Exploring the Credibility of Psilocybin-assisted Therapy and Cognitive-behavioral Therapy for Depression

This survey study (n=803) assessed the credibility rating of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and psilocybin-assisted therapy (PAT) among individuals reporting depressive symptoms. CBT was rated as more credible than PAT, while men and lifetime psychedelic users rated PAT more credible than women and non-users with few other predictors accounting for variance in credibility scores.


“Depression treatments succeed with many but leave others unimproved, and they can generate concerns about side effects, time, and cost. Psilocybin has generated media attention and empirical support for antidepressant effects, but lay impressions of its effectiveness are unclear. Although perceptions of treatment credibility contribute to the outcome, beliefs about the credibility of psilocybin-assisted therapy (PAT) among potential patients remain uninvestigated, especially relative to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), a common, empirically-validated approach. The present study examined credibility ratings for CBT and PAT among individuals reporting depressive symptoms. Participants (N = 803) from Amazon’s MTurk platform reported demographics, depressive symptoms, and psychotherapy experience, then read data-based vignettes describing each therapy and rated their credibility. Individuals rated CBT as more credible than PAT. Those with therapy experience-rated CBT as more credible than those without. Men and lifetime hallucinogen users rated PAT more credible than women and non-users, but few other predictors accounted for much variance in credibility. Results suggest that potential clients appear cautious about PAT. As continued work examines the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted interventions, researchers and clinicians must consider patients’ beliefs about treatments as potential predictors of outcomes. Additionally, the paradigm used here might have the potential for examining the credibility of many interventions.”

Authors: Brianna R. Altman, Mitch Earleywine & Joesph De Leo

Study details

Compounds studied

Topics studied

Study characteristics
Survey Theory Building

0 Humans