Recent research studies and clinical trials have suggested that psychedelic therapy with psychological support can offer beneficial and synergistic effects in reducing or eliminating substance use disorder (SUD) patterns and symptoms. However, very little is known about SUD healthcare providers' perceptions of the usage of psychedelic-assisted therapy in SUD treatment. The present study assesses biomedical SUD healthcare providers' perceptions and concerns to better understand potential barriers to the effective implementation of psychedelic-based therapies and formulate further recommendations for research efforts surrounding them. This study collected data through a short survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews from nine participants involved in SUD patient treatment and care. Open discussion was encouraged in the interviews which were recorded and transcribed using the Otter app. Data was analyzed using Charmaz's two-step coding process, which identified common themes and specific issues about translating psychedelic-assisted therapy into clinical application. Four interconnected themes were identified: personal responsibility, patient safety and expectations, a call for further research, and societal structures as barriers. The findings of this study indicate that SUD healthcare providers have optimism and openness surrounding psychedelic-assisted therapy and generally view it as a positive treatment. However, this optimism was often followed by concerns for safety, legality, and the providers' role in this treatment. Participants also expressed a critical need for further research with rigorous clinical trials to explore the effectiveness of psychedelics in a therapeutic setting. The results provided in this study act as basis for engaging with biomedical SUD healthcare providers to address concerns about psychedelic-assisted therapy in future research for SUD treatment.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Rausch, Leia T., "Provider Perceptions on the Usage of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy to Influence Behavior Change in Individuals with Substance Use Disorders" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1410.