Torsten Passie

Torsten Passie, PhD, MD

Hannover Medical School; Gotha-University Frankfurt/Main

Low-Dose Psycholytic Therapy: A Neglected Approach?


The career of LSD in psychotherapy began when US and German psychiatrists published findings on low-dose serial sessions in 1950. Thereafter, low-dose psycholytic therapy was developed by European psychotherapists. In the US, psychedelic therapy, with the use of a few personality-transforming high dose sessions, became prominent. Even though therapeutic work was nearly stopped since the 1960s, psycholytic therapy was still in use in some European locations until the 1980s (e.g. Denmark, Netherlands, Germany Czechoslovakia). Psycholytic therapy differs from psychedelic therapy in respect to conceptual foundation, techniques and mechanisms of action. It has been used more than psychedelic therapy, but became a neglect since research with high-dose psychedelic therapy offered proof for positive effects in a shorter, easier to conduct and cheaper way. The lecture provides an overview of the development and features of psycholytic therapy. It includes research on psycholytic treatments the author has conducted with the late Professor Hanscarl Leuner (1922-1996), a European authority on psycholytic therapy.


Torsten Passie studied philosophy and sociology at Leibniz University Hannover and medicine at Hannover Medical School. Medical dissertation on existential psychiatry. Education at Zürich Psychiatric University Clinic and with Prof. Hanscarl Leuner (1921-1996), the leading European authority on psychedelics and psycholytic therapy. 1997-2010 scientist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Hannover Medical School, where he lead the Laboratory for Consciousness and Neurocognition. Professorship thesis about “Psychophysical correlates of altered states of consciousness”. Clinical research on altered states of consciousness, including studies with breathwork, cannabis, MDMA, laughing gas, ketamine and psilocybin. Special expertise on ecstatic states, addictions, and the pharmacology of psychedelics. 2012-2015 Visiting Professor at the Department of Psychiatry of the Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA).



Learn about new events and breakthroughs in the psychedelic scientific community.