The process of reintegrating psychedelics into psychiatry has sparked some philosophical questions about the nature of consciousness, self, and the interconnectedness of humans and their environment. These and numerous newly discovered insights resulting from the intersection of psychiatry and phenomenology will be discussed in Vuk Vuković’s lecture titled “Phenomenological-Psychiatric Considerations of Psychedelics” on August 3rd at 11 o’clock in the Great Hall of IDN.
The use of psychoactive substances represents a tradition dating back to the South American tribes, influencing the philosophy of the ancient world (Plato and the Eleusinian Mysteries), all the way to the emergence of synthetic substances in the 20th century and their impact on the broader culture. The past decade is often referred to as the psychedelic renaissance due to the renewed interest in the application of psychedelics, especially in the field of neuroscience and empirical psychiatric research, including their use in various therapeutic indications (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, terminal stages of cancer).
The application of the phenomenological method in this field is of crucial importance because it provides insights into the fundamental structures of altered experience and their clear methodological differentiation, which, on the one hand, points to potential etiological mechanisms of different disorders (e.g., depression), and on the other hand, clarifies everyday ways of experiencing (imagination, fantasy).
The rapid development of psychedelic research calls for an interdisciplinary approach that would enable clearer insights into altered experiences and, thus, more precise therapeutic applications while also providing data that informs philosophical considerations of the fundamental structures of consciousness.
Dr Vuk Vuković works as a psychiatrist in the Department of Psychosomatics and Non-Psychotic Disorders at the Clinical Center “Dr. Dragiša Mišović”. He spent a significant part of his career at the Special Hospital for Psychiatric Diseases “Dr Slavoljub Bakalović”, where he had the opportunity to practice asylum methodology. As a psychotherapist under supervision, he is in the final year of training in psychodramatic psychotherapy, which he applies in institutional and non-institutional settings, including research on social issues through specific group activities of sociodrama. Vuković has also translated several books from English in various non-medical fields (Nation Building, History of China).