Psychedelic therapy has been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to treat mental health issues such as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike traditional talk therapy, psychedelic-assisted therapy involves the use of substances like psilocybin and MDMA to help patients achieve a state of heightened self-awareness and explore their inner thoughts and emotions. While psychedelic therapy can be highly effective, it is not a panacea. Proper preparation is key to ensuring a safe and beneficial experience. In this article, we will explore some of the key steps involved in preparing for a psychedelic therapy session. From setting intentions to creating a safe and comfortable environment, we will cover everything you need to know to get the most out of your psychedelic therapy experience.
Psychedelic therapy is a powerful tool for addressing mental health issues and achieving personal growth, but it can also be a challenging and overwhelming experience. To prepare for the experience, cognitive preparation is essential. Cognitive preparation refers to the mental and emotional preparation that a patient undergoes before the psychedelic session. Let's explore the importance of cognitive preparation and some key strategies to help you prepare for a successful psychedelic session.
Fears and expectations
Think through your expectations as you are getting ready for a psychedelic session. This will help you understand how to approach and value the psychedelic experience. Focus on what it means for you to have a meaningful life, which is the most essential topic. Also, discuss concerns, worries, and anxieties frequently with your trip sitter and decide how to handle them should they surface throughout treatment. This is aimed at traumatic events and other potentially upsetting life events to develop an "outlook" for dealing with them when they arise.
Relationship with a therapist
Your bond with the therapist you go on psychedelic healing with is essential to feel secure. The development of a trustworthy relationship with your therapist and healthcare professional is at the core of preparation. Take as much time as necessary to give you the impression that you are among someone you can be vulnerable with. You may let go and truly immerse yourself in the psychedelic experiences and healing process after you have developed trust.
You must have continuing discussions about consent and boundaries, including what feels safe and what doesn't, as well as how can your limits be respected at all times. Psychedelic experiences occasionally incorporate conscious physical touches, such as hand-holding or a hand on the shoulder (but only if someone chooses this as a part of their experience). Intense emotions may be developing for some people, and hand-holding can provide a sense of support in the therapist's presence.
Inner healing intelligence
The idea of inner-healing wisdom or intelligence lies at the foundation of psychedelic therapy. Every person has a deep psychological component that is inherently drawn to healing, wholeness, and integration, according to the theory. Defenses and barriers are removed during the psychedelic experience, and the inner-healing intelligence "takes the wheel." Investigate throughout preparation how to build a connection of trust with one's healing intelligence.
Setting an intention can help you focus your thinking and process on the things that are most significant to you and your experience. Intentions are different from objectives in that they are broader "aims" that you might target. Often, these "aims" are tied to our basic beliefs and typically reflect what we want our lives to be about. Begin by asking:
- Why are you doing this?
- What do you want to gain from this experience?
- What does recovery mean for you?
- What do you wish to be made clear?
- What do you wish to release?
Investigate your values, worldview, and beliefs as you work on developing the structure and "philosophy" for how to approach the recovery that works for you. Modify your vocabulary, ideas, and body of information in a way that is most likely to be understood by your therapist.
Preparing your body for the experience helps to maximize the benefits of a psychedelic experience. The first step in physical preparation is to ensure that you are in good health.
Psychedelic substances can have a powerful effect on the body, and it is important to be in good physical condition to minimize any potential risks. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated. It is also important to avoid alcohol and drugs in the days leading up to the session. Another important aspect of physical preparation is to consider the timing of the session. Psychedelic therapy can be a long and intense experience, and it is important to schedule the session at a time when you will have enough time to recover. This means setting aside several days for the session and allowing yourself time to rest and reflect afterward.
Physical environment or Setting
It is also important to consider the setting for the session. The environment can have a significant impact on the experience, and it is important to choose a location that is safe, comfortable, and conducive to healing. This may involve creating a space in your home that is quiet and peaceful, or it may involve traveling to a retreat center or other location that is specifically designed for psychedelic therapy. When using psychedelics, there are two possible physical environments:
- a clean, open, welcoming, and warm space with a couch or bed;
- a well-known outdoor scene. If you choose to take a psilocybin session inside, choose a spot that is tidy, uncluttered, has a bed or sofa, and is close to the bathroom. A sound system and a selection of comfortable cushions and blankets should be provided. Your objective is to establish and maintain a clear and simple atmosphere that encourages inner peace.
Another important aspect of physical preparation is to consider the use of supplements or other supportive therapies. Some individuals find that taking supplements like magnesium or N-acetylcysteine can help mitigate some of the potential side effects of psychedelic substances. Others may benefit from other therapies such as acupuncture or massage to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
How Does Preparation Improve Results of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?
All of this preparation work contributes to developing the qualities necessary for a positive psychedelic experience: trust and openness. The methods of healing vary depending on the individual. It suggests that personalized assistance is crucial for patients with mental health conditions, and particularly for those receiving psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Patients may make the most of their therapeutic experience by focusing on harm reduction and long-lasting results as they prepare ready for psychedelic treatment.
Vivien Freeflow · 3/31/2023