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Is Psychedelic the New Form of Healing?

Updated: Apr 19, 2023


After having worked as a Registered Nurse for 8 years, I decided to become a Somatic therapist and hypnotherapist so that I could help people heal more than the physical alone. Having gone through my own healing journey, I discovered that while talk therapy alone is very helpful, it had limitations. This led me to learn Hypnotherapy, Holy Fire Reiki, Somatic Experiencing, Breathwork and Intuitive Readings, so that I could combine the mind, body and spirit to healing.

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Is Psychedelic the New Form of Treatment?


Between the years of 1950-1960’s, LSD research was being conducted on alcohol addiction and schizophrenia. One of the research center was located in Saskatchewan and found that by treating alcohol addictions with LSD, 50-90% of the participants had successfully recovered from addiction. However, as recreational use increased, concerns started to rise as when it was said that it caused madness and violence. With that, and its association with the resistance of authority, psychedelic became illegal and research became next to impossible.


However, in the recent years, psychedelic research (Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms), LSD (Acid), DMT (Ayahuasca), and Mescaline (Peyote)) has started to regain momentum. Researchers are finding that it has promising results for issues like PTSD, Anxieties, depression, addictions and more. With the help of new technology, they are discovering that psychedelics help shut down parts of the brain that contribute to depression and create new neuropathways. Often, people describe lasting results long after the psychedelic experience. The experience can also be spiritually enlightening, and some research is looking on its effect with people who are paraplegic. The interesting thing is, that the inventor of Alcoholic Anonymous cured his addiction through psychedelics.


Psychedelics are not known to be addictive since they are not always pleasurable. In addition, a tolerance is built quickly, which means that trying to abuse the drug frequently will not be possible, since there will be no effect if the drug is taken back to back. The difference with this class and other drugs is that with psychedelics, the experience tends to turn the focus toward the inner experience and intensifies the emotions, similar to exposure therapy, while other drugs can numb the experience and disconnect from emotions. This is why people can get addicted to drugs, as they help avoid and numb what is too hard to face.


Cautions

First of all, most psychedelics are not yet legal. There is a movement to legalize them with Health Canada, but so far, they are not. And while research is growing and is promising, much is still unknown. Since research is still limited, cautions should be taken for people who have family history or personal history of schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder type 1 and severe trauma without coping skills. Furthermore, it can be dangerous when picking wild magic mushroom, as misidentifying them can lead to poisoning. People who take medications or who have high blood pressure should talk to their doctors before taking any psychedelics, as they can increase serotonin levels in the brain and increase the blood pressure. Generally, they should not be mixed with antidepressants that increase the serotonin level, such as SSRI since it can cause Serotonin syndrome, which can be life threatening. It is also important to consider to not be driving when taking drugs, as perceptions and senses become altered. In addition, since these drugs are not legal, caution should be taken when buying them, as they are not regulated and you may not know what you are getting. Nonetheless, there are testing kits that can be bought to test the substance against other drugs: https://dancesafe.org/shop/

Microdosing

You may have heard about microdosing. What that is, is to take a small fraction of a dose, such as 1/10th of a regular dose to obtain the psychedelic benefits, without getting a psychedelic trip. There are two different protocols, such as either taking a dose every 4 days, or taking a dose for 4 days and stopping for 3. For more information visit this website https://doubleblindmag.com/how-to-start-microdosing/


Prep and integration

When going into a trip, it is important to take care of the set and setting. This means that it is important to do it in a safe space, where there will not be disturbance or that you do not need to drive for example. While some people do psychedelic socially, this can create an unpredictable environment and send you into trouble or into a bad trip. The set is the mind state that you are in. The more you can inform yourself of how the psychedelic works, find the right support, rest, and calm yourself before embarking in the journey , the better suited you will be to have a gentle trip. Using psychedelics safely should be done with a sitter who is sober and knows how to guide the explorer through challenges and experiences. They are powerful substances and should be taken seriously.


Integration therapy is also crucial when working with psychedelics, as they help make sense of the experience, so that the new perspective and insights can be integrated into life. During integration therapy, the person is encouraged to explore the experience with curiosity, reflection, and introspection. Part of the integration therapy is also to connect the feelings, images, sensations, thoughts and spiritual experiences to understand how they relate to the present.


Bad trip

Bad trips can happen with psychedelics and can be quite unpleasant. This is where a sitter can be beneficial, to help guide you through the trip. It is the same as being a pilot and having someone guiding you on ground control. However, if a bad trip occurs, while it is painful, there are benefits to surrendering to the experience and moving through it. Bad trips are usually caused by resisting the experience. However, moving through a bad trips can often lead to greater healing and insight. Nonetheless, something that your sitter can do, is remind you to return to your breath, by either noticing it or taking deeper breath. Drumming over the heart center can help come back to the body or release energy. Changing the music or changing the setting (going outside, changing rooms) might help change the experience as well. And finally, touching objects, such as stones or a meaningful object can help ground. Here is more information that could be helpful if someone you know is having a bad trip https://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/faqs/psychedelic_crisis_faq.shtml#crisis


Resources

It can be hard to find reliable information. In order to inform yourself with the correct and accurate information, here are some reputable websites.



There is also an app available to people who are tripping, or their sitters, that provide support. They can help prepare for a trip as well, or provide support to integrate an experience. The app is called Fireside. Here is more information https://firesideproject.org/

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