While the transformative potential of a single psychedelic session is undeniable, we have to acknowledge the complexity of the healing process and the fact that many people would benefit from more extended treatment.
Like most treatments, therapeutic psychedelic use involves an intentional communion with psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushrooms or MDMA, in a supportive and controlled therapeutic setting.
It aims to facilitate deep introspection, emotional healing, and exploration of the self—confronting underlying conditions like anxiety or PTSD—with the presence of a professional for additional safety, guidance, and reassurance.
Let’s address this important question: Is one psychedelic therapy session enough? As usual, the answer is a little more nuanced, which is why we wanted to dedicate an article to understanding this issue.
While our intention is to provide useful information, each person’s therapeutic journey is unique, so decisions about the number of sessions should always be made in consultation with the right guidance.
We’re going to dive headfirst into the factors that shape the impact of a single session versus the potential benefits of multiple sessions, and how to know what treatment protocol is most conducive to your specific needs.
Influences on The Therapeutic Psychedelic Process
What factors may influence the effectiveness and success of a psychedelic journey? This understanding is really part of what we call the preparation stage.
Factors that affect the psychedelic therapeutic process:
- Sensitivity to substances
- Personality traits and pre-dispositions
- Level of openness to the therapeutic process
- Past life experiences and trauma
- Personal history of psychedelic use
- Use of SSRIs or antidepressants
- The scope, goals, and desires for the experience
If the intention is to address complex or deeply rooted issues, it is more likely that multiple sessions will be needed to achieve significant and lasting change. On the other hand, individuals seeking personal growth, self-exploration, curiosity, or general enhancement of well-being may find that a single session provides adequate insights and benefits.
Each person’s journey is unique, and the number of sessions needed should be tailored to their specific needs, progress, and therapeutic plan. Later in this article, we will expand on the reasons why having multiple sessions could be necessary, but, in this next section, we wanted to outline some of the potential benefits of a single ceremony.
The Benefits of a Single Psychedelic Session
While the question of whether one psychedelic therapy session is enough may vary for each individual, it is important to consider the potential benefits of just one powerful and transformative journey.
In a previous article, we outlined how long do the effects last of psilocybin therapy, and we encourage you to self-reflect and proceed with a clear set of expectations that will not leave you either disappointed or overwhelmed in the outcome of the experience.
A single session can provide individuals with profound insights and a heightened sense of self-awareness, catalyzing a change in the general framework of their worldview and self-concept.
Through the altered states of consciousness induced by psychedelics, journeyers may gain new perspectives, uncover underlying emotions and patterns, and develop a deeper understanding of themselves.
Psychedelic therapy has shown promising results in facilitating emotional healing and addressing unresolved trauma in mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression.
However, there are interesting physical benefits appearing in scientific research nowadays, such as on cardiovascular health and Parkinson’s, as scientific and medical communities are recognizing and exploring these substances.
This is relevant, because more and more evidence is showing that the mind and body are really one cohesive system, and that many idiopathic diseases may have psychological or psychosomatic origins.
In a single session, individuals may have the opportunity to explore and process emotional wounds, release emotional burdens, and experience a sense of relief and catharsis which can have related effects on the body.
Psychedelic experiences often open doors to expanded states of consciousness, allowing individuals to transcend their ordinary perception of reality. This expanded awareness can foster a sense of interconnectedness, spiritual insights, and a broader perspective on life. It can also benefit creativity, ingenuity, and problem solving.
Psychedelic therapy has been reported to enhance the mind-body connection, promoting a deeper understanding and integration of the body’s wisdom. This can lead to increased somatic awareness, improved emotional regulation, and a greater sense of embodiment.
Greater awareness of the body not only has profound impacts on our ability to process emotion and feel deeper, heightened emotions and sensations (including joy and pleasure), but also to prevent disease through keen mind-body communication.
In other words, it’s harder to make conscious, poor decisions for yourself and your physical vessel when you are sensitive to its signals, and psychedelics illuminate unconscious habits and behaviors as well as ignored bodily signals.
This is likely the most obvious benefit in this list (because scientific research is loudly exploring these topics within a medical-model context). A single session can generate profound therapeutic shifts in suffering, whether that be from existential, spiritual distress or from a genuine physiological disorder. (We won’t get too far into the nature vs. nurture debate here.)
Also, something that is often overlooked is the way in which the effects of a psychedelic journey continue to unfold and evolve over time, even long after the journeyer is sober, so the therapeutic benefits may be truly long-lasting and multifaceted.
