Through the fusion of psychedelics and technology, ‘Cyberdelics’ and Moistmedia, have the potential to offer greater precision in modulating and entraining altered state experiences. Both Psychedelics and Extended Reality (XR) technologies like VR and AR have the potential to immerse users in enriched sensory landscapes; both have been studied as mediums of transformative experience and both have been used as aids to help recovery from mental illness. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a promising and unique therapeutic modality with a focus on disrupting entrenched ways of thinking, feeling and perceiving. Psychedelics do not guarantee positive change, they are experiential medicines that may provide a ‘window of plasticity’ which can be utilised as part of a therapeutic process towards wellbeing and personal growth. While altered states can be illuminating, altered traits are not guaranteed. Context engineering (CE) involves the deliberate re-structuring of experience to enhance and expand perception and cognition. CE gives us new abilities and control over our senses providing us with a new type of self and societal exploration. CE considers the broad spectrum of what augmentation can do but also highlights the dangers of focusing solely on the technology. The use of context engineered virtual and augmented environments can assist in stabilising the insights precipitated through the psychedelic-assisted therapy process. There is much to discover in the intersection between psychedelics and XR technologies. What are the factors in a virtual environment, the key ingredients, that will support the different phases of psychedelic-assisted therapy? What are the ethical considerations of ‘artificial’ guidance to experiences which are fundamentally unique and personal? If utilised wisely, cyberdelics may provide an enhanced learning environment for the development of set, setting and skills to support psychedelic-assisted therapy from preperation, acute-experience to integration.
Melissa’s mission is to cultivate an evidence and experience-based understanding of psychological well-being, with the aim to translate this knowledge into systems that support eudemonic agency and mental health. Melissa is Secretary of Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine(PRISM) a charity supporting the creation of psychedelic research trials, a teacher to future psychedelic therapists at Mind Medicine Australia and Psychedelics Today, a co- founder of The Australian Psychedelic Society and a member of the UK-Australian Young Leaders Forum.
After graduating in Neuroscience from the University of Melbourne, Melissa travelled to leading international centres of psychedelic research, transformative technology and meditation. She is now integrating these experiences to contribute to the establishment of next-generation of mental health treatments in Australia. Melissa is currently a post-graduate psychology student at The University of Melbourne and is leading the development of a therapeutic virtual reality program to support psychedelic-assisted therapy through meditation training and immersive visuals.
Melissa is an experienced meditation guide, having studied under the Mahamudra lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Melissa’s approach is informed by a scientific outlook, a transpersonal perspective, a positive psychology lens, and grounded in the somatic. In her freetime, Melissa enjoys her yoga practice, poetry, dance and painting.
Carl Hayden Smith is the Director of the Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC) and Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Creativity & Technology, Ravensbourne University London. Carl has 20 years' experience conducting R+D into the application of hybrid technologies for perceptual, cognitive and creative transformation. He is focused on using both the technological and biological means to alter, probe and study the spectral nature of consciousness. His research focuses on generating new forms of media including Neuroadaptive Mixed Reality Training, Natural Media and Wearable experience (WE). Raising over £10 million in research funding, Carl has worked on numerous large-scale Leonardo LifeLong Learning, Erasmus+, FP7, XPRIZE and Horizon European projects including: Wearable Experience (WEKIT), REAP, AR4EU (Code Reality), Hobs Academy (LLDC), Hyperhumanism, Contextology (Context Engineering) and Holotechnica.Academy. Carl has given over 300 invited public lectures, conference presentations and keynotes in 40 countries and published more than 100 academic papers. His research interests include Embodied Cognition, Spatial Literacy, Umwelt Hacking, Sensory Augmentation, Artificial Senses and Body Hacking.