Psychedelic substances have been part of the history of many cultures across time. In recent years, the US has experienced a promising renaissance of psychedelic research, specifically in the context of their therapeutic use in the mental health field. Today, ongoing research is taking place in some of the best research facilities in the country (John Hopkins School of Medicine, New York University, the University of California in Los Angeles, to name a few). For those of us who deeply believe in the promise of these substances to explore and heal emotional pain and trauma, it is a hopeful time.
Psychedelic experiences can feel overwhelming and difficult to understand without proper support and integration. It can be challenging to process and incorporate the insights that arise during these experiences in our everyday lives without a therapeutic setting conducive to safe exploration. Preparation and integration practices with support from a psychotherapist can be incredibly beneficial when done with care and intention.
I enjoy creating a safe space for clients to explore and integrate themes that may arise during the course of a psychedelic journey. I often adopt a trauma-informed, harm reduction approach when supporting clients through integration work, using an Internal Family Systems lens to explore parts that may present before, during, and after a psychedelic experience.
It is also important to note that the therapeutic use of psychedelics is but one of the many tools that may be utilized in the process emotional growth and exploration. They are not a panacea and their use brings up many risks that have to be seriously considered. Even though the amazing work of organizations like MAPS could change that in the future, these substances are illegal in the United States today.