On the need for metaphysics in psychedelic therapy and research

This hypothesis paper (2023) proposes integrating metaphysical experiences from psychedelic-assisted therapy with metaphysics, offering a Metaphysics Matrix and Metaphysics Matrix Questionnaire to aid in this process. By fusing philosophy with practical science, the text argues that patients may receive additional benefits during the integrative phase of therapy.


The essential proposal of this text is that psychedelic-induced metaphysical experiences should be integrated and evaluated with recourse to metaphysics. It will be argued that there is a potential extra benefit to patients in psychedelic-assisted therapy if they are provided with an optional, additional, and intelligible schema and discussion of metaphysical options at the integrative phase of the therapy. This schema (the “Metaphysics Matrix”) and a new Metaphysics Matrix Questionnaire (“MMQ”) stemming therefrom will be presented, the latter of which can also be used as an alternative or additional tool for quantitative measurement of psychedelic experience in trials. Metaphysics is not mysticism, despite some overlap; and certainly not all psychedelic experience is metaphysical or mystical—all three terms will be defined and contrasted. Thereafter psychedelic therapy will be presented and analysed in order to reveal the missing place for metaphysics. Metaphysics, with epistemology (theory of knowledge) and axiology (ethics and aesthetics), is a defining branch of Philosophy. Metaphysics, in contrast to mysticism, is considered to be based on argument rather than pure revelation. Thus, in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy one sees here the potential bridge between reason-based philosophy and practical therapy—or, more broadly, with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy there is the potential and mutually beneficial fusion of philosophy with practical science.”

Author: Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes

Summary of On the need for metaphysics in psychedelic therapy and research


Metaphysics should be used to integrate and understand psychedelic-induced metaphysical experiences. This text seeks to remedy the deficiency by arguing that these implications can facilitate the integrative phase of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

This text shows how certain psychedelic experiences can be viewed as intuitions or experiences of established metaphysical systems. This could enhance psychedelic therapy by fortifying the integration of several psychedelic experiences, thereby leading to longer-term positive outcomes for certain patients.

Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality. It explores issues such as the relation of mind to matter, to the cosmos, the nature of space, time, and causation, of self and identity, and the possible and the eternal. Metaphysics is a rigorous subject that demonstrates its conclusions through logical argument rather than through empirical data, revelation, or intuition. Certain psychedelic experiences are metaphysical experiences, and their metaphysical intellectualizations can be utilised for psychedelic therapy and research.

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On the need for metaphysics in psychedelic therapy and research


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Cite this paper (APA)

Sjöstedt-Hughes, P. On the Need for Metaphysics in Psychedelic Therapy and Research. Frontiers in Psychology14, 1123.

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