The potential synergistic effects between psychedelic administration and nature contact for the improvement of mental health

This review (2020) of psychedelic therapy and nature relatedness argues that both may work in synergy and that maximizing nature relatedness during psychedelic therapy could provide added benefits.

Abstract

Therapeutic psychedelic administration and contact with nature have been associated with the same psychological mechanisms: decreased rumination and negative affect, enhanced psychological connectedness and mindfulness-related capacities, and heightened states of awe and transcendent experiences, all processes linked to improvements in mental health amongst clinical and healthy populations. Nature-based settings can have inherently psychologically soothing properties which may complement all stages of psychedelic therapy (mainly preparation and integration) whilst potentiating increases in nature relatedness, with associated psychological benefits. Maximising enhancement of nature relatedness through therapeutic psychedelic administration may constitute an independent and complementary pathway towards improvements in mental health that can be elicited by psychedelics.

Authors: Sam Gandy, Matthias Forstmann, Robin L. Carhart-Harris, Christopher Timmermann, David Luke & Rosalind Watts

Notes

Two of the authors (Gandy & Watts) are associated with the for-profit Synthesis Institute.

The paper uses the following definition of nature relatedness: “a sense of ‘oneness with the natural world’ or a ‘sustained awareness of the interrelatedness between one’s self and the rest of nature’.”

In the review the authors “lay out the argument for utilising nature based settings and practices for some stages of psychedelic therapy (mainly preparation and integration).”

The paper walks through the various arguments for the benefit of nature relatedness and how together with psychedelics it may synergistically increase mental health.