With plant-based psychedelics being decriminalized in 2019, Oakland residents are growing curious about their options for legally accessing therapeutic psychedelic services near them. Though we’ve previously delved into psilocybin and psychedelic-assisted therapy in California, Oakland is a special case that surely deserves its own spotlight.
Finding a psychedelic guide, as we continually remind folks, is about engaging with someone who has the knowledge and capabilities to offer assistance and guidance before, throughout, and after a psychedelic journey. That’s why we’ll go through tangible ways to determine whether a facilitator is a good fit for you.
We’ll also explain the responsibilities of a psychedelic guide/ facilitator in more detail. Is having a facilitator present truly necessary? Perhaps most importantly, how can Oakland community members locate trustworthy and skilled psychedelic guides in their area?
What Qualifies a Psychedelic Therapist?
A psychedelic therapist is a licensed therapist who facilitates psychedelic experiences. San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz are the only California cities to have decriminalized psychedelics.
Unfortunately, as we’ve come to learn from cannabis reform measures, decriminalization is a long way away from legalization. This means that it is rare to find a licensed therapist willing to take the legal risk of offering psychedelic services.
Here’s where psychedelic facilitators and guides step in. The terms ‘facilitator’ and ‘guide’ share the same exact responsibilities in pretty much all cases. All qualified psychedelic professionals, including therapists, facilitators, and guides, should be performing similar preparation and integration services.
They should also be present for your psychedelic ceremony. What exactly should you be looking for in any of these professionals? First, a psychedelic guide should have a long standing relationship with psychedelics. This means they should have extensive experience journeying with a variety of psychedelic substances.
After all, where’s the benefit in a psychedelic guide if they’ve benefited from psychedelic, themselves? A psychedelic guide should know the ins and outs of these altered states of consciousness as a result of their own personal explorations with these medicines.
Your psychedelic guide’s healing philosophy should resonate with you. Ask prospective guides about their specialties, their beliefs on personal accountability over healing, and questions about their interests in this line of work.
You are your own healer and a qualified psychedelic guide is able to identify that. In a psychedelic experience, a guide should never attempt to modify the unfolding relationship between you and the psychedelic medicine. Unless of course, you’re under severe distress or in physical danger.
In every other case though, attempts to sway the direction of the journey, on your part and on the guide’s part, would be a disservice to the true healing potential that comes with change and discomfort.
Last, but certainly not least, you should assess how you feel upon first meeting a potential guide. Take notice of their space and the energy within it. Is this someone you feel comfortable being vulnerable with? Do you feel relaxed and empowered by them? Is there any feeling of doubt?
You’ll likely be spending some of the rawest moments of your life with this person. Therefore, your psychedelic guide should always communicate honestly, empathetically, and should allow you to take personal accountability over your healing journey.
What is The Role of a Psychedelic Guide?
Often, the term “guide” can be a little misleading. The title insinuates that someone is intentionally influencing the trajectory of your psychedelic experience.
As we learned in the last section, a qualified guide should allow the journey to unfold organically because they know, from personal experience, that there is no match for the natural communion between our inner healer and the psychedelic medicine.
External manipulation could create internal resistance within the journeyer, and would assume that something outside of ourselves is required for bringing our personal truths to light. That’s why we prefer the term “facilitator” since it more accurately depicts the influence of the role.
Once you’re determined to be a healthy candidate for psychedelic treatment, your facilitator should demonstrate an interest in your life, your current emotional state, your personal and family history, and in the quality of your current relationships.
They should assist you in preparation for the experience by providing tools that help you better align with the intentions for your journey. Expectation management is one of the most insightful tools that a psychedelic guide can offer. Because they’ve serviced such a large number of ceremonies, there’s a very small amount of in-ceremony scenarios that they haven’t yet seen.
Thus, psychedelic guides equipped you with all of the possibilities associated with altered states of consciousness, so that you are mentally and physically prepared to handle anything that might surface.
Of course, your guide will help you decide on an appropriate dosage and ceremonial environment. During your journey, guides hold a space that’s conducive to your comfort and healing. They observe your energy and behaviors to better understand how they can be of support.
In a psychedelic journey, it’s almost as if you are borrowing the nervous system of your guide. Your guide has done such extensive inner work that they are able to remain emotionally and energetically stable, both for themselves and for you.
This level of awareness cannot be lexically translated, but is whole heartedly sensed by the journeyer as a feeling of trust and comfortability in surrendering to the experience.
Every so often, they’ll ask if you’d like a drink of water or if you need to use the bathroom, and they will accompany you if needed. After your journey is over, a full-service guide will take you through integration sessions.
This is where you process the experience and come to a clearer understanding of how the journey can be productively applied to your day-to-day life. Integration is one of the most vital processes for ensuring a safe and healthy transition between different states of consciousness.
Is it Really Necessary to Hire a Psychedelic Guide?
Are psychedelic guides necessary for having a therapeutic psychedelic experience? The simple answer is no. You certainly do not need a psychedelic guide to journey with psychedelics, because again, your inner healer is the primary cause for your personal transformation.
It’s important to recognize that having a close friend or family member tripsit you may feel the most comfortable, in theory. However, the truth is that it can be extremely challenging to fully surrender to such an experience in the presence of our loved ones.
In a psychedelic state we embody the most raw and unfiltered versions of ourselves. How far can you truly allow yourself to surrender in the presence of people you personally know? We feel much less judgment in the presence of people we do not have personal associations with.
Thus, if a journeyer is in the presence of someone they know while in such an altered state, they may feel conscious or unconscious pressure to maintain the persona they project around that person, to “hold themselves together”.
Many people are seeking these journeys to address their depression, anxiety, or PTSD. When we think about the depth of these emotional states and the level of emotional suppression they’ve likely caused, we can understand why having a professional present is likely the most therapeutic option.
A psychedelic guide has knowledge and experience regarding safety, energetic presence, and crisis management, that family members and friends likely do not have. Another factor to consider is that in these states, we are very energetically in-tune with the environment and the people around us.
Someone who doesn’t have extensive practice with regulating their own nervous system, could unknowingly emit energies of fear, worry, or judgment. These energies are sensed by the journeyer and in such cases, it could very likely cause the journeyer to embody those same emotions.
Aside from this, a professional psychedelic guide has the tools to help you navigate preparation and integration processes, while friends and family likely do not. Though there’s always the option to have a peer tripsit you while going through preparation and integration phases with a professional guide.
The downside to this though, is that the guide won’t have first-hand knowledge of what really occurred during your journey. They’ll be counting on your recollection of events. If a guide is present during the journey, they may help you interpret the event from not only your perspective, but from what they themselves witnessed.
All in all, it is not necessary to have a psychedelic guide present during your ceremony. However, it is the safest, most supported option, especially for those seeking to address major life changes or pervasive mental health conditions.
Where to Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences Near Oakland 2022
Right now, two options exist for seeking therapeutic psychedelic experiences in Oakland, California: Ketamine clinics and guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage.
- Ketamine Clinics
In recent years, ketamine has been approved for off-label use by the FDA, and state residents have quickly jumped on the opportunity to offer these services. We should note that ketamine is not a traditional psychedelic, in fact, it’s not a psychedelic at all. Rather, ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has been used in hospital operating rooms since the 1960s.
‘Off-label’ use is a status given to medications that were formerly used for a specific purpose, other than the currently proposed one. For ketamine, this means a shift from its primary use as an anesthetic to use in therapy clinics. Because ketamine is a dissociative drug, it allows users to shift their awareness from a first person to a second person point of view.
This can be beneficial for people suffering from PTSD and treatment-resistant depression, as such a change in perspective allows you to observe your life circumstances from a less involved lens. Instead, you’re able to look at your thoughts and your life from a more compassionate place.
You can feel a productive empathy that helps acknowledge yourself as a human being enduring such emotional heaviness and negative self-thought. With this, you’re able to take on more objective decision making skills, with better awareness on the triviality of certain life events and on the deeper purpose in order.
It’s important to recognize though, that there are both benefits and pitfalls of ketamine. Not all ketamine clinics are made equal. Many have unfortunately begun to compromise quality of therapeutic support for financial profit.
This is why we always encourage thorough research on the different protocols of ketamine clinics. If you’re looking for ketamine clinics near you, ensure that the service providers are qualified psychedelic therapists or facilitators.
2. Guided Psychedelic Journeys With Psychedelic Passage
Here, at Psychedelic Passage, we offer guided psychedelic journeys in every state across the nation. Our 5-week program includes thorough preparation, ceremonial, and integrative support. Psychedelics are not and should not be approached from a one-size-fits-all perspective.
Mental health is unique for everyone, and that’s why our top priority is to service your healing journey with a plan that’s tailored to your specific needs and goals. We recognize that this fresh space of psychedelic medicine can be tricky to navigate, and it can be especially difficult to assess who is truly qualified to facilitate a psychedelic experience.
That’s why we’ve taken on the mission of curating a pre-vetted network of experienced and qualified facilitators, so you never have to question if you’re receiving the proper therapeutic support. Whatever your medicine of choice is, if we can make it to you, we will sit with you through your journey.
Healing does not mean eradicating our emotional damage. It means changing our relationship to the circumstances that have painfully affected our lives, so they can no longer have control over our relationship to others and to ourselves. Our program is specifically designed to catalyze personal transformation, and we’d be more than honored to assist you on yours.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey in Any Major Oakland Area
- Downtown Oakland
- Central Business District
- Lake Merritt
- East Oakland
- North Oakland
- Redwood Heights
- West Oakland
- Oakland Hills
- Grand Lake
Explore How it Feels to be Connected
By now, you might feel compelled to delve deeper into these novel therapies. If you’re interested in embarking on your own psychedelic journey or would like to learn more about our process, we empower you to book a consultation with us.
Whether or not you’re seeking to have a psychedelic ceremony with us, we’re here to be a resource to you. There may still be many unanswered questions still lingering in your mind. In that case, head on over to our resources page where you’ll find a large inventory of informative articles just like this one.
Remember friends, healing isn’t linear, it’s a combination of positive action and awareness of our problems. Wherever your journey takes you, we wish you safe and supported travels. That’s all for now our fellow psychonauts, until next time!