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The Difficult Experiences

Millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Taking psychedelics can result in the “bad trip” or as I call it overwhelming and difficult experiences, more possible with high doses, including first-time users, and without sufficient intention or setting. Psychedelic harm reduction includes a variation of methods to help prevent and transform difficult experiences while in a psychedelic state.

The so-called "bad trip" is terribly named. We must understand that difficult experiences in psychedelic space are not "bad", and know that they can be transformative for the explorer.

People doing psychedelics either recreational or within a therapeutic setting traditionally are not looking or intending to have a challenging experience. When our experiences turn "bad" or challenging we can encounter emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive turbulence. We need to look at each individual experience with a uniquely personal way, yet with the same consistent compassion. If the experience is intense, only choices I have found to work is by working with it rather than against it. This is the idea of going thru it rather than around it or avoiding it.

Growth can be challenging and painful - and beautiful and easy. Any difficult or powerful psychological experience-- whether do with or without ingesting a psychedelic compound -- can be considered an opportunity for personal evolution.

Things to consider when going into a challenging experience.

  • Align with a sober support person. This person can both be there to "hold space" and offer a sense of reassurance. They can be a witness and support them in many different ways the journeyer needs.

  • Talk Through not down. By allowing the person to process and go through the experience, they will feel the greatest opportunity to be accepted, be able to understand what is going on and connect with themselves.

  • Safety, Safety, Safety. This can mean everything from physical protection to emotional security. Really it's about knowing where you are both in your mindset and your surroundings.

  • Know when to seek a higher level of care. We all need to understand there is a time we need a higher level of professional and emotional support. Call a doctor, reaching out to a care provider is not only ok it should be universally accepted.

Ultimately I want to encourage anyone who has had, or is worried about having a "bad" trip to remember it is an opportunity to heal and transform. Don't lose sight of the experience.

I encourage you to do the proper research and find a psychedelic integration specialist that can support you in the value of working with these experiences.

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Contact Ryan at to schedule an consultation or integration session.


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