It’s no wonder that the words “psychedelic assisted therapy near me” have become an increasingly popular Google search. People are learning more and more about how psychedelics can help address mental health issues, and they’re curious about accessing these benefits.
The benefits of psychedelics for use in therapy are innumerable. Research is accumulating and new studies are constantly being published highlighting the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs in treating mood disorders, addiction, and other diseases.
A quick Google search of psychedelic therapy near me yields tens if not hundreds of results for ketamine clinics and therapists—how do you choose which one is legitimate? Are there clinics available for other substances like psilocybin and DMT?
In this article, we’ll tell you a good run down on why people are using psychedelics, how you can connect with professional psychedelic guides near you, and how to choose the best type of psychedelic support service for your needs.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?
Psychedelic therapy utilizes a specific psychedelic substance (like ketamine or cannabis), typically administered by medical practitioners and/or therapists who are present throughout the entire experience. Medical practitioners, universities, and research hospitals are using psychedelics to learn about the brain and assess the long-term benefits of psychedelic therapy.
Plants and substances derived from plants have been used for thousands of years—both for pleasure and healing purposes. Non-plant derived psychedelics, such as LSD and ketamine, were discovered in more recent history and were first synthesized in 1938 and 1962, respectively.
Research into the healing properties of psychedelics tapered off in the 1950s jump-started again in the late 1990s, and is currently picking up momentum again. There is now a lot of research indicating that therapy utilizing the consumption of psychedelic substances is effective at treating several types of mental illnesses including PTSD, anxiety, and addiction.
Psychedelic therapy makes use of a moderate to high dose of a psychedelic to create an “overwhelming and transcendent experience,” which can often help improve mental health, especially for conventional treatment resistant conditions. Though there are potential side effects, patients are under medical supervision throughout the session.
And some find that these sessions are a better alternative than prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication that has a wide range of potential side effects including fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, constipation, and suicide.
Psychedelic therapy may be a single session, or several sessions over the course of a few months, depending on the needs of the participant. It is often combined with integration sessions both before and after the psychedelic experience.
Most psychedelic assisted therapy clinics are run by medical practitioners (MDs, DOs, or Psy-Ds as examples) and sometimes complete additional training with psychedelic focused organizations such as the California Institute of Integral Studies, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), or the Usona Institute.
These practitioners have varying levels of experience administering and experiencing psychedelic substances themselves, so due diligence is recommended to find the best option for you. We advise you to only work with practitioners who have consumed these substances themselves so they understand what you will be going through.
Are you one of the many people who might benefit from utilizing psychedelics to access your subconscious thought processes and patterns or better manage a mental health issue? Let’s take a look at how you can find psychedelic therapy—wherever you are in the U.S.
The Legal Status of Psychedelic Assisted Therapy 2023
At the federal level in the United States, all psychedelics are classified as Schedule I drugs, which means that they are considered to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. This classification makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA.
However, there are ongoing efforts to change this classification and allow for further research and potential legalization of these substances. On the state level, there has been a growing movement to decriminalize or legalize psychedelics for medical and therapeutic purposes.
Currently, several states have decriminalized or legalized the use of psychedelics in some form. In 2019, Denver, Colorado became the first city in the US to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, followed by Oakland and Santa Cruz, California. In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin in supervised settings.
Other states such as California, Vermont, and Washington are also considering similar legislation. However, it’s important to note that while these states have decriminalized or legalized psychedelics for medical or therapeutic purposes, they are still illegal at the federal level.
In addition to the legislative changes, there has also been a significant increase in the amount of research being conducted on psychedelic medicine and therapy. This research has shown promising results for the treatment of a variety of mental health disorders, leading to increased interest from the medical community and the public.
As for the future of the psychedelic industry, there are several key events that suggest that it will continue to grow and expand. In 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough therapy designation for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. This designation speeds up the development and review process of the therapy, potentially making it available for prescription sooner.
Current Legal Therapeutic Psychedelic Experiences in 2023
So, psychedelics have caught your attention and you’ve been wondering how you can find legal psychedelic therapy near you. If you would have asked this question a decade ago, you would have ran into many dead ends.
However, thanks to the tireless efforts of researchers and the growing psychedelic community, accessing psychedelic therapy is easier than ever. Because many of these psychedelics are still considered illegal substances, some types of psychedelic therapy are illegal in the US, outside of clinical studies. That said, there are still some viable legal alternatives.
1. Ketamine Therapy
Ketamine has been approved by the FDA as an anesthetic for nearly half a decade. Recent clinical trials demonstrating benefits in treating mood disorders has meant that ketamine can also be administered for “off-label uses.” Even without appropriate FDA classification for ketamine as a medicine, health providers have been using ketamine for years to treat bipolar disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and PTSD.
