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10 Best Tips For Supporting Loved Ones in Psychedelic Therapy

Has a loved one recently approached you about undergoing psychedelic therapy? Are you the parent, spouse, or close friend of someone who’s expressing interest in seeking a guided psychedelic experience

Perhaps your loved one has already had their psychedelic journey and is now seeking your support through the integration process. Wherever you find yourself on this wide spectrum of psychedelic support systems, we want to extend our gratitude for you and your wholesome intentions. 

Psychedelic medicines catalyze powerful and transformative experiences that can have a lasting impact on those who choose to journey. But what does it really mean to support someone through such an intense journey?

Whether you’re a family member, friend, or partner, supporting someone through their psychedelic therapy journey can be both rewarding and challenging. That’s why today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about supporting your loved one through a psychedelic experience. 

Even better, we’re breaking this down into 10 helpful and tangible tips that can be easily digested and integrated into your psychedelic support plan. We’ll also discuss the benefits and potential risks of psychedelic use, as well as the importance of taking care of yourself, as a supporter.

From the preparation stage, into journey day, and all through integration, we’ve created a comprehensive crash course on psychedelic support, to ensure you’re fully equipped with accurate and practical knowledge on how to help your loved one feel comfortable and open. 

Supporting a Loved One Through: The Preparation Stage

If the journeyer is working with our pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators, the preparation stage of the psychedelic journey process will typically last two weeks. 

After your loved one has been connected to their facilitator, they’ll work with them through at least two, 1-hour long virtual preparation sessions. This is where they create a logistical plan for the psychedelic ceremony, and it’s also where they get clear on their intentions and on expectations for the process

If you’re present for your loved one’s preparation process, there’s a couple of things that you’ll hopefully consider as you’re navigating this journey with them. Even if the journeyer has informed you about their psychedelic session after they’ve already journeyed, it’s still helpful to reflect on the following tips as you decide on the best ways to support their integration process.

Tip #1: Appreciate Your Loved One’s Transparency  

Psychedelic journeys can be challenging experiences to navigate, and no two journeys are the same, which means that it takes courage for any individual to embody such a high level of openness to this sort of experience.

Especially in a society where psychedelic drugs have only recently been acknowledged as medically useful tools, it’s important to appreciate your loved one’s transparency in choosing to share their experience as they engage in a form of therapy that’s still stigmatized in certain communities.

A practical way to support your loved one after they inform you about their decision to seek psychedelic therapy, is to simply acknowledge the courage that it takes to make a choice of this magnitude. 

It requires incredible commitment and self-discipline to move through a psychedelic therapy process. Acknowledge your loved one’s commitment to their health and well-being by celebrating their choice, or by at least demonstrating respect for it.

Tip #2: Honor Your Role as a Supporter

If you’re reading through this article, then we want to congratulate you on getting a head start with tip number two — honoring your role as a supporter by learning about psychedelic therapy support!

If someone feels compelled enough to share their very intimate and vulnerable psychedelic experience with you, it’s important that you recognize the role you serve in this person’s life.

You are a trusted person to your friend, partner, or family member– a person who they feel is present enough and open enough to support a decision of this kind. As we mentioned earlier, it’s not easy to be transparent about this type of experience. 

Not everyone will be accepting of it. If someone shares their decision to seek psychedelic therapy, it means that they acknowledge your open mindedness and trust your ability to respect their choices and to care about their well-being.

Having said that, honoring your role as a supporter also means taking care of yourself and your needs. Be honest with yourself about the level of support that you can actually offer. Do you have the emotional space to play an active and consistent role in their support system? 

Or is your space more limited? Perhaps you wear many hats throughout your day, maybe you’re the parent of a young child, have a busy work schedule, or you might be facing your own challenges regarding physical or mental health. 

The best way that you can support your loved one is by honoring your truth and reciprocating the transparency that they had with you. This way, your loved one can make an informed decision on the best way to organize and curate their psychedelic support community

Tip #3: Be Prepared to Take Your Own Personal Inventory

In the process of honoring your role as a supporter, it’s likely that you’ll also lean into your own, personal period of self reflection. In being honest with others about realistic expectations for your level of support, you’ll first need to be honest with yourself about the current circumstances of your everyday life. 

Through this, people involved in a journeyer’s support system often find themselves looking more deeply into their level of personal satisfaction with the current conditions of their mental and physical state. This is very normal, and in fact, is often the catalyst for many people’s decision to embark on their own therapeutic psychedelic journey

After observing a loved one move through the psychedelic therapy process, and after witnessing the change that it can motivate in other people’s lives, you might feel empowered to connect with your own authentic truth by dedicating time to your own healing.

There’s a beautiful quote by Matt Kahn that reads “Despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” This truth also applies to how deeply we’re able to meet other people. 

