Camilla Day, MD

King’s College London

Compassion Experience Scale in Psilocybin for Treatment Resistant Depression


Background: It is widely agreed that the idiosyncratic psychedelic experience of psilocybin is as important to the mechanism of action as is the underlying pharmacology. Commonly reported psilocybin experiences such as activation of inner guide or wisdom, connection and emotional experiencing (1,2) overlap with ideas of self-compassion comprised by Kristin Neff (3) as i) self-kindness, ii) common humanity and iii) mindfulness. CD is developing a compassion experience scale to objectively measure the dosing experiences that may be important for improvement in depressive symptoms. This scale can then help to predict outcomes psilocybin therapy. Method: After a literature search and discussion of items for inclusion with other experts, a pilot questionnaire was constructed and given to previous psilocybin participants and guides for internal consistency reliability. A final questionnaire will then be constructed with a priori components and given to 60 participants with treatment resistant depression, during both the randomized and open label phase of the Psilocybin in Depression Resistant to Standard Treatments Trial (PsiDer), KCL. Further factor analysis and content validity will be carried out. Preliminary Results: CD has developed a pilot scale called the Compassion Experience Scale of 28 questions comprised of 3 pairs of antithetical questions around the three following themes: a) unconditional positive regard or self-kindness experiencing, b) connection or common humanity experiencing’ and c) ‘emotional or mindful experiencing’. Funding: This work was supported by Mental Health Research UK


Dr Camilla Day was the lead female psychiatrist for the Imperial pilot study of psilocybin in treatment resistant depression (TRD) led by Robin Carhartt-Harris. She supported 11 out of the 20 people with TRD, each through two dosing sessions and collaborated with Dr Rosalind Watts on her qualitative research. She is currently a General Adult Psychiatry Registrar at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust working in a therapeutic community. She is also doing a part-time MD(Res) within the Centre for Affective Disorders, IOPPN, King’s College London, investigating the role of self-compassion, phenomenology and the therapeutic relationship in psilocybin’s effect in TRD via quantitative and qualitative methods. She runs a Phenomenology reading group for London psychiatric trainees and has an interest in mindfulness and dance movement therapy. She is half Finnish and half English, grew up in Jersey, and now lives with her Argentinian husband with their 2-year-old daughter in London.



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