Though ketamine is actually a dissociative psychedelic, for many in the psychiatric community, ketamine is nothing short of a ground-breaking treatment. Ketamine-assisted therapy is a rapidly growing field and the combination of ketamine with psychotherapy has produced lasting changes when it comes to PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Ketamine has a response rate of 60-75% when it comes to antidepressant effects. In particular, therapists are excited about ketamine’s potential in treating the 1% of Americans who have treatment-resistant depression. There are now hundreds of ketamine clinics around the US, and just last year, the FDA approved esketamine, a nasal spray to be used with conventional antidepressants.
Ketamine assisted therapy will provide a much more intense psychedelic experience than cannabis therapy, which we address in the following section. It is best for people who have a stubborn chronic condition that is resistant to other forms of treatment.
2. Guided Psychedelic Experiences With Psychedelic Passage
We, at Psychedelic Passage, believe that it is a fundamental human right to commune with plant medicine and psychedelic substances for healing, regardless of whether you prefer to work with a licensed mental health professional or not.
This is why we created Psychedelic Passage–to connect journeyers with our network of pre-vetted, local guides who provide guidance before, during, and after an intentional psychedelic experience. Please note that the facilitators in our network are not licensed mental health professionals nor do we provide controlled substances.
Our network of facilitators offer, preparation and integration support, microdosing coaching, and personalized therapeutic psychedelic guidance for individuals who are interested in or have had experiences with psychedelic medicine.
Our main mission is to promote safe and responsible use of these substances while also providing support and guidance for individuals who seek to benefit from their potential therapeutic benefits. Because we don’t source the psychedelic medicine for you, you have the option to work with any substance.
The best part? Our network of facilitators can guide your therapeutic psychedelic ceremony from the comfort of your home. We understand how confusing this fresh space of mental health treatment can be, which is why we aim to simply the therapeutic psychedelic experience, by ensuring you’re crystal clear about every phase of the psychedelic healing process.
To learn more about service, receive answers to your personal psychedelic questions, or to connect with a facilitator who matches your needs, we empower you to book a consultation with our knowledgable psychedelic concierges today.
3. International Psychedelic Retreats
If you’re seeking psychedelic assisted therapy with a substance other than ketamine or cannabis, your only legal option (currently) is to go overseas. While the US has yet to recognize that the ban on some of these psychedelics should be lifted, fortunately that doesn’t apply everywhere.
Some countries recognize the sacramental value of psychedelics, so while they’re technically illegal, they are allowed in traditional use. Other countries have never made psychedelics illegal, and even if they have (in the case of Portugal), they typically don’t enforce it.
Psilocybin retreats are common in Mexico, Jamaica, and the Netherlands. San Pedro and ayahuasca retreats can easily be found in countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. While not as popular, practitioners offering 5-MeO-DMT can be found in Spain and Mexico. Iboga treatment centers have opened recently in Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and Portugal.
In reality, these psychedelic retreats are more ceremonial in nature as opposed to 1-on-1 style Western psychedelic assisted therapy. That means international retreats are a better option for those seeking a more indigenous, ceremonial, and spiritual experience.
Though these international trips are a legal option, a number of considerations must be taken into account before embarking on this type of journey. In addition to travel logistics and taking time off work, vetting and reviewing psychedelic retreat and spiritual centers can be difficult from afar.
Psychedelics can put the user in a vulnerable condition, both mentally and physically, so utmost care should be taken to find a safe and reputable place. We’ll explain more on how to do this in the next section.
How to Determine Which Psychedelic Therapy is Right for You
Now that you know which psychedelic therapy options exist, it’s time to choose the path that’s best for you. We know it can be daunting to choose which of the hundreds of clinics is a good fit for you personally. That’s why we at Psychedelic Psychedelic have put together this guide to help you find a trusted, legal, psychedelic assisted therapy clinic that fits your unique needs.
1. Initial Search
The first step is to research all of your legal options, now that you what they are. We suggest using whatever resources at your disposal to search for options that meet your parameters. Using this as a starting point, you can then apply the filters below to narrow down your results.
2. Determine Your Desired Outcome
What is your desired outcome? It’s important to choose a substance and a facilitator that can help you achieve your desired outcome. Assess you intentions for the experience. What do you want to get out of it? What do you want to learn about yourself?
It is also worth noting that facilitators have different specialties. Some specialize in addiction, while others specialize in trauma, anxiety, or stress reduction. We suggest choosing a therapist that specializes in treating your condition using psychedelics.
3. What is Your Budget
Like every professional service, psychedelic assisted therapy is provided at a variety of different price points. Ketamine therapy is generally the most expensive form of psychedelic therapy in the U.S, costing hundreds of dollars for a single session. Plus, it may require multiple treatments to get your desired result.
International retreats vary in price, but with airfare, the price can exceed ketamine assisted therapy locally. The upside to international retreats is that your money goes further—the retreat price often includes accommodations, food, and activities. Plus you get to choose your psychedelic of choice. This makes retreats the most immersive option that certainly provides immense value, but the cost for these international trips usually start at around $1500.
