Seattle has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in all of Washington. Not only is it the northernmost major city of the United States, but it’s also situated on the isthmus between the pristine Puget Sound and Lake Washington, surrounded by unbridled natural beauty.
Seattle is the birthplace of many things. Not only does it bore a famous food culture and one of the most prolific coffee chains, but it’s also the origin of world-renowned bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Foo Fighters– popularizing alternative rock and grunge culture throughout the United States.
Though the heyday of the grunge scene has passed, the city continues to churn out stars of all stripes, including Macklemore and Modest Mouse. Seattle has been at the forefront of many cultural pivots, includuing drug reform. Washington, as a whole, was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the city of Seattle has run with this principle.
In yet another landmark move, in October 4th of 2021, the city council unanimously passed a resolution that calls for “full decriminalization” of psychedelics for use in “religious, spiritual healing, or personal growth practices,” making Seattle the largest U.S. city to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.
Due to the eradication of penalties surrounding psychedelic use in Seattle, many groups and clinics have started to offer psychedelic-assisted therapy, operating both legally and in this newly created gray area. This has turned Seattle into not only a destination for those interested in the food and music culture, but also a destination for psychonauts and those interested in psychedelic therapy.
Although many have surely heard about the promises of psychedelics and their therapeutic use, psychedelic experiences should not be taken lightly. There is a good amount of preparation and consideration that should be taken in advance.
As with most serious matters, it is helpful to have guidance. Psychedelics often produce profound life-changing experiences, and this is why they’re so known to be so beneficial. It often takes an experience of this magnitude to catalyze deep transformation, especially when treating depression or PTSD.
We know it can take the help of an experienced guide to practice surrendering to the journey and to get the most from your experience, but where do you start your search? How can you find the most tailored psychedelic programs in Seattle?
If you’re interested, check out our service areas in Washington. First, let’s give you a better idea on the service provider variations that exist within psychedelic therapy, so you can choose if a therapist, a guide, or a facilitator would be best suited to support your needs.
The Difference Between a Psychedelic Therapist, Guide, & Facilitator
Therapist. Guide. Facilitator. There are a lot of roles that can exist in the psychedelic service field. Despite sounding quite similar, there are some key differences. A psychedelic therapist is a licensed mental health professional and will generally be a psychologist, counselor, or therapist. Due to the new exemption in Seattle, they can begin legally facilitating psychedelic experiences.
While a facilitator or guide may not have a medical license, what they lack in credentials they make up for with direct, long-standing experience with psychedelic medicine. Since decriminalization is new to Seattle, it still lies in a legal gray area, meaning that therapists will likely have limited experience facilitating psychedelic journeys.
Most often, facilitators and guides have more experience when it comes to maneuvering the ups and downs of a psychedelic journey. A ‘guide’ and a ‘facilitator’ offer the same services. The title they use is often up to personal preference.
Not only will they have participated in multiple ceremonies, but their mentee experiences are often under the guidance of shamans or medicine men and women. This provides them with a richer, more profound and intimate knowledge of psychedelics.
What Qualifies a Psychedelic Therapist?
Though we have a great article discussing the qualities you should look for in a psychedelic therapist, it’s important that we briefly go over what psychedelic-assisted therapy includes and what qualities to look for in a therapist.
During a psychedelic-assisted therapy session, you will ingest a psychedelic drug in the presence of your chosen professional. The goal here is to explore issues or past traumas and work through them. Often this includes issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Due to the lax status of psychedelics, you should have no problems finding a therapist or guide that fits you and your needs. Although there are plenty of choices, here is a quick list of things you should consider:
- Find out what services they offer. Do they offer only preparation and integration services, or are they able to sit in on your ceremony as well?
- Get a feel for the facilitator. What is their healing philosophy and how closely do you align with it?
- Most importantly, are you comfortable opening up to them right now? This will inform your level of comfort during your journey.
This is the beginning of a very intimate relationship between you, the facilitator, and the psychedelic medicine of your choosing. By taking some time to research and vet potential therapists, you can ensure you feel safe and comfortable, getting the most out of your experience.
What is The Role of a Psychedelic Guide?
When talking about a psychedelic ‘facilitator’ or ‘guide,’ they share the same responsibilities. However, a ‘guide’ conjures the image of a professional who will direct your psychedelic experience with prompts and verbal cues. This could not be further from their actual responsibilities.
The guide or facilitator’s primary goal is to allow you to get the most from your psychedelic journey. Although they are there to support you, they need to allow you the autonomy to control your journey. After all, this is a process of self-actualization, growth, and self-improvement.
The guide or facilitator’s job starts by priming you for your journey through a process known as preparation. This will usually include a health screening to ensure that psychedelics are right for you.
As we touched on earlier, psychedelics can bring things you may have repressed in the past to the forefront of your mind. Although this can be scary, know that it’s common for someone to have some anxieties arise.
During your experience, the guide or facilitator’s primary duty is to help keep you in the present. Not only will they be there to help ground you on the day of your journey, but they will also be instrumental in applying any lessons you learn to your everyday life. This process is known as integration.
Is it Really Necessary to Hire a Psychedelic Guide?
Due to the illegality of psychedelics, many have either chosen or been forced to embark on the journey without professional assistance. Of course, this is always an option, but to receive the most therapeutic support throughout your experience, having a guide, facilitator, or therapist, is often considered as best practice.
Psychedelics are potent drugs and are capable of producing life-changing experiences. This can be incredibly overwhelming if this is your first time using psychedelics. Without a guide present, it can be easy to get lost in common, negative thought loops without gaining anything further from your experience. Once you are stuck in this rut, getting out alone can be exceedingly tricky.
Not only will they be there to ensure your safety and help you work through some of the complex feelings that arise, but they will also be instrumental in helping you integrate your findings.
Where To Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences in Seattle, Washington
With the city’s council unanimously favoring psychedelic decriminalization, Seattle now has more options than ever. Options include ketamine clinics, guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage, or working with one of the many qualified therapists in Seattle who’ve opened their practice to psychedelic therapy.
1. Ketamine Clinics
Ketamine clinics specialize in treating PTSD, depression, and chronic pain through the use of a dissociative anesthetic. Until recently, these clinics have been the only legal option for psychedelic therapy in Washington.
Ketamine, unlike other psychedelics, does this by acting as a dissociative. People often report that the experience allowed them to detach from their circumstances and gave them a more objective and compassionate view on their life.
One major pitfall often reported about ketamine therapy is only experiencing temporary relief due to improper therapeutic support. If you are interested in learning more, we have an article on the pros and cons of ketamine therapy and one that can help you pick the right clinic for you.
2. Guided Psychedelic Experiences with Psychedelic Passage
At Psychedelic Passage, we allow you the freedom to direct your journey and set the pace for your experience. Every experience is designed with you, the client, in mind. Our 5-week program is customized to each client and designed to catalyze deep, personal transformation.
We work with a wide range of psychedelics and know that this is a personal journey of self-realization and self-improvement. We do our absolute best to meet you exactly where you are.
Whether that is helping financially with our sliding payment scale or by connecting you with the right pre-vetted facilitator. Our program includes both preparation and integration, as well as in-person ceremonial support.
Getting Started on Your Healing Journey
Seattle is a fantastic place with tons to do. While you’re there, you should spend some time exploring the Puget sound, absorbing the culture, and taking advantage of laws that allow for spiritual exploration via psychedelic medicine.
Get started on your journey and connect with our pre-vetted network of psychedelic facilitators by booking a consultation with one of our psychedelic concierges. Our goal is to spread the message and power of psychedelics by providing public education on harm reduction and therapeutic practices.
If you’d like to learn more about all-things-psychedelic, head over to our resources page for more informative articles like this one. Dig deep and begin setting your intentions!