Could Psychedelics improve our relationships?

“I experienced the very nature of consciousness and reality itself. But also on a more everyday level, I experienced a true sense of human connection, compassion, empathy and love with everyone.— Synthesis Participant after their psychedelic retreat
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How connected are you to the people around you? Would you like to feel more close to the people in your life?

Many of us in modern Western society are feel we could improve our connection with others, ourselves, and nature. Psychedelics could be one way to boost our connection.

Some mental health experts and therapists attribute the rise of mental health conditions in the West to a disease of disconnection. Our inability or unwillingness to create genuine, loving and connected communities could be to blame for this epidemic.

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Photograph from Eric Pickersgill’s ‘Removed’ series

 

Many activities have the potential to boost our sense of connection; spiritual epiphanies, romantic relationships, meditation, spending time in nature. But in modern times, with the unique stresses of technological capitalism, these types of experiences that increase our sense of connection have become less common.

The psychedelic renaissance offers a new opportunity. Psychedelic experiences have been shown to renew our sensitivity to nature, boost our empathy and compassion, and help work through our own traumas. It has enormous potential to overturn our disconnection, and bring us back in touch with purpose, love, and community.

How damaging is a disconnection from other people? And is there research to show that psychedelic experiences could increase your connection with the people in your life?

The Impact Of Loneliness In Society

For perhaps the first time in human history, community is not primary. Instead, loneliness has become common in our societies. We’re often isolated; disconnected from both family and neighbors. Statistics regularly point towards around 20% of people in Western societies feeling total isolation (Pohl et al, 2017), while between 35-47% of adults feel loneliness at some point in their lives (Anderson & Thayer, 2018; Cigna 2018).

This isn’t just a problem in older people. More often, younger generations are feeling the sting of social isolation. In Japan, for example, more than half a million young people don’t leave their homes or interact with people at all for periods of over six months. The number of people living on their own is on the rise in many societies.

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Rebuilding Our Connection To Others

The crisis of social isolation is harming our physical and mental health. Finding ways to build community, and bring people back into our lives, should be the first step in reversing our disconnect from others. Fostering a core group of people who provide you with fulfilment is a difficult task, and there’s no easy way to do it.

Connection to others can sometimes be achieved through exploring spirituality. This is partially because people who practice a religion or spirituality are more likely to have access to a caring and supportive community. But also, a sense of spiritual meaning and a connection to something greater than the self can help us find fulfilment. The benefits of spirituality are measurable: religious people have been shown to live longer, and be happier, than non-religious people (Koenig, 2008; McCullough, 2001). 

It’s not easy to address the epidemic of disconnection, especially if you don’t have the means or support network to start working on it.

Thankfully, there’s another option for people suffering from a crisis of disconnection. Psychedelic substances, including the natural psychedelic psilocybin, can increase our sense of connection to others. Our research at the Synthesis Retreat has shown that one profound guided experience with a psychedelic could be enough to give you a profound reconnection.

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How Can Psychedelics Reconnect Us?

Research is consistently showing that a single guided psychedelic experience can increase measures of connection in more ways than one.

Psychedelics have been shown to boost the connection we have with nature, and they also have the power to bring us in touch with our deeper selves; two important properties that we will go into in more depth in the following parts of this series. 

Importantly for people struggling with loneliness or solitude, psychedelics have the capacity to reconnect us to others. People often report that a psychedelic experience can remind them of their purpose, and help motivate them to foster a community of people with shared values. The capacity for psychedelics to boost our empathy and compassion can help us improve our relationships with others.

Our own research at the Synthesis retreat has shown that our specially guided psilocybin experience increases scores of connection, using a questionnaire called the “Connectedness Scale.” Our guests experienced a 130% increase of their connectedness score (from 32/100 to 74/100), which was sustained for at least four weeks after the retreat. This connectedness score includes a sense of connection to others.

Connectedness graph

Is Synthesis For You?

The carefully crafted psilocybin experience at the Synthesis retreat may be ideal for people searching for reconnection in their lives.

Our research (in collaboration with Imperial College London) has shown that the Synthesis experience can increase people’s sense of connection to themselves, others, nature, and even to the mystical unknown.

The environment at Synthesis is designed to be as safe and comfortable as possible – with dedicated guides and facilitators, and medical oversight during the ceremony. 

If you’re looking for a dose of connection, in a beautiful and supportive environment, Synthesis might be right for you.

 

Tags: Insights