In 2017, I completed a year long Certificate program in Psychedelic-assisted Therapies and Research. As a clinical psychologist, I have had many clients share with me their use of psychedelics for personal healing. While there are still legal restrictions surrounding these practices, I very much understand the benefits of therapeutic psychedelic use and have witnessed how these medicines, when done in a safe and supportive setting, can alter and expand states of consciousness and give way to paradigm shifts that can truly serve optimal mental health and well being.
At this time, there are numerous reputable and FDA approved clinical trials being conducted with psychedelics for the treatment of mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, major depression, addiction, and severe anxiety related to terminal illnesses such as cancer. While it is not yet legal in the United States for psychologists to work directly and independently with the psychedelic and plant medicines, we are legally able to support our clients in the integration of material that emerges during their independent experiences with them. Specifically, the material that comes up when one of my clients has been in an altered state of consciousness is explored, ad hoc, in the same way that dream work and unconscious material is explored in traditional psychotherapy. Oftentimes, I use a narrative approach to help clients integrate material that is sometimes seemingly illogical. Most importantly, I believe in the inner wisdom and inner healer possessed by all of my clients and I utilize whatever therapeutic approach is necessary to empower their self understanding and actualization.
By definition, integration is the act or process of uniting different elements together. Like the Sanskrit definition of the word “yoga,” integration implies union, or the process of combining multiple parts into completeness or into a harmonious whole. As a psychologist and yoga therapist, I help clients unite, or integrate, a deepening awareness of their body with their mind and of the psyche with the spirit. With psychedelics, integration also involves helping people unite the everyday sense of themselves that exists in this realm, something we commonly refer to in psychology as the ego, with the experiences they have of themselves in the more mystical realms, where the ego has seemingly been dissolved.
For more information about integration, please see my article on Chacruna.net: here
It is also important to note that psychedelic use is not for everyone and psychedelics may be contraindicated for certain health and mental health conditions. My acknowledgement of the benefits of the therapeutic use of psychedelics is not a recommendation for their use, nor do I provide such services or make referrals to those who do.