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reddit: We Answered Your Most Asked Psychedelic Therapy Questions

Two weeks ago, on May 10th, 2023, we hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit’s r/IAmA. In the original post, we asked Reddit to share any questions, comments, and concerns they had, related to psychedelic healing, our services, or about the industry as a whole.

Of course, we pledged to respond with complete transparency and with the best of our knowledge. Now, 70 comments later, we’re bringing you a compilation of Reddit’s psychedelic-related questions, with expanded responses and additional information/ resources!

As we stated in the original post, we want everyone’s voice to have a say in the narrative that surrounds psychedelic healing in the U.S. Our aim is to open the floor for a true two-way conversation between stakeholders in the industry and all people personally involved in the psychedelic space. 

In the last 180 days, we’ve reached over 1 million site visits–which not only tells us that our service is helpful, but also that there’s a large audience of voices that we’re not fully connecting with. 

This is why, from now on, we will be using Reddit as a platform to communicate with You–the human on the other side of this screen. From Thursday, May 26th, 2023 at 4:30pm EST to Saturday, May 28th at 4:30pm EST, we’ll be hosting another conversation on r/psychonaut, about psychedelics in relation to PTSD, anxiety, and depression

All comments left on our May 26th post will be answered on Reddit and in an upcoming article–so make sure to submit your questions, stories, comments, or concerns during that time! If you’d like to join in and stay up-to-date on the conversation, follow us on Reddit at u/psychedelicpassage. Now, let’s answer your Reddit-submitted questions about all-things-psychedelic.

What Is the Process of Becoming a Psychedelic Trip Guide?

“What is the process of becoming a trip guide? I have been wanting to do this for a long time now but wasn’t sure how to go about it. 

I have a fair amount of experience with multiple different psychedelics and experience guiding. I can’t imagine a better job for myself. TIA!” -Reddit User

Embarking on the path of becoming a psychedelic guide is an exciting and transformative journey, brimming with opportunities for personal growth, profound connection, and the potential to positively impact the lives of others.

It’s a path that requires dedication, compassion, and a deep understanding of the psychedelic experience. While the process may vary depending on individual circumstances and regional regulations, there are many avenues you can explore to become a psychedelic guide.

Understanding The Tracks

Before delving into the specific steps, it’s important to discern the type of trip guiding you wish to pursue. Psychedelic care encompasses diverse approaches, such as the clinical model, international retreats, state-sanctioned programs, personal practices, and underground facilitation. 

  1. Clinical Model: The clinical model involves working within a medical context, typically in collaboration with licensed therapists, researchers, and healthcare professionals. 

To become involved in clinical research, formal education in psychology, counseling, or related fields, are typically required.

  1. International Retreats: Some individuals choose to become trip guides by participating in or apprenticing at international retreat centers. These centers often operate in countries where psychedelic practices are legally permitted or in decriminalized environments. 

Many retreat centers have their own rigorous training programs, combining experiential learning, theoretical knowledge, and supervised practice. This path often involves extensive travel, cultural immersion, and exposure to diverse traditions and approaches.

  1. State Sanctioned Models: In certain regions, like Oregon and Colorado, there are state-sanctioned models that provide a structured framework for training and certification. 

These programs often involve a combination of academic coursework, practical experience, and adherence to ethical guidelines, though requirements will vary state-by-state. 

For example, while Colorado Proposition 122 outlines a tiered facilitator training program, Oregon’s Measure 109 places all facilitators on the same level, regardless of formal education or prior experience.

  1. Underground Facilitation & Personal Practices: It’s crucial to address the underground facilitation path with utmost transparency. Engaging in psychedelic experiences outside of legal frameworks is associated with inherent risks. 

However, ‘underground’ is where many professional facilitators ultimately begin their journey. As they gain more experience and as they connect with more professionals in the field, facilitators begin advertising their personal practices more publicly.

Training and Education

Once you’ve determined the track that resonates with you, the next step is to pursue the necessary training and education. While formal programs specifically tailored for psychedelic trip guiding are still emerging, there are various resources and opportunities available to build the skills and knowledge required for this role. These may include:

  1. Academic Courses: Look for universities or educational institutions offering programs in psychedelic studies, psychology, counseling, or related fields. These courses can provide a solid foundation, specifically for those seeking a more clinical approach to psychedelic healing.
  2. Workshops and Retreats: Participating in workshops, retreats, and conferences focused on psychedelic research and therapy can offer valuable insights, networking opportunities, and hands-on experiences. These events often feature renowned experts in the field, providing a wealth of knowledge and guidance.
  3. Self-Study and Research: Engage in extensive self-study through your own psychedelic experiences and by exploring books, articles, podcasts, and documentaries on psychedelics, therapeutic practices, and related subjects. 

This continuous learning process will deepen your understanding and expand your perspectives.

  1. Mentoring and Supervision: Seek out experienced trip guides or practitioners in your chosen field who are willing to mentor and supervise your progress. Learning directly from those with practical experience can be invaluable in refining your skills and developing your unique approach.

What Type of Psychedelics Do We Have Experience With? 

“What type of psychedelics do you have experience guiding others in? If you were to pick one, what would be your choice for the best experience?” -Reddit User

Our network of guides has experience working with all types of psychedelics, including MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and DMT. Most often, clients choose to work with psilocybin. This is a typical preference because mushrooms tend to be much more easily accessible. 

Clients are also more inclined to work with psilocybin because it’s a natural product, meaning there’s very little risk of adulteration. That, coupled with more mainstream media attention onto psilocybin, is why clients most frequently work with mushrooms.

We wouldn’t say there’s a top pick in terms of a drug that’ll elicit the “best” experience. We think that all psychedelics can contribute something unique to our human experience and that your choice should depend on your specific intentions for healing and past experiences with psychedelics.

Generally though, because of the predictability around determining dosage and length of peak experience, psilocybin mushrooms tend to be the most ‘beginner friendly’ and the easiest to assess potential medical contraindications with. 

If you’d like more info, check out our guide on How to Choose The Right Psychedelic Substance. We also recorded a podcast episode with Dr. Giordano that explores the nuances of how to choose the right psychedelic substance for you.

How Do Our Clients Actually Get The Psychedelic Substances? 

“How do your clients actually get the substances? I know they are legal in some places but not everywhere.” -Reddit User

When it comes to sourcing psychedelic substances for therapeutic use, it’s essential to prioritize safety, legality, and responsible practices. While the legal landscape surrounding psychedelics varies from region to region, clients generally source from four different categories:

Sourcing Options:

  1. Personal Connections. Many individuals initially acquire psychedelics through personal connections, such as friends or family members. These connections may have access to reliable sources or may be experienced cultivators themselves.
  2. Mushroom Cultivation Kits. Growing one’s own psychedelic mushrooms has become increasingly popular, thanks to the availability of mushroom cultivation kits. These kits provide the tools and resources to cultivate one’s own medicine in a controlled environment. 

Though spores are legal in most states, it’s important to research local regulations regarding the cultivation of psychedelic mushrooms to ensure compliance with the law.

  1. Online Microdose Retailers. In some regions, particularly in the United States, there are online retailers that specialize in providing microdose amounts of psychedelics

These retailers operate within legal frameworks, such as operating in jurisdictions where certain substances are decriminalized or permitted for specific purposes. 

  1. Local Stores, Churches, & Delivery Services. Decriminalized areas, such as Washington, D.C., Ann Arbor, and Oakland have local establishments, including stores, churches, or delivery services, that offer psychedelic substances. 

These entities often operate within the boundaries of local decriminalization laws and regulations. The availability and legality of such establishments may vary, so once again, it’s essential to familiarize oneself with local laws and regulations.

Safety and Harm Reduction

Regardless of the sourcing method chosen, ensuring the safety and integrity of the substances is paramount. To mitigate potential risks, it is recommended to employ harm reduction practices, such as:

Substance Testing

To verify the composition and potency of psychedelic substances, clients are encouraged to use testing methods like Qtests or reagent kits. These tests can help confirm the presence of desired substances and detect any adulterants or contaminants, promoting safer and more informed consumption.

Sourcing Guide and Consultation

Facilitators in our pre-vetted network provide clients with comprehensive harm reduction resources, including a Sourcing Guide. This guide educates individuals on safe sourcing practices and emphasizes the importance of obtaining substances legally and responsibly. 

For further assistance in addressing any concerns or questions related to sourcing, book a consultation to speak with one of our knowledgeable psychedelic concierges, today. 

Do Guided Psychedelic Experiences Teach You How to Trip Alone? 

“Hi. I have grown my own medicine but have never used it due to a myriad of reasons. I have come across your website in the past when looking for help getting started. I haven’t made the leap as far as signing up yet. 

My question is this… for those naive to the experience and want to use it for personal betterment, is it a process one can get familiar with and use on their own in the future? 

If I pay for a guided (not inexpensive) experience, will the knowledge and experience gained facilitate using the medicine without a paid guide in the future? Thanks for the AMA” –Reddit User

Embarking on a psychedelic journey for personal betterment is a courageous and transformative decision. While guided experiences offer valuable support and guidance, many wonder if the knowledge and experience gained during these sessions can empower them to navigate future journeys independently. 

So let’s discuss the process of transitioning from guided experiences to self-guided exploration, acknowledging that individual circumstances and needs play a crucial role in determining the feasibility of this transition.

Understanding the Personal Journey

Each individual’s psychedelic journey is unique and influenced by personal factors, such as past experiences, mental and emotional state, and individual goals. 

It’s important to recognize that navigating altered states of consciousness requires an understanding of one’s own limitations, vulnerabilities, and intentions. This self-awareness forms the foundation for determining the suitability of self-guided experiences.

Building Knowledge & Confidence Through Guided Experiences

Engaging in guided experiences offers numerous benefits, particularly for those who are new to the psychedelic realm or seek personal betterment. Working with an experienced guide provides a supportive container, ensuring physical and emotional safety during the journey. 

These facilitators offer valuable insights, guidance, and tools to help individuals navigate the depths of their consciousness. Additionally, our program offers preparation materials, such as PDFs and video workshops, that arm participants with the necessary frameworks and tools to navigate altered states of consciousness effectively.

Throughout guided experiences, clients gain a deeper understanding of the therapeutic psychedelic process, learn valuable coping mechanisms, and develop a greater sense of self-awareness. The knowledge and experience acquired during these guided sessions serve as a solid foundation for future exploration.

The Transition to Self-Guided Exploration

At the end of the day, it’s about ensuring you have the support you need to feel comfortable taking a plunge into the unknown. We’ve seen some clients explore on their own after their first ceremony and others come back to continue work with their facilitator.

While some individuals may feel ready to embark on self-guided journeys after their initial guided experiences, one should carefully assess personal readiness, emotional stability, and the nature of one’s intentions. Factors to consider when contemplating self-guided exploration include:

  1. Emotional Stability and Trauma: Individuals with unresolved trauma or significant emotional challenges may require continued support from a guide during their journeys. 

High-dose experiences, in particular, have the potential to evoke intense emotions and may necessitate the presence of a trained professional. It’s crucial to prioritize emotional well-being and seek professional guidance when needed.

  1. Personal Resilience and Experience: Individuals who consider themselves well and have established a foundation of personal growth and self-awareness may be more suited for self-guided exploration. 

This group may possess the necessary tools, coping mechanisms, and internal resources to navigate the psychedelic experience independently. However, ongoing self-reflection and personal assessment are essential to ensure readiness and safety.

Our Stance on Facilitator Abuse & How Our Network Addresses it

“Why does a community of guides/practitioners that are supposedly enlightened have a huge problem with understanding appropriate boundaries between patient & guide? 

The amount of reports of physical touching, consensual sex, and of course sexual assault is way too high for a practice that is supposed to be therapeutic.” –Reddit User

You are absolutely right that practitioner abuse is a serious issue and, unfortunately, every line of service has a shadow side–even psychedelics. We even hear stories of therapists and psychiatrists engaging in sexual relationships with their clients or otherwise behaving unethically. 

One part of the issue is that psychedelic-related services have been unregulated for many decades, primarily offered through illegal “underground” services. There was also no regulating body to monitor facilitator practices.

Due to the potential legal risk of psychedelics, privacy was at the highest priority in the underground landscape; sometimes more so than the values of transparent practices or systems of advocacy for abused individuals. 

In the past, this not only made it extremely difficult for individuals to report instances of facilitator abuse in an effective way, but also made it difficult to identify abusers and bad actors in the space. What’s crazy is that you hear about this type of abuse being perpetrated even in the MAPS trials.

Hopefully as psychedelic-related services become more mainstream and available, there will be commonly agreed upon ethics and standards of practice (a code of conduct) as well as more transparent systems of advocacy and support which will hopefully not only minimize instances of abuse, but weed out bad service providers. 

Even as state licensure becomes available in legal markets like Oregon and Colorado, the training requirements are minimal and lack any sort of a human component.

Meaning the state’s regulating bodies aren’t screening potential facilitators for psychological issues, alignment of morals, or even a basic check of human reasonableness like an interview.

Another big factor here is the facilitator–client power dynamics at play. Often the clients seeking this type of work are suffering from mental/emotional illness meaning they are already in a vulnerable place and then you add in a psychedelic medicine that further increases vulnerability. 

That, coupled with a facilitator who’s “holier than thou” creates an environment that is ripe for facilitator abuse. This is why it’s so important to vet your facilitator before engaging them for services. 

Interestingly enough, this is one of the reasons why our facilitator network is structured like it is so that Psychedelic Passage serves as an independent body that can moderate the network of facilitators who all have their own private practice. 

So, in addition to vetting facilitators to gain admittance into the network, we’re also tracking their performance in real time to ensure that our internal code of conduct and ethical standards are being upheld. Although we can’t guarantee outcomes, we can ensure that any facilitator that fails to uphold those standards will be dropped from the network.

How Do In-Network Facilitators Deal With Bad Trips? 

“How do you deal with the possibility of bad trips? I guess with mushrooms it’s possible to end it with sweets, is this something you’d advise?” –Reddit User

The potential for a “bad trip” is an inevitable part of moving forward with any sort of psychedelic use. From our perspective, it’s important to separate out a “bad trip” from an adverse experience. 

A ‘bad trip’ is typically defined as a challenging or difficult experience while being under the influence of a hallucinatory substance such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, or even cannabis. 

Alternatively, an adverse experience is a truly traumatic event while under the influence of psychedelics i.e. facilitator abuse, neglect, sexual assault, violence, etc. As you can see, there is a clear distinction between the two.

That said, challenging or uncomfortable psychedelic experiences are often an integral part of the healing process. It’s safe to assume that any repressed or suppressed thoughts, emotions, or trauma can resurface during a therapeutic session. 

Hence the saying, “the only way to heal it is to feel it”, which we find to be especially true in these settings. The best way to mitigate the chances of a bad trip is to adequately prepare for the upcoming psychedelic experience. 

That starts by reframing what a bad trip is: “good” and “bad” are arbitrary labels we assign to our experiences–and generally, people use “bad” to describe discomfort or pain. From there, we arm the journeyer with a series of tools, techniques, and frameworks to use when navigating altered states of consciousness. 

So if they do find themselves at a challenging inflection point during the journey, they have the resources to help themselves work through it, and of course, the facilitator is there to help as well. 

Are Our Psychedelic Services Legal? What Legal Protections Are Offered?

“I’m interested in the legality around Psychedelic Passage. I’m aware of your disclaimer “you provide your own medicine” but does that then make it legal to sit with clients in all 50 US states? 

If this is the case, I’m curious why others don’t seem to emulate your model. Do you often get harassed by the authorities?” –Reddit User

“Given that psychedelics are federally illegal, how is this not just facilitating a drug transaction? What legal protections are provided to either end of this?”  –Reddit User

Yes, our services are legal. No drugs are transacted. We rely on a bring your own medicine (BYOM) model in order to operate legally, transparently and above ground. However, at the end of the day, this is totally uncharted territory and there’s little to no precedent set with how courts would handle a case where something goes wrong. 

Couple that with the fact that facilitators can’t get professional liability insurance and you have a situation that’s full of risk as a facilitator–even if you aren’t breaking the law. Furthermore, there’s many facilitators who’d prefer to work underground to maintain anonymity. 

We’d also add that there’s not many people who have the level of expertise and/or desire to make this their full-time work especially in southern states for instance. The work is risky, and tends to be incredibly draining energetically. And no, we’ve never been harassed by the authorities.

In terms of legal protections, there are very few in the psychedelic space given that no legal precedent exists. All clients sign a harm reduction agreement with their facilitator that dictates the terms of their engagement.

We should be clear that anyone possessing a schedule 1 substance is taking a risk; however, that risk diminishes with each state that decriminalizes psychedelics, since most drug charges occur at the state level (not federal). 

States like Oregon now have state-sanctioned treatment programs coupled with decriminalization, which effectively means law enforcement isn’t concerned with personal use.

The Size of Our Facilitator Network & Our Level of Experience

“A few questions regarding your network of facilitators: How many do you have? How experienced were they when they started with you? 

On average how many trips have they sat for? Do they work full time for you or still have their own side practices?” –Reddit User

We have 21 facilitators located around the country. All of them had a minimum of 2 years of professional facilitation experience and/or 20+ journeys facilitated. The network has sat for over 750 people since inception in 2019. 

Some facilitators have sat for over 200 journeys. All of the facilitators in our network have their own private practice. Some do the work full time and for others, it’s part time.

How Do We Vet Our Network of Facilitators?

“How does a person become part of this network? What qualifications do they have to have? Can anyone become one? How much experience is needed in whatever qualifications you set?”–Reddit User

In order to become a part of our facilitator network, facilitators must:

  • Must complete a facilitator training program or apprenticeship 
  • Must pass a criminal background check 
  • Must have personal experience journeying with psychedelics themselves 
  • Must complete a series of interviews to screen out potential psychological issues 
  • Must have 2+ years professional experience or a minimum of 20+ ceremonies facilitated 
  • Must be actively engaged in their own healing process (i.e. therapy, coaching, etc.) 
  • Must complete an application to verify their standard operating procedures 
  • Must submit two letters of recommendation from professional colleagues 
  • Must submit two client references that we independently verify 
  • Must commit to the North Star Ethical Pledge 
  • Must commit to being independently reviewed by clients to ensure standards are upheld 
  • Must agree to leave the network if service standards aren’t upheld

In general, the network consists of professional facilitators with a variety of backgrounds such as:

  • PhDs in Psychology 
  • Psychotherapists 
  • Retreat facilitators 
  • Rehabilitation counselors 
  • Doctors of Acupuncture 
  • Certified psychospiritual coaches

How Much Does a Guided Trip Cost? Is There Financial Assistance?

“Is there any financial assistance for people that are disabled and living below the poverty line? Many of us don’t need to be crippled by our trauma.” –Reddit User

All of the facilitators in our network operate on a tiered pricing structure with the intention of making psychedelic services available to people across all different backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. It’s also worth noting that financial assistance is available to those that qualify.

Email us to learn more about your options for financial assistance. In addition to discounts on programs, we also have past clients who’ve elected to pay it forward by sponsoring the cost of services for those who are less fortunate. We do our best to increase accessibility and we encourage you to reach out if finances are what’s preventing you from moving forward.

Do Psychedelics Help Us Peek Beyond a Veil of Physics?

“Do you personally think psychedelics peek beyond a veil of physics we are yet to understand or is that just a “dysfunction” of the human mind under the influence?” –Reddit User

Response from our co-founder: Personally, yes. I believe psychedelics confirm the basic principles of quantum physics. Although I acknowledge that there are multiple ways to interpret what’s happening while under the influence of a psychedelic substance. 

For me, I’ve found the spiritual framework to be especially helpful when integrating altered states of consciousness. However, as you might imagine, not all clients are open to that way of thinking, and so facilitators often tailor the frameworks and word choice they use based on the clients.

Exploring ‘Thought Loops’ & Grounding Techniques

“What causes people to get stuck and loops and how do you get them out (or should you)? Can you share any grounding techniques (under the influence of not)?” –Reddit User

Within the realm of psychedelics, it’s not uncommon for individuals to experience loops, where repetitive thought patterns or sensations persist, potentially causing discomfort or a sense of being stuck. 

Understanding the nature of these loops and exploring techniques to navigate them can enhance the safety and transformative potential of the psychedelic experience. 

Unraveling the Nature of Thought Loops

While the precise causes of psychedelic loops remain elusive, they are a common occurrence during psychedelic experiences. Loops can manifest as recurring thoughts, feelings, or sensory perceptions, seemingly trapping individuals in repetitive patterns. 

Rather than viewing loops as negative or problematic, it can be helpful to understand them as a natural part of the psychedelic journey—an opportunity for profound processing and integration, even if it occurs on a subconscious level.

The Role of the Facilitator

As facilitators, it’s essential to approach loops with compassion, understanding, and non-judgment. Our primary role is to hold space for individuals, allowing them to navigate their own unique experiences. 

Instead of trying to control or force individuals out of loops, our network of facilitators encourage them to complete their process, trusting in the innate wisdom of the journey itself. However, facilitators remain attentive to the well-being and safety of participants, intervening if loops become overwhelming or distressing.

Grounding Techniques for Nurturing Stability

Grounding techniques serve as valuable tools to help individuals anchor themselves, find stability, and shift their focus away from looping thought patterns. Here are some techniques that can be effective:

  • Physical Objects. Holding a physical object, such as a stone, stick, or hand, can provide a tangible anchor, grounding individuals in the present moment and offering a sense of stability and connection.
  • Conscious Breathing. Engaging in conscious and intentional breathwork can have a calming effect, allowing individuals to center themselves, regulate their emotions, and find a sense of balance amidst the intensity of the psychedelic experience.
  • Altering Audio Inputs. Changing or removing audio inputs, such as switching to soothing music, silence, or nature sounds, can help shift the focus and redirect attention away from looping thought patterns.
  • Changing the Environment. Changing the physical environment, such as moving to a different room, going outside, or adjusting lighting conditions, can create a fresh perspective and break the cycle of repetitive thoughts.
  • Weighted Blanket. Using a weighted blanket can provide a comforting and grounding sensation, helping individuals feel more secure and connected to their bodies.
  • Hydration and Nourishment. Taking a drink of water or consuming nourishing food can serve as a physical anchor, promoting a sense of grounding and supporting the body during the psychedelic experience.
  • Movement. Engaging in gentle movement, such as stretching, dancing, or walking, helps individuals shift their focus from the mind to the body. This embodiment can provide a sense of presence and help alleviate looping thought patterns.
  • Aromatherapy. Smelling essential oils, such as lavender or grounding scents like cedarwood or patchouli, can help evoke a sense of calm, relaxation, and grounding.

Talk to a Psychedelic Professional

We hope this compilation of Reddit questions and expanded responses has provided valuable insights into the world of psychedelic healing and exploration. We are committed to fostering an open and inclusive conversation, giving voice to all interested parties in the psychedelic space.

To explore your personal questions and options for psychedelic healing, we invite you to book a consultation with our concierge team. Our dedicated team members are here to provide guidance, answer questions, and connect you with a facilitator near you who aligns with your needs and goals.

Additionally, we encourage you to join us on Reddit at u/psychedelicpassage, where we host conversations, share resources, and respond to your inquiries. Stay up-to-date with the latest discussions, upcoming AMAs, and insightful articles by following us on Reddit.

Remember, knowledge is key to navigating the psychedelic realm safely and responsibly. Explore our resources page for more articles and information that can deepen your understanding of psychedelics and their potential for healing and growth. 

We appreciate your participation and look forward to continuing this meaningful dialogue with you. As always, safe and mindful journeying, fellow psychonauts!

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.


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