What is Psychedelic Integration?
The term “psychedelic integration” can have many meanings depending on the context in which the term is used. In a general sense, it refers to the work of self-reflection that a person engages in, in the days and weeks following a psychedelic experience. Self-reflection allows for the insights gained during the psychedelic experience to be better retained in memory. It also allows an individual to “make sense” of the material that arose during a psychedelic experience by relating it to their life’s journey and life experiences, or current life challenges they are working through. Psychedelic integration can be done alone, with a peer support group, or with a therapist or guide.
What is Psychedelic Integration Therapy?
Psychedelic Integration Therapy consists of working with a therapist who is skilled at helping clients integrate issues and insights that arose during a psychedelic experience into their everyday lives. This can look and feel a lot like traditional psychotherapy, though integration therapists should have specialized training and knowledge of psychedelics. Psychedelic integration sessions are a standard part of most “psychedelic therapy protocols” that take place in legal research settings; however, psychedelic integration therapy can exist separately and independently of a complete protocol. This means clients can do psychedelic integration work with therapists who were not directly involved in their psychedelic experiences. For example, clients may have psychedelic experiences on their own or with friends, at music festivals and events, with an underground guide or sitter, or in ceremonial settings, and find that they need integration therapy afterwards.
Can Psychedelic Integration Therapy Help Me Prepare for a Psychedelic Experience?
Yes. In addition to helping clients integrate psychedelic experiences after they have already occurred, therapists can provide support, education, and resources to help clients safely prepare for and get the most benefit out of a psychedelic experience. These sessions utilize what is called a “harm reduction” approach to provide clients with information about the risks and benefits of engaging with different types of psychedelic experiences. While Sequoia Center therapists cannot directly give clients access to psychedelics (aside from ketamine) or refer them to underground psychedelic practitioners, they can work with clients to better prepare them for experiences they plan to have in outside settings.
What Are Some Reasons Clients Seek Out Psychedelic Integration Therapy?
They are curious about the effects, risks, and benefits of various psychedelics and want to learn more about use of psychedelics as a therapeutic tool
They are feeling confused or overwhelmed after a psychedelic experience and are seeking assistance in “making sense” of the experience
They are looking for support in understanding and coping with a psychedelic experience that was very challenging or traumatic
They are looking to make major life changes, after gaining new insight after a psychedelic experience