We can only know others as deeply as we know ourselves. So as a supporter of someone who is undergoing psychedelic therapy, it’s important to take a personal inventory of your own life, in order to approach this experience with your highest truth and your clearest intentions.

Tip #4: Educate Yourself on Psychedelic Therapy

Part A: Learn about The Psychedelic Therapy Process

If you’ve decided to play an active role in your loved one’s psychedelic healing journey, then it’s vital that you educate yourself on the psychedelic therapy process. Don’t rely on your loved one to educate you on everything you need to know about this type of experience. 

Give them the space to focus on their own healing process by leading your own research on the topic. Learn about the stages of psychedelic therapy – the preparation stage, ceremony day, and the integration stage.

If your loved one is comfortable with it, it can be a good idea to request a chat with their psychedelic facilitator. This can be a very useful and direct way to better understand how you can support your loved one through their specific intentions for healing.

Learn about how psychedelics act in the body, understand the phases of healing after a psychedelic experience. Luckily you’ve arrived at the Internet’s most informative hub for therapeutic psychedelic experiences. If you’re not sure where to start, our resources page is the perfect place to browse an extensive bibliotheca on all-things-psychedelic.

Part B: Learn about Intention-Setting & Understand Their Personal Intentions

An important part of any psychedelic healing process is establishing intentions or goals for the experience. If your loved one is undergoing psychedelic therapy, they’re likely in the process of refining their intentions for the journey. 

To better understand this part of the process, we invite you to look over our guide on how to create an intention for a psychedelic experience. This way, when your loved one shares their personal intentions with you, you’ll be better informed on the value of their choice and the role that it’ll play in their greater healing journey. 

However, setting an intention is not limited to the journeyer. As we’ve mentioned throughout the article, it’s important that you also establish intentions as a supportive peer. 

Ask yourself what it means to you that this person has invited you to be a part of their psychedelic journey. How would you like to relate to their therapeutic process and in what ways can their therapeutic process inspire your journey of personal development?

Part C: Learn about The Benefits & Potential Risks of Psychedelic Use

You can’t really know psychedelic therapy without understanding the immense benefits that hallucinogenic medicines can have on someone, especially if that person is wholeheartedly committed to doing “the work” in psychedelic therapy.

Psychedelics have proven to be effective treatments for many conditions, including major depression disorder, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, addiction, chronic headaches and migraines, and even the secondary effects of strokes and traumatic brain injuries.

Not only that, but they’re incredibly useful tools for connecting to our authentic truth, our creative expressions, and for connecting to the spiritual realm. They can help us move through life transitions more fluidly and to accept change more gracefully.

On the flipside though, psychedelics may pose potential risks for some people, which in some cases, may outweigh the potential benefits. It’s important to inform yourself about the safety and risks of psychedelic therapy

For example, people with bipolar disorder may not qualify for psychedelic therapy, and those with schizophrenia and psychosis are very often ineligible to participate in these experiences. SSRIs and antidepressants are also known to contraindicate, blunt, or even heighten the effects of psychedelic drugs.

Support your loved one through the psychedelic therapy process by gaining an objective perspective on the benefits and risks involved. This way, you can inform their choice by ensuring that this is a healthy decision for both their mental and physical well being.

Tip #5: Practice Non-Judgement

For those of you living in 21st-century America, it’s likely that a good chunk of your 1st through 12th grade education involved drug safety courses like D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), CDP (The Child Development Project), or LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Drugs).

Unfortunately, the information shared in these programs were very often part of larger agendas that served as propaganda for the War on Drugs, initiated by former President Nixon. The earliest classroom memories of many American students involve lessons about how “psychedelics melt your brain” and “scramble your chromosome”. 

Of course, these claims have all since been disproven, and evidenced as the result of strategic, highly manipulated, government-funded psychedelic “research” studies. However, the negative associations made about psychedelics from 1971 to the late 2010s have not been completely dissolved from our cultural perspectives on hallucinogenic drugs.

For many, this can create internal conflict, especially when a loved one is considering embarking on a psychedelic experience. This is why we place such heavy emphasis on getting educated about the science-based benefits and risks of psychedelic therapy.

It’s important to approach your loved one’s decision with non-judgment, and because these medicines are still stigmatized, being non-judgmental about such a decision requires getting a clear and objective perspective on what psychedelic therapy really is.

If a loved one trusts you enough to share their psychedelic experience with you, don’t take this as an opportunity to sway their decision by imposing negative personal beliefs onto them. Psychedelic therapy is challenging in and of itself, and pressure from the people who should be supporting us can be detrimental to our confidence in our ability to navigate the experience.

If you’re having a hard time accepting your loved one’s decision, do more research on studies that’ve been published about the success rates of psychedelic therapy. Take a step back and assess the source of your internal conflict. Reflect more deeply about where your fears lie.

