The Structure of Psychedelic Therapy

Published on 31 January 2024 at 13:10

Psychedelic therapy is a rapidly growing field of research and practice. In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence that psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin and MDMA, can be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction .

 

Psychedelic therapy sessions typically follow a three-part structure: intention setting, the psychedelic experience, and integration. Each of these components plays an important role in the overall therapeutic process.

 

Intention Setting

 

Intention setting is the process of clarifying your goals for the psychedelic experience. It is important to spend time thinking about what you hope to achieve from the session, both in the short term and in the long term.

 

Intention setting can be done in a variety of ways. Some people find it helpful to write down their intentions, while others prefer to talk to a therapist or trusted friend about them.

 

In psilocybin therapy, intention setting is often focused on the following goals:

  • Exploring and healing from trauma
  • Resolving difficult emotions
  • Improving relationships
  • Finding meaning and purpose in life

In MDMA therapy, intention setting is often focused on the following goals:

  • Healing from trauma
  • Rewiring the brain to reduce fear and anxiety
  • Increase empathy and compassion

The Psychedelic Experience

The psychedelic experience is the heart of psychedelic therapy. It is during this time that the client is exposed to the psychedelic drug and begins to explore their inner world.

 

The psychedelic experience can be a powerful and transformative experience. It can lead to insights into ourselves, others, and the world. It can also lead to healing from trauma and other mental health conditions.

 

The psychedelic experience is typically supervised by a therapist. The therapist is there to provide support and guidance, and to help the client integrate the experience into their everyday life.

 

Integration

Integration is the process of making sense of the psychedelic experience and applying the insights gained to everyday life. It is an important part of psychedelic therapy, as it helps to ensure that the benefits of the experience are lasting.

 

Integration can be done in a variety of ways. Some people find it helpful to talk to a therapist about their experience, while others prefer to journal or write about it. Some people also find it helpful to engage in creative activities, such as art, music, or dance.

 

In psilocybin therapy, integration is often focused on the following goals:

  • Making sense of difficult emotions and memories
  • Developing new coping mechanisms
  • Making changes in one's life

In MDMA therapy, integration is often focused on the following goals:

  • Building trust and intimacy with others
  • Learning to express emotions in a healthy way
  • Making amendments for past wrongs

Examples

Here are some examples of how the three pillars of psychedelic therapy can be used to treat specific mental health conditions:

 

Depression
A person with depression might set an intention to explore the root of their depression during a psilocybin session. They might also focus on developing new coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotions. In the integration phase, they might talk to a therapist about their experience and work on making changes in their life that will help them to sustain their progress.

 

Anxiety

A person with anxiety might set an intention to reduce their fear and anxiety during an MDMA session. They might also focus on healing from relational trauma that may be contributing to their anxiety. In the integration phase, they might engage in creative activities to help them to process their experience and develop new ways of coping with anxiety.

 

PTSD

A person with PTSD might set an intention to heal from trauma during a psilocybin or MDMA session. They might also focus on developing empathy and compassion for themselves and others. In the integration phase, they might work with a therapist to develop a plan for dealing with triggers and managing their symptoms.

 

Conclusion

Psychedelic therapy is a promising new approach to the treatment of mental health conditions. The three-part structure of psychedelic therapy sessions, which includes intention setting, the psychedelic experience, and integration, can be an effective way to achieve lasting results.

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