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Psychedelic therapy has gained popularity in the last decade. The interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA has grown following a recent wave of studies that have been unraveling the profound impact on mental health that these substances can have. However, The benefits of a psychedelic retreat go beyond just treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Participants in psychedelic retreats report transformative experiences that can help them gain new insights, reframe their perspectives, and make positive life changes.
Psychedelic integration is the process of incorporating insights gained during psychedelic therapy into daily life. It involves reflecting on the experience, processing emotions and insights, and making meaningful changes based on what was learned. While the trip itself can be powerful, it is the integration that allows for lasting change. The effects of the psychedelic substance are temporary, lasting only a few hours. Integration helps solidify the insights gained during psychedelic therapy sustainably, allowing participants to continue making meaningful changes long after the journey is over.
The Importance of Integration In Psychedelic Therapy
Ultimately, the goal of psychedelic integration is to make positive changes in your life. This is an ongoing process of self-discovery and self-acceptance. It could take years until the lessons of a meaningful psychedelic journey fully sink in. Even though much of the integration happens passively, almost in an automatic way, there is a big chunk of integration that requires active engagement from the participant. Having a clear blueprint for psychedelic integration can help the psychonaut to make the most out of their integration practice.
A roadmap for this process can allow participants to set goals, identify possible challenges, and come up with a practical action plan to achieve a healthier and more wholesale lifestyle. A good place to begin is by reflecting on your experience; keeping an integration journal and meditating on your ceremony. Take a moment to carefully consider the emotions, insights, and sensations you experienced. It can be useful to regularly ask yourself the following:
- What did I learn about myself?
- What did I learn about the world?
- What changes do I want to make in my life as a result of this experience?
Psychedelic Therapy With Supportive Community
Having a supportive community and seeking support is important. It can be helpful to work with a psychedelic integration coach or a therapist who can provide guidance and support as you navigate the integration process. Talking with professionals and other psychonauts can help the participant to:
1 — Process difficult emotions;
2 — Identify patterns in thinking and behavior;
3 — Develop an action plan for making meaningful changes;
Engaging in conversations of any kind — even unrelated to the ceremony itself— can give the participant a variety of new perspectives, which can help them to compose a richer and broader view of things. It is important to communicate with people from all walks of life, with an open heart and an explorative mindset. Sharing how your integration practice is going can be a good way to make yourself accountable* for your integration.
*Holding yourself accountable for your integration means making yourself responsible for your practice. Some of the advantages of accountability are:
- An accountability partner can help you set clear intentions and discuss goals, hopes, and fears;
- Accountability can provide emotional support. This involves discussing the experience in-depth, identifying key takeaways, and working together to plan how to apply those insights in practical ways;
- Accountability requires introspection, which can help psychonauts process and integrate their psychedelic experiences more effectively;
Read more about how to hold yourself accountable for your psychedelic integration practice on our blog:
Self-Care and Integration
The essence of integration is self-care. Going on a ceremony with psychedelics can be emotionally draining and quite intense. Following the trip, it is important to take good care of yourself by resting and eating healthily. This care should also extend to your integration practice in the weeks and months after the experience. Add to your integration routine activities that promote mindfulness that bring you joy and peace. Besides the journey of self-improvement, the psychedelic integration journey is deeply related to cultivating a sustained deep feeling of self-love. Reserving some time in your day to contemplate and simply observe the present moment without occupying the mind with regrets from the past or anxieties about the future is a great way to allow the entheogen to run its course.
People who have trouble letting go of the incessant mental chatter can try being in nature and engaging in mindfulness activities such as meditation, Yoga, breath work, and other practices that can help them connect with the present. Any activity that engages the participant in a creative flow, like writing, painting, or swimming can also be a good fit in your integration routine.
Integration: The Catalyst for Personal Growth
Illuminated by newer research, mental health professionals from all over the world have started to turn their heads to look at psychedelic therapy as a more effective treatment for some mental illnesses than traditional pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, just going on a psychedelic retreat may not be enough to guarantee that the benefits are going to stick in the long run. During the days and weeks after the ceremony, it is important to actively engage in the process of integrating the lessons of the psychedelic journey into ordinary life.
Self-growth with psychedelics involves reflecting on the experience and applying the insights in a practical way. In this article we discussed a few effective ways to boost the integration practice by:
- Coming up with a roadmap for your integration;
- Having a professional or supportive community follow up with your integration experience;
- Holding yourself accountable for your experience;
- Practicing self-care;
The use of psychedelics as a catalyst for personal growth and healing can be a powerful tool for those seeking to improve their mental health and well-being. However, it’s important to approach these substances with respect and to have the guidance and support of a qualified psychedelic integration coach. By working with a coach, individuals can better understand their psychedelic experiences and integrate these insights into their daily lives, leading to long-lasting positive changes.
Find an expert that suits your psychedelic integration practice at https://www.psychedelics-integration.com/coaches/
Article from Marth 14, 2013 named How psychedelic drugs may help with depression by Sharon Reynolds at – https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-psychedelic-drugs-may-help-depression
Article from 25 Sep 2021 by Donna Lu on The Guardian named ‘‘Psychedelics renaissance’: new wave of research puts hallucinogenics forward to treat mental health’ at – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/sep/26/psychedelics-renaissance-new-wave-of-research-puts-hallucinogenics-forward-to-treat-mental-health
Tupper KW, Wood E, Yensen R, Johnson MW. Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm. CMAJ. 2015 Oct 6;187(14):1054-1059. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.141124. Epub 2015 Sep 8. PMID: 26350908; PMCID: PMC4592297.
Frymann T, Whitney S, Yaden DB and Lipson J (2022) The Psychedelic Integration Scales: Tools for Measuring Psychedelic Integration Behaviors and Experiences. Front. Psychol. 13:863247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.863247