Pre ICPR Events

About

Pre ICPR Events

About

Eirini Argyri, MSc

University of Exeter

Speaker Bio

Eirini Ketzitzidou Argyri (Arket) is a PhD candidate at Exeter University where she has also been coordinating the Transdisciplinary Psychedelic Colloquium. Her work explores normality challenging and diversifying experiences. She is interested in how challenging perceptions of ‘normality’ trigger mechanisms with layered impact on individual and collective potential for transformation.

Outside academia Eirini has published a philosophical-psychological novel on the paradoxical quest to complete ‘the puzzle of reality’. In Το Πιθανό (The Possible/Probable, Gavrielides books, 2014), the amnesiac protagonist’s questioning of his conscious reality is guided and hindered by trauma, memory, and dreams. In 2024, she performed her poetry ‘Question in(g) the Mirror’ at Exeter’s ‘Psychedelic Mayhem’ Phoenix event.

Eirini completed her Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology degree at Ioannina University, in Greece. She then moved to the UK to study Psychology of Education (MSc at UCL). She stayed in London to work as a Research Consultant for employee wellbeing, before returning to academia to study developmental intergroup processes: children’s reasoning about social exclusion, mechanisms of perspective-shifting and open-mindedness.

In 2023, Eirini joined Jules Evans’ Challenging Psychedelic Experiences Project as a Research Fellow and led an interview study on how people navigate the challenges of psychedelic-induced ontological shock and existential confusion.

ICPR 2024 Abstract

Navigating confusion: Existential distress and coping following challenging psychedelic experiences

Psychedelics are thought to amplify the perception of meaning, an effect suggested to drive their therapeutic benefits against a range of mental health disorders [1]. However, it is increasingly recognised that psychedelics may act as a 'pharmakon', able to produce contrasting effects in different contexts. 

In recent work exploring the extended difficulties individuals report following psychedelic experiences, over 50% had faced ontological difficulties, relating to their understanding of reality and existence [2]. We interviewed 28 participants that described experiencing such challenges, and analysed their transcripts with Reflexive Thematic Analysis. We explored their acute experiences and difficulties that followed, as well as potential aetiological factors for their challenges and what they found helpful or unhelpful navigating them.

Participants reported significant distress and disturbance to their daily functioning, relating to a loss of their prior cognitive and ontological grounding. Embodiment practices, interpersonal connection, and cognitive framing were identified as crucial elements for recovery. Many saw integration of their psychedelic experiences as a continuous process and some recognised positive outcomes despite the challenges they faced. We discuss insights from participants’ experiences regarding the kinds of resources that might benefit individuals dealing with an existentially challenging psychedelic trip.

1. Hartogsohn I. The meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics and their mediator role in psychedelic therapy, spirituality, and creativity. Frontiers in neuroscience. 2018.

2. Evans J, Robinson OC, Argyri EK, Suseelan S, Murphy-Beiner A, McAlpine R, Luke D, Michelle K, Prideaux E. Extended difficulties following the use of psychedelic drugs: A mixed methods study. Plos one. 2023

© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands