In a previous article on psilocybin and psychedelic-assisted therapy in California, we discussed the state’s current efforts for psychedelic reform. Today we’ll be exploring how Orange County residents can legally seek therapeutic psychedelic experiences near them.
As we always share with folks, finding a psychedelic guide is about connecting with someone who has the knowledge and experience to provide adequate support in preparation for, during, and after a psychedelic trip. That’s why we’ll be discussing tangible ways to gauge if a facilitator is right for you.
Later, we’ll dig a little bit deeper into the role of a psychedelic guide/ facilitator. Is it really necessary to have a facilitator present? And perhaps most pressingly, how can Orange County residents find reliable and qualified psychedelic guides in their area? Let’s get right into it.
What Qualifies a Psychedelic Therapist?
Though we’ve dedicated an entire article to discerning the most important qualities in a psychedelic therapist, this occasion surely warrants a brief overview. First we should understand the difference between a psychedelic therapist, facilitator, and guide.
A psychedelic therapist, in the strictest sense of the word, is a licensed therapist who facilitates psychedelic experiences. However, as of the moment, San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz are the only California cities to have decriminalized psychedelics.
As we know from cannabis reform measures, decriminalization is a far cry from legalization. Thus, it’s extremely rare that a licensed therapist will take the legal risk of offering psychedelic services. Here’s where psychedelic facilitators and guides step in.
The terms ‘facilitator’ and ‘guide’ are virtually interchangeable due to the current lack of regulations surrounding psychedelic treatments.
In essence, qualified psychedelic therapists and professional facilitators/ guides should all be performing similar preparation and integration services, while also sitting in on your psychedelic ceremony. Now, what exactly qualifies any of these professionals to facilitate a psychedelic trip?
First and foremost, a psychedelic guide should have a long standing relationship with psychedelics. This means they should always have ample first-hand experience journeying with a variety of psychedelic substances.
After all, what service can a psychedelic guide provide if they’ve never been in the shoes of a journeyer? 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.
The healing philosophy of your psychedelic guide should resonate with your own. To get a clearer understanding of this, you should ask questions about their specialties, employed safety precautions, level of involvement throughout the process, and perhaps what called them to enter this line of work.
Qualified psychedelic guides are able to identify that you are your own healer. 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.
Of course, a qualified psychedelic guide is also someone who has facilitated a good number of ceremonies for other clients. Ask potential guides if they can offer you access to client testimonials in order to get a better gauge on their rapport with clients and on the quality of their services.
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? Does their presence relax and empower you, or is there a vague feeling of incompatibility or distrust?
You may very well be spending some of the most vulnerable hours 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.
Very simply, the services of guides/ facilitators should aid your psychedelic experience. Before the preparation phase, your facilitator should provide you with a health screening to ensure that this is an appropriate treatment option for your medical circumstances.
Once you’re deemed as 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.
A guided psychedelic journey is very different from talk therapy. For example, we have clients who remain silent for almost the entirety of their journey, while others process by verbalizing what’s going on internally. Your guide will adapt to your present needs and meet you exactly where you are.
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.
In essence, a guide services your journey by allowing their harmonious energy to expand throughout the ceremonial container. This allows them to be fully present in the moment.
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 short answer is no, because again, your inner healer is the primary cause for your personal change.
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 Orange County
Right now, two options exist for seeking therapeutic psychedelic experiences in Orange County: Ketamine clinics and guided psychedelic journeys with Psychedelic Passage.
- Ketamine Clinics
Ketamine therapy is an emerging therapy that targets treatment-resistant depression and PTSD. Ketamine has existed in our pharmacopeia as a dissociative anesthetic since the 60’s, in fact, right around the time that LSD was first synthesized.
Though ketamine’s effects do alter consciousness, the drug is not a true psychedelic. Journeyers report observing themselves from a second person perspective. Such an experience allows them to more objectively and empathetically process and analyze the conditions affecting their life currently.
In efforts to be completely transparent, we want to note that nearly 50 percent of the clients that seek out our services are looking to journey with traditional psychedelics because of previous failed ketamine therapy or its short-lasting benefits.
So, if you’re wanting to find a ketamine clinic near you, make certain that all necessary therapeutic support is being provided. Adequate support involves both preparation and integration sessions, and you should be receiving the undivided attention of a psychedelic guide during your ketamine journey.
- Guided Psychedelic Journeys with Psychedelic Passage
At Psychedelic Passage we facilitate therapeutic psychedelic experiences with every psychedelic substance. This means that you have control over the medicine you choose to journey with. Everyone should be able to exercise choice over the trajectory of their healing.
Our 5 week program was created with that exact belief in mind. Every part of our program including preparation, integration, and in-person ceremonial facilitation, is fully tailored to your needs, goals, and yes, even your income. Our income-based pricing helps us adjust program costs to your financial situation.
We prioritize equal access to these ancient medicines. Our BIPOC and low-income fund allows the cost of our program to be subsidized for those that need financial assistance.
You can have your psychedelic experience from the comfort of your own couch and choose from our expansive, pre-vetted network of experienced psychedelic facilitators. We understand that navigating this fresh space of psychedelics can be tricky, so we’ve done the work of qualifying guides for you.
Find Your Next Psychedelic Journey in Any Major Orange County City
- Santa Ana
- Huntington Beach
- Newport Beach
- Costa Mesa
- Mission Viejo
- Lake Forest
- Garden Grove
- Buena Park
- Yorba Linda
Explore How it Feels to be Connected
We hope that this article has offered a clearer understanding on the role of a psychedelic guide/ facilitator and on the therapeutic options available to you in Orange County, California. By now, you may be interested in learning more about our program or perhaps in embarking on your own journey.
If you’d like to get connected with our pre-vetted network of experienced psychedelic facilitators, we empower you to book a consultation with us.
As always, if you have any other psychedelic-related questions still lingering on your mind, head on over to our resources page for more informative articles like this one. Safe and mindful journeying, friends!