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Welcome to The Psychology Podcast with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, where we give you insights into the mind, brain, behavior and creativity. Each episode will feature a guest who will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world we live in. Hopefully, we’ll also provide a glimpse into human possibility! Thanks for listening and enjoy the podcast.

Jun 21, 2018

“How can we use these peak experiences to help people create community that is healthy and to be better human beings?” -- Katherine MacLean

Katherine MacLean, PhD is a research scientist, teacher and meditator. In her academic research (2004-2013) at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University, she studied how psychedelics and mindfulness meditation can promote beneficial, long-lasting changes in personality, well-being and brain function. In the fall of 2015, she co-founded and began directing the Psychedelic Education & Continuing Care Program in New York (, where she has facilitated monthly integration groups for psychedelic users and training workshops for both clinicians and the public. She currently lives on an organic farm and is preparing to be a study therapist on the upcoming Phase 3 trial of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more:

In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover the following topics:

- What happened after Katherine “died” in 2012

- Discovery oriented research vs. practical research on psychedelics

- Effects of psychedelics on “existential distress”

- Potential benefits of psychedelics on end-of-life care and terminal cancer patients

- Potential benefits of MDMA for PTSD

- The existence of “enlightened assholes”

- Skepticism about brain research on psychedelics

- The role of the default network in "ego dissolution"

- Misrepresentation of the default network in the psychedelic and meditation literatures

- Benefits of psychedelics and meditation in combination

- Psychedelics and openness to experience

- From anxiety attack to “beauty attack” 

- The potential for healthy psychedelic integration and increased community


"Open Wide and Saw Awe" | Katherine MacLean | TEDxOrcasIsland

A Systematic Review of Personality Trait Change Through Intervention

Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors

Psilocybin Mushrooms for Treating Depression

Validation of the revised Mystical Experience Questionnaire in experimental sessions with psilocybin

Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness

Cognitive aging and long-term maintenance of attentional improvements following meditation training

Therapeutic effect of increased openness: Investigating mechanism of action in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy