N. S., Kerschreiter R., Kindermann N. K., Duschek S. (2013). Interoceptive awareness as a moderator of affective responses to social exclusion. Psychophysiol. 27 39–50. 10.1027/0269-8803/a000086

11. Arnold AJ, Dobkins K (2019). Trust Some Body: Loneliness is Associated with Altered Interoceptive Sensibility [Abstract and Poster]. Emotion Preconference for Society for Personality & Social Psychology, Portland, Oregon.

12. Walpola, I, Nest T, Roseman L, et al (2017). Altered Insula Connectivity under MDMA. 422152–2162. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.35

13. Preller et al (2019). Changes in global and thalamic brain connectivity in LSD-induced altered states of consciousness are attributable to the 5-HT2A receptor. doi: 10.7554/eLife.35082

14. Millière R, Carhart-Harris RL, Roseman L, Trautwein F-M and Berkovich-Ohana A (2018). Psychedelics, Meditation, and Self-Consciousness. Psychol. 9:1475. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01475

15. Preller KH, Schilbach L, Pokorny T, Flemming J, Seifritz E and Vollenweider FX (2018). Role of the 5-HT2A Receptor in Self- and Other-Initiated Social Interaction in Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Induced States: A Pharmacological fMRI Study. Journal of Neuroscience. 38 (14) 3603-3611. doi: 1523/JNEUROSCI.1939-17.2018

16. Noorani T, Garcia-Romeu A, Swift TC, Griffiths RR, Johnson MW (2018). Psychedelic therapy for smoking cessation: qualitative analysis of participant accounts. J Psychopharmacol. 32:756–69. doi: 10.1177/0269881118780612

17. Preller KH and Vollenweider FX (2019) Modulation of Social Cognition via Hallucinogens and “Entactogens”. Psychiatry 10:881. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00881

18. Nardou R, Lewis EM, Rothhaas R. et al. (2019). Oxytocin-dependent reopening of a social reward learning critical period with MDMA. Nature 569, 116–120.

19. The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Marcela Ot’alora—How to Become a Psychedelic Therapist (#396):

Unsere Verpflichtung

Bei der MIND Foundation gestalten wir durch psychedelische Forschung und Bildung eine gesündere, miteinander verbundene Welt. Wir verstehen, dass die Verwirklichung dieser Vision bedeutet, Vielfalt und Integration zu einer Priorität zu machen, unabhängig von Geschlecht, Alter, ethnischer Zugehörigkeit oder sozialem Status, Religion, sexueller Orientierung, körperlichen Merkmalen oder jeglicher gesundheitlicher Einschränkungen.

MIND begrüßt Menschen aus allen Bereichen der Gesellschaft im Engagement für unsere Organisation und unsere Werte. Ganz gleich, ob es um eine zugängliche Gestaltung von Programmen der MIND Academy geht, oder diverse Perspektiven innerhalb des MIND Office zu fördern – wir haben uns verpflichtet, dieses wichtige Thema in der Entwicklung unserer Organisation in den Mittelpunkt zu stellen.

 quote-background  quote-background
“Ich glaube, dass der Diskurs über psychedelische Erfahrung durch Beiträge aus einem  breiten Spektrum an Perspektiven immens profitieren kann. Aus diesem Grund fördert die MIND Academy einen integrativen Ansatz in der psychedelischen Forschung und Bildung. Unser Ziel ist es, Grundlagen für konstruktive Dialoge mit einem soliden Fundament in Wissenschaft und kritischem Denken zu schaffen.”

Sergio Pérez Rosal, MD
Direktor der MIND Academy

MIND Academy Diversity Program




Das MIND Academy Diversity Program wird entwickelt, um unser Academy Programm unabhängig von sozioökonomischem Status leichter zugänglich zu machen. Diese Initiative wird Menschen mit aufrichtigem Interesse an unserer Arbeit eine Chance zur Teilnahme bieten, die sonst nicht die Möglichkeit dazu hätten. Bitte melden Sie sich in naher Zukunft bei uns für mehr Information!


Erfahren Sie mehr

MIND Mitglieder weltweit


Die MIND Members Association(Mitgliedervereinigung, MMA) umfasst eine große Vielfalt an Menschen. Wir heißen alle Menschen willkommen, ungeachtet ihrer Hintergründe und sexuellen Orientierung, Geschlechtsidentität, ethnischen Zugehörigkeit, Kultur, nationalen Herkunft, Hautfarbe, Einwanderungsstatus, Geschlecht, persönlicher Überzeugung oder Religion.

Die MMA setzt sich aus mehr als 600 Mitgliedern zusamen, darunter Neurowissenschaftler, Mediziner, Psychologen, Forscher, Politiker, Künstler, Ökonomen, Studierende und Freunde. Sie unterstützen unsere Vision und setzen sich für die Etablierung sicherer und legaler therapeutischer Nutzung der psychedelischen Erfahrung ein.

