While Southern California has traditionally been a large influence in pop culture, the Bay Area is quickly shaping the future. Silicon Valley changed how we live, Pixar innovated the motion picture industry, and the last bottle of wine you polished off likely came from Napa Valley.
The Bay Area conjures up many different mental pictures. If you were to ask ten different people, you’d probably get eight different responses. But to put it simply, it refers to nine counties that border the San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun Bay estuaries.
These areas have joined together to form the Association of Bay Area Governments, which includes the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco. These are the nine counties that officially make “the bay area.”
Since the area is so large, there are some unique quirks when it comes to the legalities surrounding psychedelics. Take, for example, the city of Oakland, which sits in Alameda county. Inside the city’s boundaries, psychedelics in all forms are decriminalized, but travel across the bay to San Francisco, and psychedelics remain illegal for the time being, but things are changing.
In 2021, Senate Bill 519 was passed, decriminalizing the use of psychedelic tools. This law will include mushrooms and other natural psychedelics for use in both personal and professional settings throughout all of California, but has yet to be signed into law. Until Senate Bill 519 goes into effect, you must choose a Bay Area location that offers decriminalized psychedelic services.
To help get you oriented and so you can get the most out of psychedelic therapy, we’ll go over the difference between psychedelic therapy and traditional therapy, as well as the crucial role of set and setting. Where can Bay Area residents find legal psychedelic services near them? We know it can seem overwhelming, so let’s break it down.
Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy vs. Traditional Therapy
In traditional therapy, you’ll work with a trained mental health professional to discuss past or present events that have held you back or limited your view on life. What you’ll do in each session depends on your therapist and the issues you want to address.
There are a surprising number of approaches that are used in therapy. Everything from Psychodynamic therapy, commonly known as talk therapy, all the way to Cognitive behavioral therapy. One thing you can say for sure is that clients will spend some time discussing how challenging situations, emotions, and behaviors have affected their life.
Despite sounding very similar to talk therapy, psychedelic therapy is very different. Though both share the same goals, such as helping clients work through challenging situations, emotions, and behaviors, the methodologies are very different.
During a psychedelic-assisted therapy session, you will ingest a psychedelic drug in the presence of your chosen professional. The goal is to explore any current challenging situations, emotions, and behaviors in your life to work through them mindfully and productively.
Often this includes issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. One thing you should keep in mind is that psychedelics can bring these issues and fears to the surface. Due to this, it’s a must for you to feel safe and comfortable with your chosen facilitator.
We have a great article discussing the qualities you should look for in a psychedelic therapist, where you’ll find everything you need to choose the perfect psychedelic facilitator. Here is a quick overview of a few things to keep in mind.
The primary goal of your facilitator is to allow you to get the most from your psychedelic journey. They are there to support you, but this is your process of self-actualization, growth, and self-improvement, thus, they should never try to influence the trajectory of the journey.
Everyone is different and will need different levels of support from their facilitator. The main thing you need to look for is that they have a rigorous process of preparation, integration, and in-person ceremonial support and that you feel safe opening up, both during and after the ceremony.
The Role of Set and Setting in Psychedelic Therapy
One of the other significant differences that you will notice when working with a psychedelic therapist or a facilitator is the great importance that’s placed on preparation. The main goal of preparation is to ensure the Set and Setting are just right.
Set, which we can think of as mindset, includes the process of setting an intention, but requires the evaluation of your current mental state. If you’ve just undergone a severely traumatizing experience, it’s not advisable to immediately embark on a psychedelic journey.
Psychedelic experiences are known to amplify pre-existing thoughts and emotions, which may be disruptive to a mind-body system that’s already in the midst of high instability. To gauge your stability, reflect on the recent volatility level of your emotions.
Of course, any mental health diagnosis will come with difficulty regulating emotion. Thus, it’s helpful to think of this in terms of sensitivity. Only you can truly gauge if you’re in too sensitive of an emotional state to experience such cognitive upending.
Reflect on your support system. Is there at least one person in your life who you could openly talk about your emotions with, post-ceremony? This can be a therapist, friend, or family member.
If you and your facilitator have determined your ‘set’ is in the right place, the next step is to set a goal, referring to issues you’d like to work through. Learning more about the psychedelic you have chosen to work with and going over some safety measures are only half of the equation.
The other half is the setting– the physical environment in which you’ll have your psychedelic experience. Psychedelic facilitators will go to great lengths to make the setting as comfortable and inviting as possible.
They may travel to a ceremonial setting of your choosing, such as your home or a private AIRBNB residence. If necessary, they will help rearrange the room you’ve dedicated to the journey– often incorporating soft lighting, familiar/grounding objects to help keep you present, and soothing music to encourage relaxation and inward exploration.
During a psychedelic journey, you become very connected and aware of your surroundings. Although this is very much a part of the magic of psychedelics, it can lead to a challenging experience if not managed correctly.
Where To Find Legal Psychedelic Experiences in The Bay Area 2023
Though psychedelic decriminalization measures are still under development in the Bay Area, the city of Oakland is a perfect refuge. Due to this quark in the laws, many options exist for engaging with psychedelic medicine. The main two will be Ketamine clinics or guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage.
1. Ketamine Clinics
Currently, in the majority of the Bay Area, the only psychedelic therapy that can be prescribed for at-home use or administered in a clinic is ketamine. While ketamine may not be considered a classical psychedelic, such as psilocybin, LSD, or DMT, it’s the only FDA-approved psychedelic-like drug available in medicalized therapeutic settings.
It’s shown excellent efficacy in treating conditions such as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Although this is a great option, a few significant components are often missing: preparation, proper in-ceremony support, and integration.
Due to the common lack of integration practices in ketamine clinics, benefits are often short-lived, and many who undergo ketamine treatment will end up seeking other psychedelic therapy. To learn more, check out our article on the benefits and pitfalls of ketamine therapy.
2. Guided Psychedelic Experiences with Psychedelic Passage
At Psychedelic Passage, we’re dedicated to spreading the message of psychedelic healing and giving everyone an equal opportunity to benefit from these medicines. Every part of our 5-week program is designed for personal transformation and customization to each client’s specific needs.
Not only can you choose from a wide range of psychedelics, but you have complete autonomy over the direction of your journey and the pace of your experience. You can choose to be hosted by one of our host facilitators, or you can choose to have your journey in any Bay Area landscape in a private residence.
Our facilitators will even travel to you, allowing your journey to unfold from the comfort of your own home, meeting you exactly where you are. Whether that means having the ceremony in your own home or using our sliding payment scale so those from all income levels can benefit from high-quality psychedelic healing services.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey in Any Major Bay Area Region
- East Palo Alto
- El Cerrito
- Los Altos
- Los Gatos
- Mountain View
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Mateo
Explore How it Feels to be Connected
Let us help you explore how it feels to connect with yourself and the universe. Whether you decide you’d like to work with MDMA, LSD, or psilocybin, our facilitators are experienced with each and every psychedelic medicine.As research continues to progress and more people flock to psychedelic therapy, the renaissance will surely pick up speed.
Check out our resources page for more information on the life-changing benefits of psychedelic therapy. Book a consultation with any of our qualified psychedelic concierges to get started and become a part of the movement. Have fun, enjoy the journey of self-discovery, and stay safe!