We explore how psychedelic integration therapy can (and should) be an important consideration for anyone using psychedelics for mental health. Designed to help you plan, prepare, and make sense of your psychedelic experiences,
While people are touting the many benefits of microdosing and psychedelics in general, at Retreat, we also seek to emphasize the importance of psychedelic integration therapy for anyone who is using psychedelics for mental health.
Psychedelic integration therapy refers to processes and practices that help you gain awareness about: yourself; the different themes that emerge throughout your work with psychedelics; and the opportunities for growth that arise through your psychedelic journeys. This type of work usually takes place in a therapeutic setting (most often with a psychotherapist) but not exclusively. We will explore other common ways people integrate their experiences below.
To integrate the work is to take the acquired awareness, experiences, and effects from your work and to assimilate them into your daily life (this can happen in therapy and through practices like journaling), versus simply talking about or dreaming about these changes. In theory, a lot tends to come up and out during a psychedelic journey but putting certain changes into practice takes time, patience, and effort. Integration facilitates these processes so you can make the changes long-lasting.
Integration is similar to what we should do after reading a self-help book. You may acquire knowledge and new understanding from the book—but then it’s up to you to implement the knowledge into action in your daily life, whether it’s in your relationships, with your work, or with your self-care. Simply finishing the book doesn’t mean the work is over— the work has actually just begun. It’s the same when working with psychedelics. The “trip” itself is hard work but it’s not the only work to be done. Think of psychedelics as the self-help book, in this example, and integration as the implementation of what the self-help book teaches and shows you.
Psychedelics are often the catalyst to many new doors opening in your life, but whether you choose to go through them and what you do once you go through them is up to you. That’s where integration comes in. It’s the process of taking the new insights and translating them into actionable items to take in your life. It’s also important to give yourself time each day and week to process what comes up for you after your journeys, as psychedelics have a tendency to bring traumas and discomforts to the surface in various ways over time. Certain things may trigger you that didn’t before. You may see the world in a new lens and may be confused on how to proceed. It all must be handled with care.
Integration can happen in your day-to-day life or by working with a professional. Self-reflection, journaling, psychoeducation, spending time in nature, and self care practices are ways to create internal and external spaces for you to process and learn from different themes that come up as a result of journeying with different psychedelics.
Learn to microdose with our free guide.
Many people choose to work with psychedelics to boost creativity but nowadays, more and more people are wanting to use them to improve their mental health. For example, a common reason why people want to microdose is because they’d like to taper off of psychotropic medications, like anti-depressants, and are looking for a more natural solution in their place. Often, they want something that isn’t long-term and they are seeking something that can truly help them to heal. Or, they may simply want to feel less anxious, more focused, and more joyful.
In these cases, it’s important to work to get to the underlying causes of the mental health issues in addition to using psychedelics to heal the brain and body. The psychotropic medication model, on the other hand, tends to numb the symptoms the person is experiencing without addressing the roots. People who are prescribed such medications are not required to be in therapy and tend to meet with their psychiatrist for very brief periods of time. More holistic approaches that use psychedelics and integration understand that they work in conjunction with one another to help you create and maintain change in your life. To say it in a different way: It’s not about numbing the inevitable discomforts of life but learning to live with them and thrive in spite of them.
As with all things personal growth, and much like exercising, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. At Retreat, we know that psychedelics are positively life-changing: but they’re not a “magic bullet.” As with anything, you get out of psychedelic use what you put into it — so proper preparation and integration are essential elements to intentional, therapeutic psychedelic usage.
You may discover certain patterns or unhealthy habits—or maybe you need support setting boundaries or learning to communicate your needs. Perhaps you’ve experienced some trauma that you’d like to process or maybe you’re working on feeling secure in relationships. Whatever it is, psychedelics can help you to understand these challenges with more clarity but they don’t necessarily give you the tools or know-how on what to do to address the challenges.
Being aware of something doesn’t necessarily mean that we know what to do with that awareness, and that’s the main reason why integration is important. It helps to pave the pathway of where to go next in your life as you begin your microdosing journey.
Integration provides the space to get to know yourself better and to figure out how to heal, which will truly benefit you for your entire life. The main benefit of making time to integrate is that you will move closer to balance. Each person’s integration process will be unique, based on their personal journey and trauma, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The key to integration is taking responsibility for your own journey, experience, and healing—and being open to different healing modalities. Change comes in many forms, from self-care to therapy to daily life, and we invite you to explore them all through assisted psychedelic integration, until you find methods that work best for you.
Learn to microdose with our free guide.
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