Die Mitglieder der MIND Foundation sind weltweit verteilt. Unsere Gemeinschaft erstreckt sich über fünf Kontinente, 34 Nationalitäten, in 28 Ländern. Diese Vielfalt von Menschen bereichert unsere Gemeinschaft und wächst kontinuierlich!


Um mehr über die Mitgliedschaft in unserer internationalen Gemeinschaft zu erfahren, klicken Sie hier.



Stimmen der MIND Mitarbeiter

Perspektiven auf psychedelische Forschung und Therapie

Melina Mitsotaki, M.Phil., RKE Associate und uniMIND Project Coordinator,

“Ich begeistere mich dafür, dass Psychedelika zur Vernetzung und zu Systemdenken führen können. Sei dies im Zusammenhang mit zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen oder im wissenschaftlichen Betrieb, für mich ist es höchste Zeit, dass unsere weltweite Verbundenheit wahrgenommen wird. Dies kann uns wiederum helfen, die systemischen Probleme unserer Zeit anzugehen und eine bessere Welt um uns herum zu schaffen. Betrachtet man die psychedelische Forschung durch diese Linse, so zeigt sich nicht ein abweichender Ausreißer im Feld der Wissenschaft, sondern ein zentraler Stoffwechselweg, der Kommunikation zwischen den wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen stärkt.“

Vlad Nicolescu, M.Sc., RKE Associate, MIND Academy, und Communications,

“Wie viele Wissenschaftler und Therapeuten in den letzten Jahrzehnten betont haben, können Psychedelika genutzt werden, um das menschliche Bewusstsein zu verstehen, zu transformieren und zu heilen. Wo ich herkomme werden diese Fragen selten bis nie diskutiert. Die Folge ist, dass Menschen im Stillen unter psychischen Erkrankungen und deren Stigmatisierung leiden. Das autoritäre politische Regime des vergangenen Jahrhunderts hat tiefe Spuren in unserer Psyche hinterlassen. Dies wird besonders sichtbar, wenn man sich mit Fragen der psychischen Gesundheit und der sozialen Ungleichheit befasst. Beide Themen werden mit einer gewissen Angst und Unverständnis angegangen. Ich hoffe, dass die psychedelisch-unterstützte Therapie schließlich in der Lage sein wird, einige dieser Probleme zu lindern, indem sie einen Weg bietet, sich selbst und seinen sozialen Kontext zu verstehen, zu akzeptieren und zu transformieren.“

Alejandra Díaz, M.B.A., Members Manager,

“Ich komme aus einem Land mit einer überraschenden Vielfalt an halluzinogenen Kakteen, Kräutern und Pilzen, die in indigenen Kulturen seit Tausenden von Jahren verwendet werden. Es ist aufregend zu sehen, wie diese Substanzen über unsere Grenzen hinaus getragen wurden und auf der ganzen Welt Fantasie angeregt haben. Jetzt, Tausende von Jahren später, versucht die psychedelischen Forschung, einige der tiefgreifenden und einzigartigen substanzinduzierten Bewusstseinsveränderungen zu erklären. Ein Aspekt, der mich besonders erstaunt, ist der Einfluss von Psychedelika auf  Neuroplastizität. Die Wissenschaft scheint darauf hinzuweisen, dass Psychedelika das Potenzial haben, die Gehirn-Verschaltung zu verändern. Das gibt uns die Möglichkeit unsere Lebensgeschichte neu zu schreiben, und dies individuell und im Kollektiven.“

Luis Retana, Marketing Manager,

“Ich habe großes Glück, in der psychedelischen Forschung arbeiten zu dürfen. Ich glaube wir sind es gewohnt, uns mehr um unsere physische als um unsere psychische Gesundheit zu kümmern, da sich dies leichter praktizieren lässt. Wenn es darum geht sich um die eigene psychische Gesundheit zu kümmern, ist das im Alltag irgendwie schwieriger zu bewerkstelligen. Das Verstehen der psychedelischen Erfahrung kann bei der Behandlung psychischer Erkrankungen helfen, indem man mehr über das menschliche Bewusstsein lernt. Das finde ich sehr faszinierend.“

Jagoda Mackowiak, M.Sc., Resources & ASC Study Monitor Project Coordinator, RKE Associate,

“So klischeehaft es auch klingen mag, ich glaube daran, dass Psychedelika die Welt verändern können. Obwohl dies in der modernen Geschichte vernachlässigt wurde, sind psychedelische Substanzen seit Jahrhunderten in der einheimischen Medizin vorhanden. Es ist ein enormer Verlust für die Gesellschaft, dass wir sie in der jungen Vergangenheit beiseite geräumt haben, anstatt ihr therapeutisches Potenzial zu erforschen. Da wir heute ein Wiederaufleben der psychedelischen Forschung erfahren, möchte ich an der Umkehrung des schlechten Rufs der Psychedelika teilhaben und zur Verbesserung der globalen psychischen Gesundheit beitragen.“

