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Opening the Blackbox of Clinical Psychedelic Therapies
Opening the Blackbox of Clinical Psychedelic Therapies
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Opening the Blackbox of Clinical Psychedelic Therapies

Registration Link: [For HKU members] / [For non-HKU members]

Contemporary Issues in Bioethics and Health Humanities Series – Lunchtime Seminar

Title: “Opening the Blackbox of Clinical Psychedelic Therapies”

Date: 11 May, 2023 (Thursday)
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 pm
Venue: Rm. 609, 6/F, William M W Mong Block, 21 Sassoon Road.
Mode: In-person

Registration Link: For HKU members / For non-HKU members

* Refreshment will be provided for all participants.                                                                                 

In the historical context of a crisis in biological psychiatry, psychedelic drugs paired with psychotherapy are globally re-emerging in research clinics as a potential transdiagnostic therapy for treating psychological distress, mood disorders, and addictions. Psychiatrists and clinicians working in this field are beginning to debate the significance of patient autonomy, mechanisms of therapeutic efficacy, and which kind of therapy is best suited to pair with psychedelic drugs that are known to induce intense psychological experiences. As the quickly developing field of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies comes to be defined by such debates, we interviewed half a dozen clinicians and therapists to tap into informal conversations already happening behind the scenes about which psychotherapeutic practices to augment with psychedelics. Science and Technology Studies have long known that analysing controversies provides an inroad for outsiders—be they social researchers, patients, policy-makers, or an interested public—to better understand how experts think and make decisions about issues otherwise hidden from view. The seminar will be based on a research paper under-construction on these experimental psychiatric treatments.


Dr Nicolas Langlitz
Associate Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York

Nicolas Langlitz is an anthropologist and historian of science studying epistemic cultures of the mind and life sciences. He is the author of Neuropsychedelia (University of California Press) and Chimpanzee Culture Wars (Princeton University Press) and leads the Psychedelic Humanities Lab at the New School for Social Research in New York where he is also Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Dr Alex Gearin
Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit, HKUMed

Alex Gearin is a medical anthropologist with a background researching psychedelic medicine using communities in Peru, China, and Australia. He has published on indigenous medicine in modern society, the intercultural ethics of medical tourism, and spirituality and individualism in psychedelic healing groups, including at Current Anthropology, Social Science and Medicine, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, MIT Press, and other outlets.


Dr Zohar Lederman
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit, HKUMed


Welcome to join us!

Enquiry: Please contact Ms. May Fung (