Reasons Why You May Want Multiple Psychedelic Therapy Sessions
Unresolved Issues & Complex Trauma
For many of our clients, their particular needs span beyond one single ceremony. Just as certain physical illnesses may need multiple rounds of a medicine to banish the infection, psychological issues often require more.
Depending on your unique background, history of trauma, and diagnoses, one session may or may not be enough to address all the underlying material leading to discomfort. If you find that, after your initial session, there is a felt-sense of lingering unresolved issues or unaddressed aspects of your experience, it may indicate the need for further sessions.
This point is really about tapping into your intuition as best you can and feeling either the presence or absence of resolve, if your questions were answered, and if you feel a weightless release of the intention that was set for the experience.
Considering The Depth of Desired Healing
Similarly, taking some time to honestly assess how ready you are to confront the shadows in the deep can help determine how much you are comfortable diving into the psychedelic realm.
A series of sessions in comparison with a single session can provide the opportunity to delve deeper into your psyche and gradually unravel layers of emotional wounds, like peeling back layers of an onion.
If you are looking to just test the waters in a supported way and are unready to tackle every aspect of life or yourself, one psychedelic journey may be enough for you at this time, and that’s ok.
The Duration of Goals for Psychedelic Treatment
Consider your long-term goals for personal growth and well-being. If you aspire to make profound and lasting changes in various areas of your life, multiple sessions may be necessary.
Continued sessions can provide ongoing support and guidance as you navigate the complexities of personal transformation. Assess your treatment goals and expectations.
Are there specific issues or concerns you aim to address through psychedelic therapy? Understanding your objectives can help determine if a single session will be sufficient or if multiple sessions may be necessary for comprehensive healing.
Integration & Preparation Challenges
Integration, the process of assimilating and applying the insights gained during psychedelic therapy into daily life, can be challenging for some individuals.
If you find it difficult to integrate the experiences or if you encounter obstacles in translating the insights into meaningful changes, additional sessions can offer continued support and guidance in this crucial process.
This goes back to the issue of the presence of greater complexity in the healing process, because if an individual with a complex history of trauma feels unresolved at the end of one session, it may just mean a deeper dive is needed.
Unpeeling the Layers: Keeping Up With Our Evolving Needs
As you progress on your therapeutic journey, your needs and goals may evolve. What may have felt sufficient initially may no longer align with your current aspirations. Regularly reassessing your needs can help determine if additional sessions would be beneficial to continue your growth and exploration.
Remember, the decision to pursue additional sessions should be made collaboratively with a professional facilitator, because having an outside opinion lends a more objective vantage point on your individual process.
A facilitator can provide professional guidance based on their assessment of your progress, therapeutic goals, and individual circumstances, and we encourage you to utilize our services as a supportive base.
Together, you can explore the potential benefits and weigh them against the associated commitment of time, resources, and emotional energy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Therapeutic Psychedelic Journeys
Is one psychedelic therapy session sufficient to achieve meaningful results?
The impact of a single psychedelic therapy session can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s needs, goals, and the nature of the condition being addressed. While some individuals may experience significant breakthroughs and lasting changes after just one session, others may require multiple sessions to delve deeper into their healing process.
How many psychedelic therapy sessions are typically recommended?
The optimal number of psychedelic therapy sessions can vary from person to person. While most of our clients opt for one session with additional support sessions for preparation and integration, many clients do book multiple.
It’s crucial to work closely with a qualified professional who can assess your progress, monitor your needs, and make recommendations based on your unique circumstances.
Can one psychedelic experience be enough to catalyze lasting changes in one’s life?
The transformative potential of a profound psychedelic experience can be incredibly powerful, and journeys can certainly have a significant, life-changing impact for someone.
Most often when an experience of that caliber occurs, there are multiple levels of transformation taking place, and people often describe those experiences as mystical, spiritual, or (commonly) referred to as “ego death.” Even in those types of cases, integration can be of the utmost importance in order to incorporate that ethereal wisdom into actionable steps for mundane life.
Speak With a Psychedelic Professional
We at Psychedelic Passage offer support and resources to psychedelic seekers, and we provide a concierge service which connects clients to a network of professional psychedelic guides and facilitators.
Book a consultation with us to get access to our supportive network located all over the United States. The facilitators in our network provide support along all steps of the process, from microdosing to preparation to in-ceremony support to integration.
We also created a resources page where you can find additional supportive articles on all topics related to psychedelic medicine and entheogenic substances.