It is well accepted at this point that psychedelics are capable of producing deeply moving experiences that can catalyze one’s personal healing and overall growth. Well-intentioned use with respect to set and setting can yield a beneficial shift in perspective and even change our entire world-view.
Furthermore, proper support and integration after a psychedelic journey can ensure that these experiences are assimilated in a meaningful and positive way.
What is Psychedelic Integration?
Psychedelic integration is the process of working to comprehend a psychedelic experience and use it as a means of personal understanding and growth (hence a person “integrates” the experience into their everyday life).
Psychedelic integration generally entails unpacking the psychedelic experience and finding ways to attribute meaning to the imagery, thoughts, emotions, and sensations which may have come up during the experience.
One may then choose to use this insight to enact purposeful change in how they think or behave, given their new perception of the world.
It is recommended that psychedelic integration be done with the support of a trained mental health specialist who has a deep understanding of the mind, psychedelic states, and (if applicable) plant medicines.
When done within a therapeutic framework, psychedelic integration can also be referred to as psychedelic integration therapy.
Why Psychedelic Integration Is Important
Psychedelic integration becomes more needed as the legality of psychedelics continues to change. This shift in the public consciousness is in part due to the growing acceptance of psychedelic medicines as an essential part of a mental health practitioner’s toolkit.
The potential range and depth for self-awareness and exploration that a psychedelic session provokes may yield a metamorphic level of catharsis, though getting there is still not as simple as taking a pill.
Under the influence of these potent compounds, objective and subjective as well as self and other may be perceived in radically different ways. Trauma can surface, and one can experience things far beyond their normal range of perception.
These expanded states can prove difficult to assimilate into our daily lives. It can be hard to understand how these shifts in perception fit into the picture of who we know ourselves to be and who we are becoming.
How Does Psychedelic Integration Work?
As such, integration helps to draw the bridge between linear reality and what has been perceived in timeless space. Though the connectedness can be difficult to see, each fragment that emerges there in that space is representative of a whole.
The story of what happened may be difficult to immediately grasp, though integration helps to guide the experiencer towards entirety and conclusion.
Such is achieved by helping a client to understand how these experiences relate to their life and how they fit into their everday existence. Psychedelics are entry points into deeper awareness, and Integration can aid one in comprehending and finding meaning in the unique perceptions that occur in these states.
Indeed, psychedelics are not silver bullets and require us to be proactive in order to utilize and sustain the positive changes in thought, personal habits, and attitudes that they may invoke.
Having some sense of understanding and acceptance of what has been presented in a journey can allow these newly seen and uncovered pieces to settle in. In one way, it can be presumed that the intended use of psychedelics can fuel commitments towards change while the integration afterward can help to see them through.
A client distressed by work and the breakup of their marriage expresses to their Integration Specialist that whilst under the influence of psilocybin, they had an experience of “seeing through their many layers”. The lens of this different sense of self though doesn’t quite readily enter into their day-to-day life.
With help from their specialist, it became evident to them clearly see how their former view of self was a much more limited one that did not have its basis in personal empowerment. With this clarity attained, the client in time was able to discern whether their actions were coming from a place of power or a place of fear.
This practice of discernment gradually became continual. In the time that followed, the client found themselves revisiting other parts of their journey and relating less critically to their history of making choices based on perceived inferiority.
New insights kept pouring out of them, all stemming from the client’s single experience months earlier.
Their limited idea of self had once heavily colored their reality, and waves of grief with this realization are unleashed and uncried tears from years and lifetimes ago are finally laid to rest. A sense of quietude once only known in their journey pervades their mind space.
What Are The Benefits of Psychedelic Integration?
Psychedelics can unleash momentum from the seemingly small details of our lives, and integration plays an important part in keeping this ball rolling.
Importantly, the processes unleashed as well as the potential learning does not end once the medicine has run its course. Without follow up support, some psychedelic experiences can linger in heavy and distressing ways while others, ripe with fruits for personal growth, may go unharvested and unappreciated. It is also common that these two occur simultaneously.
Working with an integration specialist is a unique therapeutic relationship and for some can be a vital piece in concretizing a commitment towards personal growth.
It is a valuable resourcewithin itself and can also deepen an existing therapeutic process. The tools to hold and integrate your experience can be learned in time and can help to empower you to make the most of these experiences yourself.
Those of us intending to use psychedelics for therapeutic benefits should do our part to help foster a culture of self-growth and responsible use around them.
This of course starts with us taking responsibility for our own growth and thus living the example of the changes we wish to see. Integration has its part to play in this, and it’s good can be seen on both an individual and public level.
How Can I Get Support For My Own Psychedelic Integration?
If you’re interested in pursuing integration for a psychedelic experience, you can do so with me or any of the specialists on Mindleap.
Disclaimer: The following material is provided for informational purposes only and is not designed to prescribe, diagnose, or treat any physical or mental illness. None of the information presented here should be treated as medical or professional advice. Mindleap does not condone the acquisition nor consumption of illicit psychotropic compounds.