Keeping Track Of Your Psychedelic Integration Practice

Measuring the Psychedelic Integration

Interest in psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement has increased sharply in the last few years. It is safe to say that a major fraction of the millions of psychedelic experiences that are going to be conducted in the next few years are not going to be integrated properly. Translating a psychedelic ceremony into long-lasting benefits in everyday life can be challenging, but there are tools that the psychonaut can use to increase the success of their integration practice. In this article, we are going to discuss two indicators of integration carefully developed by scientists in a paper published in Frontiers in Psychology Vol.13.

Researchers set out to discover a way to measure integration; defined as the ongoing process after a psychedelic ceremony in which the participant translates the experience into positive changes in daily life. The integration practice requires two moments, a moment to reflect and another moment to transform the ideas into tangible change. But if we are to measure integration, we must also consider how the psychonaut feels during the integration. With this in mind, two Integration scales were created, the Integration Engagement Scale and the Experienced Integration Scale.

These two scales are composed of questions that the participant scores from 1 to 5, ranging from ‘Strongly Disagree’ to ‘Strongly Agree’. One scale measures how much the participant engages in activities that facilitate the integration, and the other measures how well the lessons of the integration are settling in. It is encouraged for the participant to fill out the questionnaire less than 48 hours after the psychedelic experience, and then continously once a week or more often. In this kind of questionnaire, there are no wrong answers. The participant should answer honestly to get a better picture of how their integration process is going.

Integration Engagement Scale

  • I’ve given myself mental space to reconnect to the experience;
  • I’ve read, viewed, or listened to informative content relevant to my experience;
  • I’ve gained insight into my experience through talking with supportive people;
  • I’ve spent time in silent contemplation of my experience.
  • I’ve spent time in nature to nurture my experience. I’ve followed up on my experience with focused attention practice
  • (meditation, mindfulness, mantra, journaling, visualization, etc).
  • I’ve applied the learnings from my experience to my life. I’ve found ways to carry the intentions I had for my experience into
  • my daily life.
  • Because of my experience, I’ve prioritized my overall wellness. I’ve spent time in environments that help me stay attuned to the
  • lessons following from my experience.
  • I’ve been supportive of others as a result of my experience.
  • I’ve made healthy life choices for myself because of my experience;

Experienced Integration Scale

  • I feel at peace with my experience.
  • I feel more balanced since my experience. I have a continued sense of open-minded curiosity about my
  • experience.
  • I feel the harmony between the experience and my inner being.
  • I feel the harmony between my daily life and my experience.
  • I feel a sustained connection to my experience.
  • I feel more connection in my life because of my experience. I have a deep feeling of connection between nature and my
  • experience.
  • I feel greater self-awareness since my experience.
  • I feel the benefit from my experience expressed in my life.
  • I feel the positive effect of the way I interpret my experience. I’ve felt the benefit of my experience extending past myself
  • into my community.

Engagement In The Psychedelic Integration

Reflection on The Psychedelic Experience 

The reflection stage of the integration is where the participant revisits the themes, insights, and overall experience of the psychedelic ceremony to make sense of the symbols, narratives, and possible lessons that they haven’t processed yet. Connecting the psychedelic experience to everyday life is the essence of self-growth with psychedelics. A big part of the reflection stage is done internally and can be accomplished by simply giving yourself mental space to meditate on the experience.

  • I’ve given myself mental space to reconnect to the experience;
  • I’ve read, viewed, or listened to informative content relevant to my experience;
  • I’ve gained insight into my experience through talking with supportive people;
  • I’ve spent time in silent contemplation of my experience.

Another way to reflect better on the experience is to speak to other people. Even if the subject of the conversation is not the experience itself, simply communicating with members of your community can help the participant to gain perspective on life in general. Beyond that, there are other activities that could also stimulate the mind of the participant to make connections between their intentions pre-sessions, the psychedelic experience, and how to transform that into real-life change.

