The healing power of psychedelics
Psychedelics have been gaining popularity in the recent years. A lot of people take them recreationally or with the purpose of healing. Numerous studies confirm their positive effects on well-being, but not everyone experiences their benefits in a similar way.
Why do some people benefit and others do not?
A lot of the effects of a psychedelic experience depend on the set, setting and personal/psychological resources that you have. Having a clear intention, a general orientation and understanding of the effects of psychedelics on the mind, and a solid understanding of your thought patterns can enhance positive effects and shield you from negative ones.
How can a therapist assist you in this process?
A therapist can help you prepare for the journey, guide you and integrate the experience later. Someone who knows and understands what you struggle with can assist you in introducing balanced changes into your life in the post-psychedelic period.
How can a therapist help me prepare for my psychedelic experience?
A therapist can help you understand your motivation better and set a clear intention. They can help you identify rigid thinking patterns that could block your experience or lead you to have a bad trip. These points of resistance in the cognitive system can sometimes be problematic. For example, negative attitudes towards specific emotions, such as sadness or fear can make you less open to what the experience has to offer. Working on those attitudes before a psychedelic session can really make a difference. A therapist can also help you prepare a bit for what may come and approach the experience with openness and a sense of safety.
How can a therapist help me integrate the experience?
The crucial role that a therapist can play is the time of integration. Psychedelics make your mind much more flexible and susceptible to change - in the weeks or even months after the experience you may find yourself questioning your thinking patterns, even the ones you were very attached to before. This is where real, lasting change can occur. You may start identifying patterns and strategies that you now think were problematic. A therapist can help you figure out how to make them more flexible so that positive changes in your thoughts and behaviors can lead you to lead a fuller and happier life. A therapist can also watch over you so that you do not immediately follow your newfound insights or make rash decisions. The time after a psychedelic session can be challenging, you may feel more triggered or temped to make major life changes fast. This may not work in your favor, and having a friendly, outside perspective can shield you from making decisions you may later regret. In my experience, the changes that are the most profound are the tiny, everyday strategies that you use to interact with other people. They may truly contribute to an increase in your well-being.
How do I choose a therapist that can help me?
I would suggest looking for someone who understands how psychedelics work - both theoretically and personally. Look for a psychologist with an interest in psychedelics: enthusiasm mixed with a bit of rational skepticism. Most importantly - decide on someone you trust and feel safe with.
Can a therapist help me cope with a bad trip?
Definitely. A bad trip can be a traumatizing experience. If you had a bad trip and you notice an adverse reaction when you think about it - you may need help reframing it. A memory of a bad trip should not scare you, a therapist can help you investigate and understand what happened and turn the memory of a bad trip into a memory of a challenge you managed to overcome.
Contact me if you are interested in using psychedelics for healing.