Torsten Passie

Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Hannover Medical School, Germany

Talk :

What makes a psychoactive substance a suitable substance for substance-assisted psychotherapy?

Talk date & time :

Sunday 9:30-10:30


The lecture deals with the characteristics (pharmacological and psychological effects) of those substances that have been and are used to assist psychotherapeutic treatments. Typically, these substances belong to the group of hallucinogens such as LSD or to the group of entactogens such as MDMA. However, there are also substances of these and other groups that differ in their ability to support psychotherapeutic treatments, such as salvinorin or ketamine. The presentation develops criteria that are relevant for a usability of psychically activating substances in psychotherapy. A number of substances will be discussed on the basis of these criteria. Their importance for supporting psychotherapeutic treatments will be assessed and discussed. A more precise characterization but also a differentiated terminology seem to be relevant for the field.


Torsten Passie (MD, PhD) 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). Torsten is also the Author of several books, such as “The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics”, “Healing with Entactogens”, and “The Pharmacology of LSD”.