Tripping into the (un)known: treating the mind with psychedelics

A therapist guides a patient trough a psilocybin assisted session. They are in an old-growth forest. Tripping trough nature.

Ready to go on a trip into the (un)knowns of using psychedelics in the treatment of mental health disorders? Then join us for this Ar event!





What is it like to be tripping? 
Would you go on a trip without knowing the destination?
What if you had a guide showing you the way? 
What if this trip would help improve your mental health?

For millennia, humans have “tripped” on psychedelic substances for spiritual growth, healing or recreational purposes. Today, the healthcare community has renewed interest in the potential of psychedelics for mental health.

In this Ar event, Tiago Quendera and Tatiana Silva, two neuroscience PhD students at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, will take you through the ups and downs of the history of psychedelics and their use in research.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring substance in the psilocybe mushroom—with hallucinogenic properties—has particularly been in the spotlight. Neuroscientists and mental health professionals are now pairing up to study the potential of psilocybin in treating mental health disorders.

Carolina Seybert, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Champalimaud Neuropsychiatry Unit, will share how her longtime interest in helping patients has led her to perform research with psychedelic substances. She will guide us through some promising clinical results and, as in any trip, “safety comes first”—so Carolina will explain how researchers provide adequate guidance to patient treatments.

As our special guest, we will host William Richards. Bill is a Psychologist and one of the pioneers of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. He was, most likely, the last person to legally apply this treatment in a research setting, before it came to a halt. After 22 years of dormancy in the USA,  together with Roland Griffiths, they made psilocybin research possible again. Bill will share with us the challenges of implementing these research protocols and provide insight regarding both the therapeutic process and the intricacies of working with psilocybin.

A photo of Tatiana Silva

Tatiana Silva

PhD student in the Neural Circuits and Behaviour Lab at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown who is interested in understanding how the brain learns.

A photo of Tiago Quendera

Tiago Quendera

PhD student in the Systems Neuroscience Lab and Neuropsychiatry Unit at Champalimaud who is fascinated by how mental health disorders manifest in the brain.

A photo of Carolina Seybert

Carolina Seybert

Clinical psychologist trained at ISPA (Lisbon). During her PhD at Ulm University (Germany), she specialised in analysing psychotherapeutic concepts that contribute to better psychotherapeutic outcomes, such as therapeutic technique. Afterwards, Carolina received psychoanalytic training at Washington DC and kept her research linked to clinical practice. Carolina then spent five years in Berlin working as an investigator of psychological concepts in randomised control trials of psychotherapy, such as emotional processing. She is now pursuing her research investigating possible neurobiological mechanisms of action of psilocybin among patients with depression at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown.

William (Bill) A. Richards

Psychologist at the Center of Psychedelic & Consciousness Research at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He has been involved in psilocybin research since 1963, pursuing psychotherapy research with LSD and other psychedelics, at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. This work includes exploring protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelic substances in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer. His publications on the topic began in 1966 with “Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism,” coauthored with Walter Pahnke. His book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences was released in 2015 and has since been translated into four additional languages.