Psychedelic, as you may know, comes from the Greek psyche (life; spirit; soul; self, akin to psychein which means to breathe) and delic (to make manifest, to reveal and make visible). Thus psychedelics manifest soul, they make spirit visible, they reveal life itself.
Integration (the root word of which is entire), is defined as the restoration to wholeness; the process of renewal; the making up of a whole by combining the separate parts or elements. Also, we look to entire which means to make whole, to unite, including all essential parts; with no part excepted; not fatigued or worn; fresh; one and undivided.
(Source: Oxford Oversized Dictionary at the Allen Ginsberg Library of Naropa University)
Psychedelics are now being used for a variety of reasons, including trauma resolution, depression treatment, therapeutic and spiritual exploration, creative and global problem solving, and much more. Clinical research offers evidence-based support of these safe and sacred medicines being used for personal and global transformation when properly administered. As mental health professionals with clinical backgrounds treating trauma, depression, and other mental health challenges with psychedelics, we have an in-depth understanding of how psychedelics in certain settings can support mental and emotional well-being for some people. We are harm reduction advocates. We acknowledge that many people are exploring psychedelics in a number of ways, and we offer non-judgmental and mindfulness-based counseling to individuals who are choosing to do so.
What is Psychedelic Integration?
Medicinal Mindfulness defines psychedelic integration as the process we go through in the days, weeks, and months after a psychedelic therapy or intentional psychedelic experience. During this time, we are making sense of the content of our experience, processing the profound insights that came up, as well as any significant or challenging memories and emotions that surfaced. We are resolving things on the somatic (body) level and working to bring our external lives into even deeper alignment with our inner psyches and spirits. Integration periods ask the questions: So what? What does this all mean? And now what? Who am I really? Think of it as if during a psychedelic experience, some seeds were planted. Integration is the process of nurturing those seeds, every step of the way from seed through to harvest.
Why is Psychedelic Integration important?
Psychedelics can be inherently dysregulating and disruptive to the homeostasis of our lives. And that’s the point! They rearrange us inside. In intentional and therapeutic settings, this is why they work. This is a great process if and only if our inner world is prepared for these changes, and if and only if our external world can support major transformation and keep us safe throughout the process. We do not support unsafe medicine practices, and we strongly caution our clients against “just trying something out” and hoping for the best. These medicines are incredibly powerful and need to be treated with the utmost respect.
Many people have eye-opening, initiatory, and mind-expanding experiences using psychedelics and without professional support in integrating new awarenesses, uncovered memories, previously hidden traumas as well as previously hidden treasures deep within the psyche, many of the gifts from these experiences can be forgotten or lost completely. It is in the integration process that we turn lead into gold.
What kind of Psychedelic Integration Therapy does Medicinal Mindfulness offer?
Our team of psychedelic integration specialists provides non-medicine integration sessions for clients in the days and weeks shortly after each of their cannabis-assisted or ketamine-assisted psychedelic therapy sessions with us. This is a necessary and deeply meaningful step in the psychedelic therapy protocols we have developed. These 60-minute sessions are an opportunity to discuss the themes of the sessions, process the emotions and memories that were stirred up by the experience, and to make meaning out of it all. This time is also used to explore concrete goals and intentions related to meaningful life changes inspired by the overall process.
Our psychedelic integration specialists also offer ongoing therapeutic support and harm reduction counseling to clients who have used psychedelics in non-clinical settings outside of our center. We support clients in discerning between cannabis and/or psychedelic use and misuse and in developing healthier relationships with the medicinal tools they choose to work with. We also teach therapeutic skill sets which can be applied to their own exploratory experiences.
We don’t encourage any illegal activities or the use or abuse of cannabis, ketamine or any other psychedelic medicine. Nor do we believe that cannabis, ketamine or psychedelic medicine exploration, even within the confines of applicable laws, is appropriate for beneficial for everyone. We are conditional advocates for intentional, sacred and non-habitual legal medicine use for those individuals who are already using legal medicines on their own. We support our clients in making informed and educated choices about their medicine use and in developing appropriate relationships with the substances they choose to use, however our clients are solely responsible for the choices they make regarding substances.