Although there may be disagreements among psychedelic users, researchers, and therapists regarding the precise definition of “psychedelic integration,” a general definition of psychedelic integration is making sense of the experience itself and applying the lessons learned to daily life. By interrupting our usual stream of consciousness, psychedelic experiences can result in numerous insights that can pave the way for significant personal transformation. However, to ensure that these brief insights lead to lasting and profound change, integration is a crucial step. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of the psychedelic integration process.
What is Psychedelic Integration?
Whether induced by psychedelics or not, peak experiences often generate various insights that can lead to personal or worldly revelations. These insights may provide the individual with new perspectives, ideas about their identity, purpose, lifestyle, or relationships. However, if not further explored, these thoughts and ideas can fade away, as thinking returns to the same neurological loops before the peak experience. Integration is necessary to actualize the potential for positive change and healing
Integration refers to the process of connecting the states, feelings, and thoughts from a psychedelic experience with our normal states of consciousness and grounding them in our daily lives in the form of long-lasting, positive changes. This process requires conscious reflection on the psychedelic experiences and their personal meaning. Integration can be compared to traveling: after a long vacation, returning home can be a major shock to the system. It can take days or even weeks to readjust back to normal. Similarly, psychedelic experiences can take some time for us to readjust and return to our regular selves, after which the valuable insights gained can quickly fade into a memory.
Integration aims to actively keep these insights fresh in the mind and utilize them to help us heal and improve ourselves. This typically involves preparation beforehand, such as identifying the purpose or intention for taking psychedelics and creating a plan of action to apply these insights in our daily lives. As these profound insights are integrated into our lives and woven into the fabric of our typical selves, our “normal” can be informed by them.
What’s Psychedelic Integration Therapy?
Psychedelic Integration Therapy involves working with a therapist who is skilled at helping clients integrate issues and insights that arose during a psychedelic experience into their everyday lives. This therapy may resemble traditional psychotherapy, but integration therapists should have specialized training and knowledge of psychedelics. Psychedelic integration sessions are typically part of most “psychedelic therapy protocols” that occur in legal research settings. However, clients can also receive psychedelic integration therapy independently of a complete protocol. This means that clients can receive psychedelic integration therapy from therapists who were not directly involved in their psychedelic experiences. For example, clients may have had psychedelic experiences on their own or with friends, at music festivals and events, with an underground guide or sitter, or in ceremonial settings, and may require integration therapy afterwards.
How To Integrate After the Psychedelic Experience
There are many different ways people integrate their psychedelic journey. For some, reaching out to a therapist or an integration specialist isn’t a viable option, and they are left to integrate the experience on their own. Here are the ways that can help you better understand your experience and integrate it into your daily life.
Keep a Journal
One effective way to retain the insights gained from a psychedelic experience is through journaling. It is recommended to start journaling soon after the experience as memories may fade over time. Focus on the experience and write whatever comes to mind, using first-person and present tense to improve recall. Avoid analyzing the experience at this stage and instead, let the memories flow.
It’s important to remember that this journal is for your personal use only, so don’t censor yourself, and don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Making journaling a daily habit can help you make sense of your experience and provide a record of your therapeutic journey for future reference. If you’re unsure of what to write, consider using an integration workbook.
The combination of meditation and psychedelics may provide a therapeutic benefit that surpasses the individual effects of each practice. Mindfulness, which involves being present in the moment without judgment, can be initiated through meditation by focusing on your breath while sitting still. When your thoughts drift, acknowledge them and then return your attention to your breath. Meditation can be challenging at the start, however only with a few minutes of meditation each day you will become able to gradually increase the duration achieving better results and making it a regular practice.
Many people use psychedelics as a source of inspiration such as musicians, comedians, and artists. We know that some of you aren’t exactly artistically inclined but nonetheless, art can still be a powerful tool for integrating your psychedelic experiences. Taking the time after a psychedelic experience to fill a page with whatever colors and symbols come to mind may be extremely beneficial. For those who play an instrument, perhaps you can create a melody that can reflect upon your journey. If you are into writing, you may want to write poetry or a short story about the experience and what you learned from it. These practices all contemplate your journey, as they are creations that can relate you back to your psychedelic experience.
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Why Is Psychedelic Integration so Important?
If you use psychedelics without integrating the experience, it’s like going on a trip without taking any souvenirs or memories back with you. Perhaps it can be compared to attending a class without learning anything. In addition to the risk of disappointment or disconnection, the absence of integration can make it harder to implement any real change in your life. While memories of psychedelic journeys can fade like dreams, seeking support from a trained professional and following a structured, effective method for integrating your experience can help you apply the insights you gained to your daily life.
The Plant Medicine Path is a guide, community and resource for psychedelic healing. We offer support and information for every step of the psychedelic journey, from pre-ceremony research and education, through choosing qualified providers, to post-ceremony integration. The Plant Medicine Path and Root to Recovery Geo Directory provides one place for education, information, connection and integration.
The Content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Content is for informational and educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for treatment options. We are an educational and information platform for you to make your own decision
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