:: Works of Dr. Timothy Leary Ph.D.

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Dr. Timothy Leary's Work, from his early research on interpersonal diagnosis of personality to his death in 1996, was always about one primary idea: the freedom and responsibility to "think for yourself and question authority".

Major Works

In his 27 books and monographs, 250 articles, and more than 100 printed interviews published since the early l950s, Leary has helped define the Humanistic Revolution which has had a huge impact on world culture. His books and papers as a psychologist in the l950s helped launch the emerging "Humanistic Psychology" movement with an emphasis on interpersonal relationships, multilevel personality assessments, group therapy, body/mind interaction, and a libertarian redefinition of the doctor-patient relationship. Leary pioneered the controversial practice of group therapy believing that each group member needed to learn how to diagnosis and direct hir (Leary's gender-unspecific term) own thinking and behavior rather than passively rely on "experts" (psychiatrists, psychotherapists, politicians, etc.). Leary's research at Harvard with psychedelics led him to believe that use of these substances under specific circumstances could help suspend and, in some cases, reprogram a variety of troublesome behaviors (including alcoholism and "personality" disorders).

His group's most famous research project along these lines was the Concord State Reformatory Rehabilitation Study conducted in 1961 and 1962. The study showed a significant reduction of the recidivism rate of repeat offenders who took psilocybin with the guidance of Leary and company. A follow up three years later showed a less impressive result regarding overall re-incarceration but a significant reduction regarding the rate of convictions due to new crimes.

In the late 1980's, Robert Dilts worked with Timothy Leary to extend his (Leary's) ideas around "re-imprinting" into the world of NLP. From the work of Konrad Lorenz, Leary borrowed the idea of "imprinting" which demonstrates that some instances of learning takes place during a critical period and usually results in permanent and irreversible behavior patterns. (Lorenz earned the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1973).

In the early 1970's, Leary took Lorenz's idea of imprinting to a new level when he synthesized his eight-circuit model of consciousness from a variety of spiritual and pyschological models. Leary suggested that human evolve through distinct stages in response to environmental stimuli imprinted at different critical developmental periods. The first four circuits (physical safety, emotional strength, intellectual prowess, sexual / social relations) were universal to humans at this time in history. Leary proposed that four additional stages (neuro-somatic, neuro-electric, neuro-genetic, neuro-atomic) may be triggered by novel enviornmental signals such as space exploration (whether outer space or cyberspace), genetic engineering, nanotechnology and, of course, psychedelic drugs. See Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness for more info.

While Leary's work focused on the individual, he placed great value of fast feedback in small groups, especially among curious and intelligent people who knew how to have fun. When it came to having fun, he certainly seemed to practice what he preached. His ever present smile and contagious enthusiasm cheered up his visitors while HE was in prison during the mid 1970's after being declared "the most dangerous man in America" by then-president Nixon. Up to his final breath, Leary continued to surround himself with young people, especially artists, computer programmers and others who he felt encouraged him to get smarter.

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