Psychedelics and Psychotherapy
Across time and cultures, humans have used psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, and ibogaine as tools for emotional and spiritual growth. Recently, interest in psychedelics has experienced a resurgence thanks to scientific advancements in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, increased media attention, and changes to legal restrictions. More and more people are seeking psychedelic experiences to foster personal
growth and healing, though laws prohibiting psychedelic use makes this difficult to do safely and effectively.
“Psychedelics… open you up to the possibility that
everything you know is wrong.”
~ Terence McKenna
Research shows that psychedelics frequently lead to deeply meaningful experiences that can catalyze new and healthier ways of living and personal transformation. Without adequate planning or support, however, psychedelic experiences can be frightening, confusing, or overwhelming and for these reasons, as well as the use of psychedelics is best approached with careful consideration. Preparation includes assessing the risks and safety of use and learning methods for incorporating lessons learned into daily life. Psychotherapy is one way to do this. Not only can it can help you prepare for psychedelic experiences (thereby reducing the risk of bad outcomes), it can also help maximize benefits by helping you effectively integrate the insights and wisdom gained and create lasting change.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an ideal framework for exploring, preparing for and processing the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of psychedelic experiences. Scientific research suggests that ACT can contribute to deepening and maintaining the often profound effects of psychedelics. Indeed, experts at multiple psychedelic research centres have described ACT as uniquely positioned to increase the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Nuts and Bolts
How do you work with people who are considering using psychedelic medicine in a legal setting? *
In considering the “if, how, and when” of psychedelic use, it’s critical to use a “harm reduction” approach in which the therapist provides a supportive space for those curious about or planning on an experience of non-ordinary states of consciousness. This work equips you to explore options, make informed choices, and significantly reduce the likelihood of a “bad trip.” Safety strategies include getting familiar with psychedelics, making thoughtful decisions around set and setting, identifying intentions, letting go of expectations, learning how to navigate a medicine journey, and setting the stage for personal growth and change.
What is psychedelic integration?
Following a psychedelic experience, many ask, “Now what?” Others worry that their newfound insights are slipping away. Psychedelic integration can help you make sense of a psychedelic experience and integrate its most valuable teachings into your day-to-day life. The process of taking an experience encountered in one state of consciousness and then trying to fit it into a sober or familiar one can be challenging. For some, this experience is magical and healing and yet others may leave the experience confused and unsure about how to make sense of it. And, like a dream, the benefits bestowed by psychedelic experiences can fade if you don’t somehow express and examine what happened in the experience soon after it’s over. The experiences that emerge in a psychedelic experience aren’t always easy to understand. This is where integration can help — together, you and your therapist will walk through your experience, explore the most important facets, and help you make sense of them. By integrating these insights, you are better equipped to put into action what you learned from your experience.
What kind of person is psychedelic safety and integration suited for?
Integration work is for anyone interested in using psychedelics for healing and growth. People already well-versed in psychedelics can use integration work to enhance on-going self-actualization and bolster life-transformation. Those new to psychedelics can use psychedelic safety and integration to explore psychedelic options, learn how to navigate experiences, and maximize benefits.
* DISCLAIMER: We do not provide psychoactive or illicit substances. We do not conduct or promote psychedelic psychotherapy outside of approved clinical trials, and we do not provide referrals to “underground” (illegal) psychedelic services.