Are you not supportive of their decision because you fear that they’re endangering their wellbeing? Or is the reason more complicated? Like the fear that they may not relate to you or the world in the same way you’ve become accustomed to?

Whatever the case, be truthful with yourself so that you can approach your role as a supporter in the most loving, respectful, and productive way. Don’t allow fears to prevent you from using this as an opportunity to really show up for the people that you care about. Use it as an opportunity to practice acceptance and openness.

Supporting a Loved One Through: The Day of Ceremony

Ceremony day is the day when your loved one will be taking their chosen psychedelic substance under the guidance and in the presence of their facilitator. Journey day can be as exciting as it is nerve-racking, not only for journeyers, but also for their support system. This is the day that all of their preparation efforts have led up to. 

So how can you support someone you care about on the day of their psychedelic journey in a way that gives their experience enough space to unfold authentically? How can you show support to a loved one while still giving them enough time to process the experience organically?

Tip #6: Take Care of Yourself

This step may seem contradicting. How does taking care of yourself support your loved one on journey day? The answer is very simple. Your loved one will not feel comfortable completely surrendering to the psychedelic experience if they’re under the impression that you’re sitting at home, waiting by the phone, worrying about their well-being. 

You don’t have to be present for someone’s psychedelic experience in order for them to feel the energy that you’re holding toward them and their journey. People who take psychedelic drugs experience a large increase in their sensitivity to other people’s energy, even in the energy of the earth and of nature. 

If a journeyer is under the impression that you’re doubtful or pessimistic about their therapeutic outcome, your internal narratives will bleed onto their communion with the psychedelic medicine. 

This can darken the tone of their experience, reduce their confidence, and make it more likely that they’ll attempt to control the natural trajectory of the journey. And attempts to control will only increase the chances of them having a “bad trip”, or a challenging experience.

On the day of your loved one’s ceremony, it’s important that you do things that you enjoy. Go on a walk, engage in practices that help you feel grounded and calm, read a book, complete work responsibilities. The best way to support your loved one on journey day is to send them loving and healing wishes and vibrations. They will feel your support. Trust us when we say that.

Tip #7: Help with Practical Tasks

And another great way to support your loved one on the day of their journey is by helping them complete practical tasks that reduce their workload and responsibilities. This can also be very helpful throughout your loved one’s integration process.

If they have a pet, for example, they would likely feel much more open to their psychedelic experience if they knew that their dog was in someone’s caring company. It’ll help them feel more secure to know that their pet is being taken on a walk or played with.

Another simple and helpful task is to help with childcare, do the dishes or laundry, or to clean the house if you live with the journeyer. This way, when they come home, they’ll be welcomed by a clean, refreshing, and comforting atmosphere.

They also won’t come out of their experience feeling guilty for having left some chores undone. If you don’t live with your loved one though, you can still prepare a meal for them or order food to their home, after their psychedelic therapy session has concluded. This way, they won’t have to worry about cooking food later in the evening. 

If you do this though, we suggest that you ask the journeyer what they want to eat. Some foods may not sound so appealing to a journeyer after having such a consciousness-altering experience. Ask them about meal preferences beforehand, after the psychedelic therapy session has concluded, or on the drive home if you’ve been assigned as their designated driver.

However, immediately after a psychedelic experience, many people don’t feel like expending too much mental energy on minor decisions. So support your journeyer by meeting them where they are and by using their behavioral cues to decide what would be the most comforting to them.

Tip #8: Practice Respect, Patience & Flexibility

Once your loved one embarks on a psychedelic journey, it’s important to practice respect for their space, patience with their level of openness, and flexibility with your supportive approach. For example, if you’re the designated driver of a psychedelic journeyer, you may want to instinctively lead with your natural curiosity about how their experience felt and played out.

However, it’s important that you don’t ask the journeyer questions like “How was it?”, or “How do you feel?”. Though these questions may be well intentioned, it can take time for a journeyer to process the experience. Also, they likely won’t be ready to provide solid answers to those questions, without spending some time alone, reflecting on the journey.

Instead, ask them if there’s anything they need in order to feel supported at that moment. Let them know that you’re there for them, without imposing any pressure on them to open up prematurely. Send them a text acknowledging that their journey was today, and let them know that you’re only a phone call away. Celebrate their courage and show respect for their space.

Meet the journeyer where they are. Allow them to transition back into day to day life at their own pace. If it’s been a while since the journeyer talked to you about their experience, give them a gentle reminder that you’re there for them, and a reminder to practice self-care. 

If the journeyer requested that their facilitator send you text message updates throughout the ceremony, appreciate the information, but don’t anxiously wait by the phone assuming an energy of alarm and distress. Assume that all is going right, unless there is reason to assume otherwise.

