Immersive Nature Videos Enhance Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy for Alcohol Addiction


Researchers at Providence Saint John’s Health Center have discovered that incorporating nature-themed immersive videos, created by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, can improve the clinical effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted therapy for alcohol use disorder.
TriibyPhoto byUltra Unlimited/John Heinz

Key Findings:

  • A trial conducted at Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Treatment & Research In Psychedelics Center (TRIP) revealed that participants who experienced nature-themed immersive videos during their psilocybin-assisted therapy were calmer and better prepared for the treatment.
  • Long-term follow-up is needed to assess the durability of this treatment approach, but there were significant reductions in alcohol use and related problems during the 14-week study.
  • Blood pressure increases after psilocybin use were notably lower in sessions where participants watched the nature-themed video at the start of their journey.

Nature in Clinical Settings:

  • While many individuals choose natural settings for psilocybin experiences outside of medical settings, replicating this outdoors is challenging.
  • The research team brought nature into the clinic using "Visual Healing" videos by Louie Schwartzberg to create a calming environment for participants.

The Importance of Set and Setting:

  • Psilocybin typically takes effect 30 to 40 minutes after ingestion and often results in transformative experiences.
  • The setting for the psilocybin experience plays a crucial role in the success of the treatment.
  • The immersive video, "Visual Healing," offered participants a beneficial starting point for their psychedelic journey, leading to lower blood pressure and positive subjective reports.

Filmmaker's Perspective:

  • Louie Schwartzberg's nature films have inspired and enlightened audiences for over 40 years.
  • Nature's beauty has a healing effect on individuals facing various challenges, from addiction to end-of-life concerns.
  • Nature-themed videos offer a unique perspective, prompting introspection and "aha" moments.

Psychedelics in Clinical Trials:

  • Psychedelics like psilocybin have been used in healing ceremonies for centuries and have shown promise in recent controlled clinical trials for mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
  • While not FDA-approved for clinical use, they offer potential treatments for various mental health issues.

The Study Details:

  • PNI researchers at the TRIP Center conducted a pilot study with two cohorts, one exposed to the nature video during their first psychedelic-assisted therapy session.
  • All participants received 25 mg psilocybin therapy and underwent supervised psilocybin journeys.
  • Follow-up sessions allowed participants to address their alcohol-related issues and find meaning in their psychedelic experiences.

Promising Future:

  • The study suggests that nature-themed immersive videos may reduce cardiovascular risks in psychedelic therapy and enhance patient relaxation and preparation without interfering with the psychedelic experience or treatment outcomes.
  • This approach could advance the field of psychedelic-based therapies.

Supporting Research:

  • Since 2019, PNI researchers have been studying the use of psychedelics to treat mental health issues, including addiction.
  • The recent study received funding from several foundations and used pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin capsules provided by the Usona Institute.

Incorporating nature-themed immersive videos into psychedelic-assisted therapy offers a unique way to enhance patient experiences and may hold promise in advancing the field of psychedelic-based therapies for addiction and other mental health conditions. Further research is needed to validate these findings.

For more information about the Pacific Treatment & Research In Psychedelics Center at PNI, visit

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