Dissertation Title:

A Hermeneutic Phenomenology of the N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) Experience


Rachel Turetzky

Date, Time & Place:

March 25, 2022 at 1:00 pm


A hermeneutic phenomenological research approach using thematic analysis was used to explore the subjective experience of the psychedelic compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT).  The secondary archival data analyzed in this study included the participant bedside notes written by physician and researcher Rick Strassman, MD during his groundbreaking DMT research in the early 1990s (Strassman & Qualls, 1994; Strassman, Qualls, Uhlenhuth, & Kellner, 1994; Strassman, 1996; Strassman, Qualls, & Berg, 1996).  These participants were intravenously administered either inactive saline placebo or a low, medium, or high dose of DMT, ranging from 0.04 mg/kg to 0.4 mg/kg.  This dissertation narrowed the data analysis to compare the qualitative effects of DMT at a low dose (0.05 mg/kg) and a high dose (0.4 mg/kg).  Placebo effects were also briefly included.  Themes that emerged from the low dose included: properties of the drug, properties of the experience, perceptual alterations, affective phenomena, cognitive phenomena, psychological effects, experience of entities, comparison with other drug states, comedown effects, and afterglow.  The same themes were identified for the high dose, as well as spiritual effects, experience of interdimensional surroundings, and felt realness.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, A, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Juliet Rohde-Brown
  • Reader: Dr. Susan Guy
  • External Reader: Dr. Jose Sánchez
  • Keywords: NN-Dimethyltryptamine, Dimethyltryptamine, DMT, Psychedelics, Hermeneutic, Phenomenology, Phenomenology, Qualitative Research