What is Psychedelic Integration?
Psychedelic experiences, especially when set with an intention, have an incredible potential to catalyze change in one’s life. But psychedelic integration might just hold the key to lasting transformation.
Psychedelics have become known for their visionary experiences, higher states of consciousness, mood and sense enhancement, and ability to elicit perceptual shifts within one’s psyche. When used in the context of a healing journey—that is , seeking to heal oneself from pain or trauma—they can provide a powerful platform by which to transform the self through deep and personal psychedelic experiences. In many cases, this can even lead to profound “breakthroughs” that shift a person’s understanding of themselves and their world. When this happens, one is often left to wonder, “what now?”, or “how do I use this information to improve my life?”
This is why psychedelic integration exists.
Psychedelic Integration is a process of awareness and cultivation that explores the insights and realizations discovered in the psychedelic experience and moves them into real life. The common goal in psychedelic integration is to provide a path to bring meaning and understanding to the psychedelic experience, and then use that knowledge to make changes in life that have lasting benefits on wellbeing.
But how does psychedelic integration work? Well, ideally, it begins with preparation for a psychedelic experience, provides a focus for the experience, and then continues after the experience (for weeks, months or even years). It’s challenging work and an increasing number of people find working with a psychedelic integration coach to be extremely helpful.
Let’s take a closer look at the stages of psychedelic integration:
- Preparation – Here we explore reasons and desires for working with the psychedelic. What do we want to learn, heal, or change? We may craft this into a clear “intention”.
- The Psychedelic Experience – this is when the psychedelic is ingested, either clinically, ceremonially, or otherwise. Prepared intention(s) can sometimes—but not always—help keep things in focus, or even provide a guiding light to return to if things get confusing.
- Post Session – This is where the “real work” begins. As we make sense of the experience, and perhaps how it relates to our intention(s), we can draw from this insight and start to make changes in our life for the better.
So, what are the benefits of psychedelic integration?
Isn’t a powerful psychedelic experience enough? The answer here depends on your intention. For some people, the experience is all they want. But for others, especially those new to psychedelics as a medicine, they may want to understand and heal themselves, transform their life in some way, recover from trauma or abuse, expand their awareness of the universe, or even find their purpose for living. For intentions like that, psychedelic integration provides a way to grow from the experience by bringing structure, strategy, goal setting, and planning into the equation. It’s like setting yourself up for success.
Of course, the greatest benefits come from having a psychedelic integration process at work and achieving results through following it. You cannot understand or fully know what benefits you are going to receive initially, that’s why a psychedelic integration process is key. Over time, and through this process, you can come to realize what seeds were planted through the experience that now get to ripen and flourish.
Okay, but how do you find meaning and bring it into the real world?
No doubt this is one of the most challenging parts of psychedelic integration. There is no “one size fits all” approach; everyone’s experience is unique. Meaning from the experience can be draw from visions, sounds, stories, voices, thoughts, memories, metaphors, passions, goals, conflicts, fears, guilt, truths, intuitions, and a whole variety of things that may come up.
In light of this, it can be helpful to work through a process of psychedelic integration steps. There is no set timeline to when these occur or how long they take. They are:
Psychedelic integration is key. Over time, and through this process, we can come to realize what seeds were planted through the psychedelic experience that now get to ripen and flourish.
- RECEIVE. Take in the information (thoughts, voices, emotions, feelings, sensations, reflections, evaluations, observations, trials and errors, feedback, insights, intuition, and all other data).
- PROCESS. Observing all the data, contemplate and feel into what it means. Identify the top three insights (intuitively, practically, mentally, emotionally, personally, physically, socially, spiritually).
- ACTION. Turn these discoveries and insights into action steps to implement into your life (i.e., see something in a new light, approach life in a healthier way, resolve an issue, make amends, complete a task, follow through on something, act with more integrity, change jobs, etc.)
- RELEASE. Let go of what is no longer serving you (let go of doubt, drop the attitude, surrender your defenses, quit bad habits, stop the drama, end the complaining, etc.)
- PRACTICE. Repeat new style and habits (establish morning routine, daily anchors, weekly accountabilities, new standards, healthy habits, good follow through, etc.)
Psychedelic Integration is a process of awareness and cultivation that explores the insights and realizations discovered in the psychedelic experience and moves them into real life.
Finally, we’ll look at areas of life where these integration steps could apply. These are areas that a psychedelic integration coach could really help you deep dive into, but let’s take a brief overview:
- Mental. What can you learn about mental patterns, the way you see life, the quality of your thoughts, and how they are organized?
- Emotional. What can you learn about your emotional state or emotional body? How about emotional patterns? Has there been a flow from a negative mindset to a more positive one?
- Spiritual. What did you learn about your spirit, the nature of your true self, and the essence of who you are? Did the experience expand your spiritual awareness?
- Physical. What did you learn about your physical body or physical reality? In what ways did your body speak to you? Did you experience any pain or achiness?
- Home. What did you learn about your home life and other environments you spend time in? How do your environments affect your quality of life? How do you feel in your home?
- Lifestyle. What did you learn about your lifestyle, habits, patterns, themes, daily activities, and focuses?
- Relationships. What did you learn about your relationships? Your social network? Your ability to relate to others? Your quality and value of connections?
Psychedelic medicine is growing in popularity around the world, and the importance of psychedelic integration has never been greater. If you’re considering a psychedelic medicine journey in the future, it could be worthwhile to speak with an integration coach to help you plan for the experience and prepare for psychedelic integration. Ultimately it rests with ourselves to unlock the full potential of our psychedelic experiences, but the keys to successful psychedelic integration are now within our grasp.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog and of the blog writer do not necessarily represent Being True To You LLC. The writer of this blog is an independent contractor, and Being True To You does not necessarily endorse the content written within this blog. Being True To You does not advocate, suggest, approve or disapprove of the use of psychedelic medicines such as Ibogaine. The content written in this blog is not medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. Being True To You provides transformational recovery and integration “coaching” to individuals and families through the addiction recovery and psychospiritual healing process. Coaching is not a medical service and is not regulated by any governmental authority. It is an emerging profession not accredited by any institution or organization. Being True To You coaching is not counseling or psychotherapy and does not use professional assessments or diagnose mental illness. Being True To You coaches are independent contractors who provide recovery coaching to Being True To You assigned clients on a case-by-case basis.