To learn all about the programs and pricing for the services we provide at Psychedelic Passage, check out our pricing outline or connect with our psychedelic conceirges by booking a consultation!
4. Which Therapy Modality is Best For You?
There are hundreds of different therapeutic modalities: somatic therapy, transpersonal therapy, shamanic healing, gestalt therapy, EMDR, brainspotting, hypnosis–the list goes on. It’s important to choose a therapist that’s using a modality that resonates with you.
A quick Google search will provide insight into the nuances of each modality. There is no right or wrong choice, it’s simply choosing a modality that you would like to employ on your quest for healing.
5. Reading Reviews & References
We absolutely suggest reading reviews or asking for previous client references prior to moving forward with a therapist. If the therapist is unable to provide reviews or references, that is a red flag.
Transparency is of the utmost importance when doing psychedelic assisted therapy. After all, you’re essentially putting your psyche in the hands of another person. It is critical that you feel comfortable and safe with this person.
6. Determining Availability
Given the popularity of psychedelic assisted therapy, many therapists have long waitlists. This means you could wait months before engaging with the therapist of your choice. If time is of the essence, it’s important that you find a therapist who can help you quickly. That may mean sacrificing your first pick for someone else who is also qualified and immediately available, but may be located further away.
For those of you located in major metropolitan areas, you’ll have plenty of psychedelic assisted therapy options at your disposal. If you live in a more rural area, your options will likely be slim. However, assuming you have a vehicle, you’ll likely be able to drive to the nearest metro area to find the services you seek.
As we mentioned above, if you’re willing to travel by plane, your options increase significantly. There are international retreats of all types in many different countries. You may find that a country you’ve always wanted to visit actually hosts psychedelic retreats.
Of course, with Psychedelic Passage, you’ll be connected to an experienced guide that’s local to your area. In fact, you can meet as many facilitators until you find the perfect fit. This also means that you can journey from the comfort of your own home, or be hosted by an eligible facilitator.
8. Use Your Intuition
The final step is to use your intuition. Pay attention to what you feel in your gut as your having discovery calls with potential clinics and therapists. If you don’t feel good after the conversation, do you really want to work with them? You are seeking this person out for healing—they’re behavior and presence should reflect that.
Also remember that it is your right to choose the best practitioner for you, and this includes the right to information and to ask questions. By addressing the major points above, you’ll increase the likelihood of finding the best practitioner, therapist or clinic in your local area.
Questions to Ask During Your Discovery Process
There are some crucial due diligence questions we suggest asking during your discovery process. Our recommendation is to schedule an initial consult with the clinics or therapists that are still on your list and ask them the following:
- What is your personal experience with psychedelics? (We only suggest doing psychedelic assisted therapy with therapists who have ingested the substance themselves)
- Why do you do this work?
- Have you successfully helped someone with [YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME]?
- What modalities do you specialize in?
- How many sessions do you think it will take to achieve my desired result?
- Do you do preparation and integration services as well? (In our opinion, preparation and integration is non-negotiable, but it can be done with a different practitioner if needed)
- Who on your staff would I be directly working with and what relevant experience do they have? (If possible, request to meet with these individuals before making your decision)
- Do you have both male and female therapists available? (Some therapists will practice as a male/female duo)
- Is your staff available outside of assisted therapy sessions in the case of emergency situations?
- What safety and harm reduction practices do you have in place?
- What are your payment terms and do you accept insurance?
Legal Alternatives to Psychedelics
Other legal options involve altered states of consciousness—without consuming any substances. Since it was developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof in 1975, Holotropic Breathwork has taken the world by storm. Holotropic Breathwork was designed to provide the effects of MDMA, ayahuasca, psilocybin, and LSD through hyperventilation and music.
It’s as effective as psychedelics in causing a therapeutic and transpersonal experience, and has been demonstrated to assist patients with various psychological problems. Those interested in holotropic breathwork should seek medical advice to ensure there are no preexisting conditions that may increase risk, such as respiratory or circulation issues. There are also other ways to enter the psychedelic realm without actually taking a drug.
Integrating the Psychedelic Experience
Although it’s not quite the same as psychedelic assisted therapy, psychedelic integration utilizes the help of a trained professional to help you make sense of your journey after the trip itself. That is one of the services our network of facilitators offer at Psychedelic Passage—the other is trip sitting with an emphasis on harm reduction.
While 84% of participants in a psilocybin study ranked the experience as one of the top five most meaningful of their lives, the long-term benefits achieved might not have been possible without the support of a coach or therapist.
Psychedelic experiences can provoke an array of feelings and emotions—some joyous, some confusing, some downright terrifying. But they’re all worth analyzing, and an integration specialist can help you do just that, even remotely.