PROJECT: JTC2023 - ELSA: PsyTrans

Psychedelic Transformations: A Taiwanese-German Comparison of Ethical and Sociocultural Aspects of New Therapies


Psychedelics are a phenomenologically defined class of pharmacological neurointerventions. They have moved from the laboratory to the clinic and the gray market. In therapeutic settings, they have shown promising results. Psychedelic therapy has the potential to transform parts of psychiatry with a range of possible applications, from the treatment of end-of-life anxiety to posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. However, psychedelics are not merely a new type of medication but a novel type of neurointervention with peculiar unaddressed ethical implications. This is because psychedelic neurointerventions bring about transformative changes such as personality changes, attitudes toward death, and other moral, political, and metaphysical outlooks. Furthermore, these changes are not predictable. It is important to investigate ways of managing the transformative power of psychedelics so that there are reliable clinical guidelines to protect patients from being harmed while benefiting from the transformative insights obtained through psychedelic therapy. This project aims to assess the ethical implications of forms of personal transformations via pharmacological means in the German and Taiwanese contexts and compare them to investigate their similarities and differences. This project will generate policy recommendations for increasing the context and cultural sensitivity of future international and national clinical regulations and guidelines of psychedelic therapy.


Ketamine, Psychedelics, Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, LSD, Intercultural Comparison, Transformative Experiences, Pivota Mental States

Call topic

ELSA of Neuroscience

Proposed runtime

n/a - n/a

Project team

Karen Yan
Taiwan (NSTC)
Dimitris Repantis
Germany (BMBF)
Sascha Benjamin Fink
Germany (BMBF)

Lay summary