Sasha Silberberg, B.A., Director of Communications,
Washington DC, USA

“Obwohl mich viele Bereiche innerhalb der psychedelischen Forschung begeistern, finde ich den therapeutischen Einsatz von Psychedelika bei Patienten, die unter Angststörungen am Lebensende leiden besonders inspirierend und interessant. Psychedelika können den Patienten helfen, die ontologischen Fragen am Ende ihres Lebens anzugehen und die mit dem Tod einhergehende Angst zu lindern. Ich bin gespannt wie sich dieses Forschungsgebiet in den kommenden Jahren entwickelt, wenn der Anteil älterer Menschen an der Weltbevölkerung zunimmt.“

MINDs Richtlinien zur Vielfalt

Die MIND Foundation hält sich an die in der Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union festgelegten Prinzipien bezüglich Gleichheit, Nichtdiskriminierung und Vielfalt. Im Zuge unseres Wachstums entwickeln wir unsere Richtlinien weiter, um dem natürlichen Streben nach Vielfalt in der psychedelischen Forschung und Bildung gerecht zu werden.

Wir freuen uns über jede Rückmeldung oder Anregung.

Schreiben Sie uns

Over the course of six weeks, you will reconnect deeply with one of your psychedelic experiences in order to identify and embody the insights you have gained in sustainable ways. To support you in unfolding both the challenging and the beneficial aspects you may have uncovered, you will be guided through the integration process in six structured steps. Each week will cover one specific aspect and the modules will build on each other, progressing from intention to transformation.

The live webinars will happen once a week for six consecutive weeks, starting on April 12th, 7pm.

The peer group meetings are intended to take place on Sundays from 6pm to 7.30pm (CET) as a follow up to the live webinar sessions. However, the dates for the peer group meetings can be changed, according to the needs of the participants.

You can join from everywhere in the world!


Get your ticket here: Footsteps on MIND Academy Online
The ticket price includes the whole course with all six live sessions and access to all recordings, course resources, additional material and access to the course platform.

Over the course of six weeks, you will reconnect deeply with one of your psychedelic experiences in order to identify and embody the insights you have gained in sustainable ways. To support you in unfolding both the challenging and the beneficial aspects you may have uncovered, you will be guided through the integration process in six structured steps. Each week will cover one specific aspect and the modules will build on each other, progressing from intention to transformation.

The live webinars will happen once a week for six consecutive weeks, starting on June 1st, 8pm.

The peer group meetings are intended to take place on Sundays from 6pm to 7.30pm (CET) as a follow up to the live webinar sessions. However, the dates for the peer group meetings can be changed, according to the needs of the participants.

You can join from everywhere in the world!


Get your ticket here: Footsteps on MIND Academy Online
The ticket price includes the whole course with all six live sessions and access to all recordings, course resources, additional material and access to the course platform.


In the MIND Foundation, we distinguish between two general kinds of partnerships which we may develop further into different sub-types. Cooperations are a type of partnership where actual resources flow in via money, personnel, or materials. In this case, an entire corresponding contract is necessary for tax reasons and clarifying characteristics like a partner’s non-profit or for-profit status. In cooperation projects, it is also important to specify, for example, the publication rights. For cooperation contracts, we usually use templates available by the European or German Research Council and adapt them. The second type of partnerships are resource-free collaborations (there is no flow of material resources, but of course time itself is a very important resource) and are usually about the joint implementation of a project or mutual provided services like media cooperations. Here, a contract is not mandatory, but can always be useful to build clarity and avoid controversies – as these here and there occur e.g. in joint publications.




The aim of this section is to act as a platform for individuals interested in the interplay between coaching & psychedelics as to exchange ideas and experiences, share thoughts, concerns, resources and generally explore how coaching and psychedelics may work together to create positive change for people.

This is a supportive space for professional coaches to discuss their coaching practice in relation to the preparation and integration of psychedelics experiences as a form of peer supervision.





These are some potential projects that the whole section or individual working groups within the section will work on:

  • The formulation of a professional framework/definition for coaching in the context of psychedelics”.
  • The development of a possible integration coaching methodology (e.g. development of a semi-structured methodology or defined framework for integration and/or preparation coaching).
  • The development of a code of ethics for coaches working in the field of psychedelics.


  • An academic white paper to argue the case for the potential coaching & psychedelics to work together and to lay the foundations for future research.
  • A short online course or document on “what we feel you should know if you are a coach and consider to work with clients around their psychedelic experience”.
  • Creating a professional body.
  • Presenting case studies from professional coaches (possibly culminating in a book of coaching & psychedelics case studies).


Code of Ethics

The Coaching & Psychedelics Section has developed a Code of Ethics for coaches working in the psychedelic field. Read the full text here.


Get to know our work environment

The section has already set-up Google Drive and Zoom infrastructure. Zoom provides a secure video platform for our meetings.

Google Drive will provide access to shared documents, resources, meeting minutes, member list, bylaws and other relevant information for the section and is accessible to all members.




Join us

If you are a MIND member and you would like to join this network, please fill out the form below.

Apply for this section



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