The Importance of Psychedelic Integration

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The Importance of Psychedelic Integration

It’s hard to overstate the importance of psychedelic integration when it comes to getting the most out of an entheogenic experience.

When it comes to transformative journeys of healing and personal growth, the importance of psychedelic integration cannot be overstated. Psychedelic journeys can show you the mountain top, but they inevitably bring you back to basecamp as you come down- they do not make that journey a permanent new home. Integration can be seen as the process of retaining the map that the psychedelic experience provides, and making steady progress day after day to reach that peak and retain those insights in the day-to-day world.

Plus, what happens if the experience doesn’t go well? In addition to beautiful “peak” experiences, psychedelics sometimes create grueling ordeals that are totally different than what we expect. Without integration, these can feel like wasted experience that didn’t live up to expectations. With proper integration, however, these experiences can often bear even more fruit than easy and enjoyable psychedelic experiences do, as they invite us to look at and resolve traumas, uncomfortable truths and our shadow side.

Of course there is a huge spectrum between wonderful psychedelic experiences and intensely difficult ones, and most psychedelic journeys fall somewhere between these two extremes with some moments that are challenging and others that are beatific. The importance of psychedelic integration is that it helps each person to unpack and learn from their unique transformative experience so that this novel experience can lead to lasting, life-long positive change.

Psychedelic journeys can show you the mountain top, but they inevitably bring you back to basecamp as you come down- they do not make that journey a permanent new home.

Different Outcomes of a Psychedelic Journey

Over our 10+ years of working in this field, we have found there are 4 common scenarios that a person finds themselves in after a psychedelic journey. Here is a list of those archetypal experiences, and how they can lead to a resistance in doing integration work.

A Wonderful Life-Changing Experience

This is a very common scenario as psychedelics reliably produce positive outcomes. When people have an awakening experience with many immediate insights and blessings, they are usually highly motivated and pumped about their life. They are open, ripe, and ready to experience newness and change in their life. The challenge here is to watch out for the “pink cloud” effect, where they feel so good that they forego integration work and set out to “save the world.” This afterglow will eventually fade, and without steady integration, old habits and patterns will re-assert themselves, leaving them depressed to find themselves back to square one.

A Good Experience

Some people have a positive experience where they get what they set out for but didn’t quite get a breakthrough transcendent moment. People in this position are sometimes hesitant to talk about their experience with others because it does not include all the interdimensional bells and whistles and pretty lights that others speak of. This reluctance to share and slight feeling of being let down can block the person from fully embracing their experience and unpacking it.

An Anxious Experience

Sometimes people are even more reticent to speak about their experience, and show apprehension, confusion and fear about talking about it. The experience may not have been what they expected, and it may have brought some difficult feelings to the surface. Unaware of this, they may question their reason for doing the medicine and doubt it’s effectiveness with them. These people need to be comforted and reassured that whatever is coming up, it’s an opportunity for self inquiry, healing and growth.

A Bad Experience

These people are interpreting their experience negatively as a “bad trip“, and they may be in psychic or physical pain. They can feel disappointed, resentful, hopeless, and even somewhat traumatized. They are not in a place of “owning and accepting” their experience and are unable to see or receive any benefits, yet. They often don’t want to hear about optimism, solutions, or talk about integration. The goal here is to find a way to embrace what happened as a learning experience, and slowly begin to discover what it will take to heal the core wound that has been uncovered.

How to Prepare for Integration

As you can see, no matter how a psychedelic journey turns out, there are risks involved with ignoring or avoiding integration work. Every legitimate psychedelic expert today will tell you the same refrain: Integration is the point of psychedelic work, it is as or more important than the psychedelic experience itself. So how does one set themselves up for success and approach a psychedelic experience with integration in mind? Here are a few key things you can do:

  • Start with preparation sessions with a psychedelic integration coach
  • Set intentions for the medicine journey and write them down
  • Identify necessary commitments and changes that relate to your healing goals
  • Plan ahead to stay on track with the changes
  • Prepare integrative materials, i.e. journals, art canvases, self-improvement workbooks
  • Find a supportive community
  • Identify a peaceful, therapeutic place to return to afterwards with time to reflect
  • Stay alert during the experience; take a mental note of insights, sensations, and perceptions
  • Connect with your integration coach after the experience and commit to a set period of integration sessions

We Can Help

If you are planning a psychedelic journey for healing, recovery, or personal growth, our certified coaches can provide you with expertise, support, and encouragement. We’ve been helping people prepare for and integrate psychedelic experiences for over 10 years, and our experience includes nearly every psychedelic substance and scenario. You can contact us today to get situated with a coach, or you can browse our Psychedelic Integration Coach Directory and choose a coach that looks best for you. Whether you get integration support from us or from somewhere else, remember that integration is the key to lasting transformation.

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.

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