Have You Heard of a Psychedelic Integration Therapist?
In a nutshell, a psychedelic integration therapist offers client-centered non-judgmental space for support to those who are curious about, planning on or have previously explored non-ordinary states of consciousness. It is a safe space to explore options, clarify intentions, learn tools for self care, and process the experience.
The psychedelic psychotherapy process involves various phases; psychedelic preparation, experience, and integration, all of which are important in maximizing the desired results. The psychedelic experience could be spiritual, peer-led, and therapeutic. In fact, studies have shown that this experience can treat several mental conditions, among them anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, and many more. According to experts, when psychedelics are used in a controlled environment under close supervision, the experience induced can be manipulated to produce positive long-term psychological and behavioral changes. This process can be quite challenging and requires experts to prepare the patient and achieve the intended results. This is where psychedelic integration therapy comes in.
What does a psychedelic integration therapist do?
A psychedelic integration therapist is a professional who administers the process of psychedelic integration. Psychedelic integration therapists have for centuries used globally to provide assistance in addiction and mental health issues. Recent research shows these professionals are useful in minimizing suicidal ideation and depression in treatment-resistant persons.
During the psychedelic experience, you conceptualize your life experiences and gain new insights. Challenging memories and emotions may also surface, and this can affect your inner person to a greater extent. Although psychedelic experiences do achieve their desired goals when conducted in a clinical setting, preparation is paramount. Your inner world needs to be prepared for the forthcoming changes, and your external world should be accommodative of these transformations throughout the process.
Remember, not everyone can integrate new insights, hidden traumas, and uncovered memories without a professional’s help. In such a case, you ought to seek help from an integration therapist to enjoy the benefits of your psychedelic experience.
Psychedelic integration therapists do not administer or provide the drugs. Instead, they prepare you for the psychedelic journey and also assist you in processing your experience thereafter.
Historical background of psychedelic integration therapy
Psychedelic substances have been in existence for centuries, and so has psychedelic integration therapy. These substances were initially derived from cacti, bark, and seeds, and later in 1943, Albert Hofmann discovered the psychoactive properties in LSD. This revolutionized the world of psychotherapy, and by the 1950s through the 1960s, scientists continued with research into the psychotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, MDMA, and Psilocybin.
In the late 20th century, there was global concern over drug abuse. This was followed by regulations against the use of psychedelic drugs, classifying them as Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that they do not have any medical value and are prone to abuse. But this did not last long.
The new wave of research in recent years has given more insights into the benefits of psychedelic therapy. This has also eased people’s attitudes towards psychedelic drugs, and society has started to embrace their use in treating mental problems. For instance, the Johns Hopkins University and New York University’s 2016 study measured the effects of psychedelic therapy on anxiety and depression in cancer patients, and the results were amazing. The drug administration authorities have since approved more research on psychedelics, and the psychedelic therapy field is rising again.
Today, professional therapists are helping patients through their psychedelic experiences. But the benefits of psychedelic integration therapy are notable even in the absence of psychedelic substances. Many people are looking into psychedelic integration therapy for the beneficial effects on the mind. The process provides patients with a safe, non-judgemental space to go through and conceptualize their daily experiences.
What are the different techniques used?
There is no specific technique to administer psychedelic integration counseling, and therapists are known to devise their own ways of doing it. However, the common techniques involve:
- Breathwork: This is a great relaxation tool. Techniques such as Wim Hof Method, Holotropic Breathwork, and transformational breath are supportive of the integration process as they help release any emotions left after the psychedelic experience.
- Somatic and Embodiment techniques: The psychedelic experience can connect you to the parts with tension and pain within your body. In this way, integration helps deal with trauma through practices such as massage, yoga, or even dancing.
- Trauma therapy: This involves techniques such as Somatic Experiencing and EMDR. Other cognitive therapies such as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be used to manage traumatic symptoms.
- Emotional freedom technique (EFT): This is a tapping technique intended to work with the body’s energy system without triggering traumatic memories.
Set and environment are crucial considerations during a psychedelic session. The term “set” applies to things like mood and expectations. The context in which the therapy takes place is referred to as the setting. The aim is to feel comfortable with the therapist and the environment.
Psychedelic therapy training
Only trained specialists conduct psychedelic integration therapy. A good number of educational institutions offer psychedelic training programs. For instance, the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) offers a Certificate in Psychedelic-assisted Psychotherapies and Research program that involves 120 hours of intense training. The institution admitted its first class in 2016 and has now trained over 300 psychedelics.
The training covers topics such as the typical psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, and LSD. The therapists are also trained on using newer psychedelic drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy) and Ketamine. Significant competencies of a psychedelic therapist include:
- Ability to evaluate and conceptualize the psychological effects of the psychedelic experience
- Ability to recognize all PIT-related verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality
- Good knowledge of psychedelics, their negative effects, and use in finding meaning, healing, and growth
- Basic knowledge of psychedelic laws in the United States
Psychedelic therapist licensing requirements
One has to be a licensed psychotherapist, medical professional, counselor, or spiritual representative to offer psychedelic integration therapy services. Either way, they have to be knowledgeable about the field of psychedelic therapy and demonstrate high ethical standards during practice.
How to find a psychedelic therapist
Today, if you need psychedelic integration counseling, there are many psychedelics you can choose from. Some major places where you can find psychedelic therapists include
- Online directories: There are many directories, such as frshminds.com, which can help you find your desired therapist based on your location.
- Psychedelic societies: Across the world, there are more than 90 psychedelic societies. A psychedelic society is a group of people who meet occasionally to provide education about experiences in psychedelic therapy. They vary largely in structure depending on society’s needs. Most of these societies open to the public and are attended by people with personal experiences with psychedelic substances. Some examples of these societies are the Australian psychedelic society, psychedelic society Vienna, Psychonauten in Gesprek, The Calgary psychedelic medicine society.
Finding the best therapist for your case can really be a daunting task. While most people would recommend that you look for someone with experience, there are many other important factors to consider, such as licensing. You also need to know the type of psychedelic assistance you need for you to land the right professional. Use our free search tool to locate a psychedelic integration therapist. You can also find out more about the therapists by checking out their individual sites.
Learn More About Psychedelic Integration Therapy
- History of Psychedelic Integration Therapy
- What is Psychedelic Integration Therapy?
- Ana Holub: Forgiveness, Addiction Recovery and Psychedelic Integration
- Meet June Jackson: New Orleans Psychedelic Integration Specialist and Life Coach
- Psychedelic Therapist Scott Ross’ Insights on Integration Therapy
- Psychedelic Therapist Lynne Nardizzi, LCSW, Talks Psychedelic Integration
- Meet Gerard Artesona: Psychedelic Integration Therapist and Spiritual Guide
- Rima Danielle Jomaa: Psychedelic Integration Therapist and Mindfulness Expert
- Introducing Brian Murphy: Psychedelic and Psychospiritual Integration Therapist