Applying The Psychedelic Experience

Application is all about putting your psychedelic lessons into practice. It can refer to taking part in mindfulness practices like Yoga, breathwork, and Qi Gong, among others. Applying the psychedelic experience can also have to do with intentionally changing old habits, revisiting toxic relationships, dealing with addiction, etc… During this stage it is important to stay in touch with the intentions you set before the ceremony and actively try to apply the insights in the form of positive change.

  • I’ve spent time in nature to nurture my experience. I’ve followed up on my experience with focused attention practice (meditation, mindfulness, mantra, journaling, visualization, etc);
  • I’ve applied the learnings from my experience to my life. I’ve found ways to carry the intentions I had for my experience into my daily life;
  • Because of my experience, I’ve prioritized my overall wellness. I’ve spent time in environments that help me stay attuned to the lessons following from my experience;

Each person has their own objective and an exercise that can fit their lifestyle. When looking for a practice that works for you, look for something that will boost your self-growth. Mindfulness practices are particularly effective in nurturing a wholesome integration. Stick to the activity that stimulates you to be present-minded and that helps you internalize the insights.

Measuring The Progress of The Psychedelic Integration

The psychedelic journey may cause deeply seated issues to surface, causing an imbalance in the life of the participant. A good indicator of a successful integration practice is the stabilization of emotional extremes and a feeling of internal balance. As the participant engages in the process of integration and applies the lessons to everyday life, the issues that first surfaced during the psychedelic ceremony slowly start to settle. This can be measured using the Experienced Integration Scale.

  • I feel at peace with my experience.
  • I feel more balanced since my experience. I have a continued sense of open-minded curiosity about my
  • experience.

Another good indicator of a fulfilled integration is how harmonized the psychonaut feels. Integrating the psychedelic experience means making connections with the psychedelic world and everyday life with equilibrium. Feelings of harmony may correlate with how well the participant has coordinated internal changes with external behaviour. Feelings of harmony are not only related to feeling in peace but also to feeling of interconnectedness of all things.

  • I feel the harmony between the experience and my inner being.
  • I feel the harmony between my daily life and my experience.
  • I feel a sustained connection to my experience.
  • I feel more connection in my life because of my experience. I have a deep feeling of connection between nature and my
  • experience.

It is normal to feel that the beginning of the integration process is challenging. Repressed things inside of us – usually because we ignore, hide, or forget – often surface during the psychedelic journey, and being confronted by our dark side can be tough. However, even the most challenging experiences can impact our lives positively. How often do we hear about psychonauts who had a super challenging bad trip and still learn to grow from it? Feeling that you have improved from the experience is yet another component of a successful integration practice.

  • I feel greater self-awareness since my experience;
  • I feel the benefit from my experience expressed in my life;
  • I feel the positive effect of the way I interpret my experience. I’ve felt the benefit of my experience extending past myself into my community;

Keeping Track of Your Integration

Keeping a journal to document your integration can be extremely helpful. The exercise of looking back into the past days and organizing it into words helps the participant to understand the changes the psychedelic experience promoted and integrate them into a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If you need a good blueprint for what to write in your journal, then take the questionnaires proposed in this article and apply them to your own experience.

The two scales proposed by the researchers mentioned in this article are meant to measure both the engagement of the participant in their integration practice and to measure how much the lessons of the psychedelic experience settled by inquiring the participant about how they feel over the course of their integration journey. There are no wrong or right answers, these scales are meant to measure certain aspects of the integration practice and can help you keep track of your progress in translating the lessons of the psychedelic experience into everyday life.

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1 – Frymann T, Whitney S, Yaden DB, Lipson J. The Psychedelic Integration Scales: Tools for Measuring Psychedelic Integration Behaviors and Experiences. Front Psychol. 2022 May 23;13:863247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.863247. PMID: 35677137; PMCID: PMC9168432.

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