ADAM KNOWLES

Adam Knowles
Existential psychotherapist

'Our telephone line back to source' and what those in the UK make of their ayahuasca experiences. A report on IPA research. // Winner, Breaking Convention Research Award, Humanities, 2018

Last year I met with four people from the UK who told me the sense they make of their ayahuasca experiences here and abroad. In this presentation, I analyse their tales of trouble, terror, temerity and transcendence. Some said to me that their ayahuasca experiences made a profound change to their lives thanks to insight and healing, while others were less enthusiastic. I will describe the five themes that I developed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. I will make the case as to why psychotherapists should research psychedelics, and how existentialism questions the common language, ontology and epistemology of research.

Adam Knowles is an existential psychotherapist working in private practice in London with an increasingly international client-base. Born in Manchester, Adam worked for 20 years leading technology teams, then took ayahuasca and spent the next five years training at the School of Psychology and Psychotherapy at Regent’s University London. Exploring psychodynamic and humanistic/integrative perspectives, Adam specialised in the existential school.

His undergraduate degree is in International Relations, with a background in social sciences and political activism culminating in becoming Chair of LGBT Humanists for several years. He is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is also a member of the Society for Existential Analysis, speaking at their 30th Anniversary conference in 2018. Adam contributes articles to the Chacruna Institute for Plant Medicines and will co-facilitate an event at their 2019 conference 'Queering Psychedelics'.

Adam is a member of the Chacruna working group for Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities. His other writings have recently featured in Therapy Today, the Hermeneutic Circular, the SEA Journal and 'Reflections' journal. Current research interests are sex, gender and sexuality, crypto/blockchain and the nexus of psychedelics and psychotherapy, particularly ayahuasca. Adam attended the first ayahuasca retreat for 'psy' professionals at Soltara, Costa Rica, in March 2019 led by Bia Labate and Joe Tafur. Following his MA research, Adam is now looking for a PhD supervisor to make interdisciplinary connections regarding psychotherapy, phenomenology and psychedelics. Other interests include yin yoga, story-led indie video games, LGBT issues and mindfulness.