In recent years, there’s been a growing interest in the use of psychedelics in the treatment of trauma.
And in all the excitement over the latest findings, some clients may be eager to experiment.
The problem is, they may not always be aware of the risks involved – especially when it comes to taking that experimentation outside of a clinical session and into their own hands.
So to help your client avoid a potentially harmful situation, we put together the infographic below to break down the process of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
It helps illustrate how psychedelics, when administered knowledgably and cautiously, may help facilitate or accelerate the therapeutic process that clients were already engaging in.
It also highlights some of the risks of failing to follow the steps in this process.
Have a look.
Click the image to enlarge
Generally, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy follows this basic framework. The exact process can vary depending on several factors, including the number of therapists, the number of sessions during the preparation, medicine, and integration stages, and the psychedelic substance that’s being used.Preparation Sessions
The therapists develop the therapeutic relationship and prep the client on the psychedelic substance. The client is resourced with skills to tolerate the psychedelic experience.Medicine Sessions
The psychedelic is administered under medical supervision with the therapists present. The therapists provide a safe environment to help the client process the experience. Several sessions may be required.Integration Sessions
After each medicine session, the therapists help the client process what they experienced. This often involves approaches that would normally be used to help process trauma. Several integration sessions are usually required.
Risks of Not Following This Process
Some clients may be tempted to try psychedelics on their own or at a facility that administers the medicine without psychotherapy sessions (like many ketamine clinics). But there are risks involved, such as:
– Psychotic breaks
– Ingesting substances with contaminants
– Doses that are too high/low
– Increased vulnerability to harm
– Increased feelings of isolation
– Disappointment in a lack of breakthroughs
– Increased conflict among parts of self
It’s important to remember that the promising outcomes we’ve seen with psychedelics in the treatment of trauma occur in the context of psychotherapy. Psychedelic substances do not have inherent healing properties – but they may help facilitate or accelerate the therapeutic process for some clients.
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If you’d like to hear more about the clinical implications of the latest findings on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, check out Mastering the Treatment of Trauma.
You’ll hear from Bessel van der Kolk, MD; Rachel Yehuda, PhD; Dick Schwartz, PhD; Michael Mithoefer, MD; Gita Vaid, MD; Rick Doblin, PhD; Janis Phelps, PhD; and more top experts. Sign up here.
Now we’d like to hear your takeaways from this infographic. You can leave a comment below to let us know.