Supporting a Loved One Through: The Integration Stage

The integration process begins immediately after the hallucinogenic effects have completely worn off. However, integration sessions with a facilitator begin in the days or week following the psychedelic ceremony, and usually last for at least two weeks. 

During this time, the journeyer is processing the newfound knowledge that came forth during their experience. It’s a time of self reflection and of attaching meaning to their psychedelic journey. This can be challenging for a lot of people, especially if the experience upended many limiting beliefs that they were previously unaware of. 

Integration is just as important as the psychedelic experience itself. It lasts far beyond the 2 integration sessions with a facilitator because it catalyzes a much larger process of personal discovery. If a journeyer is not committed to this step, change will not occur and old habits and patterns will persist.

Tip #9: Helping a Journeyer Practice Personal Accountability 

After the journeyer has opened up to you about the events that unfolded throughout their psychedelic experience, and after they’ve dissected its meaning and communicated it to you, you can continue supporting their intentions by offering gentle, friendly, and empowering reminders.

For example, if you see your loved one engaging in an activity that they’ve previously expressed discontent with, you can remind them to take a personal inventory of their behaviors, perspectives, and intentions.

Or, if for example, your loved one says something in a conversation (i.e. X not Y)– something which you know isn’t aligned with their highest Truth, offer a simple thought-provoking idea like, “It’s interesting you say that. I tend to think that X and Y can both coexist in harmony because [blank]. What’re your thoughts?”

Don’t be pushy, don’t make them feel guilty, simply offer gentle reminders– which can be best done if you lead by example. Help your loved one remain accountable over their healing journey by surrounding them with a peer (you) that is also practicing self reflection and authenticity.

Tip #10: Let The Journeyer Sail Their Own Ship

Whatever the outcome of your loved one’s psychedelic experience, it’s important that you give the journeyer room to make autonomous decisions about their own life. Everyone moves at a different pace, and only the journeyer can truly understand what’s best for them.

After a psychedelic ceremony, journeyers may make decisions about their romantic or friendly relationships which you might not understand. If it’s fitting, you can ask the journeyer to expand on the reasons that motivated these decisions. However, it’s important not to sound demanding or doubtful about their choices unless there is a strong and unbiased reason to do so. 

If you’re questioning whether or not it’s intrusive to get involved in your loved one’s decision-making process, ask yourself where your intentions are. Do you want to be involved due to personal beliefs and bias, or because of a clearly worrisome concern?

If the journeyer is open to it, you can even reach out to their facilitator and express your concerns. Ask them if they’d be willing to share their perspective on the journeyer’s decisions.

The phases of a psychedelic healing process are different for everyone, so it’s important that we feel empathy and understanding for the heavy emotions involved in any person’s psychedelic integration process.

Set aside your own personal beliefs, and if you’re finding it really difficult to do that, locate the source of those beliefs in order to analyze the intentions behind them and in order to inform the type of support that you can offer.

A Quick Recap on Supporting a Loved One’s Journey

If you have a loved one who’s embarking on a psychedelic journey, it can be both exciting and slightly overwhelming to discern the best forms of therapeutic psychedelic support. If you employ the tips we offered today, you can become a powerful ally to any friend’s or family member’s healing journey.

Remember to listen without judgment. Allow your loved one to share their experience with you openly and honestly, without interjecting your own opinions or biases. Hold space for them during their integration process– This means being there for them emotionally, and offering support as they process the insights gained during the psychedelic experience.

Be patient and let them take the lead. Psychedelic therapy is a deeply personal journey and everyone moves at their own pace. Encouraging personal accountability is another important aspect of supporting a loved one through psychedelic therapy. 

Empower your loved one to reflect on their behaviors, perspectives, and intentions, and offer gentle reminders when necessary. The best way to do this is to lead by example, or as some would say, by “practicing what you preach”.

Above all, let the journeyer sail their own ship. Trust in their ability to make the best decisions for themselves, and offer your support in a loving way. By following these tips, you can help your loved one navigate the complex and transformative world of psychedelic therapy. And through that, you may even feel called to embark on your own journey of self discovery.

Explore How it Feels to be Connected

Are you ready to embark on your own psychedelic healing journey, or would you like to help your loved one find a psychedelic facilitator that’s right for them? If so, you’ve arrived at the perfect place. 

Here, at Psychedelic Passage, we’ve worked hard to curate a pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators who are located around the U.S. From the comfort of your own home, or in any private residence of your choice, you can experience how it feels to be open and connected, with yourself and with the world.

If you’d like to connect to our network of facilitators, we invite you to book a consultation with our knowledgeable psychedelic concierges. They can answer any questions you might have about the process, and can even help you access resources related to psychedelic medicine and mental health.

Of course, not everyone will be ready to take such a step, just yet. Many of you might be in the research stage of the process. In which case, we empower you to head on over to our resources page to read more informative articles like this one. As always, safe and mindful journeying!

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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