Acid test: how psychedelic virtual reality can help end society’s mass bad trip


The correlation between mental health conditions and technology suggests that our increased screen time is contributing to poorer overall wellbeing and even addictive symptoms. A new kind of technology called psychedelic virtual reality or “cyberdelic VR” is being used to treat trauma. It even simulates virtual worlds in which patients are able to confront their conditions.

The psychedelic revival continues to present innovative methods for treating mental health conditions, and so too the world of cyberdelia. Cyberdelic was the fusion of cyberculture and psychedelic subcultures which later formed a new counterculture within the 80s and 90s. The philosophy behind it centres on Rushkoff’s (Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist) call for “technology built on pre-digital era values of connection, creativity, and respect”.

The Australian Psychedelic Society founder Melissa Warner has initiated Melbourne’s first “cyberdelic incubator” which offers opportunities for people to try out virtual reality augmented experiences that go beyond recreational use. “cyberdelia promotes a renaissance of a more conscious approach to technology – one of self-transformation and a connection to other people more genuine than you might find on Instagram.”

VR exposure therapy is currently being used in a controlled setting to treat various types of trauma as well as trials for OCD at Monash University. “Combining multiple aspects of technology with psychedelic medicine and psychotherapy has very interesting implications for the future.

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Image: Crystal Vibes

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