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Therapeutically Recreational or Recreational Therapeutic

Disclaimer - The recreational use of illegal substances such as psychedelics is a fully loaded conversation; furthermore, a subject matter that is on the top of mind in both mainstream culture and therapy offices throughout the world. Using psychedelics potentially carries significant legal and medical dangers. Psychedelics obtained from illegal sources are not always as advertised and may contain other dangerous substances such as opioids. For those who are already experiencing mental health or substance use disorders (SUDs), the risks are greatly increased. Recreational use of psychedelics can also trigger trauma, which is difficult to manage alone.

Psychedelic drugs like ketamine are medically approved and have long been used as anesthetics in higher doses; however, they can temporarily modify consciousness, particularly in mood and cognition. These psychedelics are safer, especially when explored in a therapeutic setting. The purpose of psychedelic integration therapy is to heal from trauma with the help of a licensed and trained mental health professional.

Shameless plug for my book The Psychedelics Integration Handbook – You can find it at this small online shop called Amazon.

And while I am at it double down with a plug of the podcast too.

The last two weeks on my podcast The Psychedelic Psychologist it has been all about recreational use and the therapeutic values that can come from all psychedelic experiences.

All that said… I do respect the idea of exploring psychedelics for recreational or therapeutic uses. You could even call it recreational therapeutic or therapeutically recreational. In recent years – Time flies, fuck let me be honest– over the course of the last decade or so the psychedelic revival has provided ample interest from the public to find out what’s so groovy about this new therapeutic experience. And while I am at it – the truth be told – having the chance to do this legally in a country or state that is legally offering these healing opportunities can be costly. Let me digress and paint you a quick picture, rather provide you a short story.

You get excited to heal a particular part of your life. Check

You look up the latest, greatest resort/ therapeutic location. Check

You look at the price it costs to do this… gulp – double gulp.

*The estimated cost of all-legal, above ground sessions range from $5,000 for a single experience to up to $15,000 for a week experience. And this is not talking about the cost of the future, proposed experiences that will be legal some day.

And enter in a wonderful recreational or highly therapeutic experience with a safe guide.

So what are you saying Mr. Blog writing person? What I am getting at is the access to some of these experiences is often a bit challenging; be it the country your trying to get to, the medicine or compound you want to take, or simply the budget you are working with.

Now that I have fulfilled my desire for random tangents and provided you generous space to both wonder what the fuck you are still reading this? And deliver you more ample space to over process the shit out of something I didn’t even provide a question for.

I would like to offer you a short and sweet explanation of recreational and therapeutic experiences. And describe the two with the potential, possibility to consider the differences, and similarities of a recreational or therapeutic psychedelic experience. Then bring them together as if two rivers merging like forces of nature… cue movie trailer man’s voice. No seriously there is a ton of over lays with recreational and therapeutic psychedelic use. So drumroll…

That is why after this time stamp blog post I will be trademarking ™ or registering ®, I am really not yet sure or no fucking copyrighting © RECREATIONAL THERAPY ™ ® © and or THERAPUETICALLY RECREATIONAL ™®©

The recreational experience

· Can be more spontaneous in the nature regarding the when and how “set and setting”.

· Find yourself in experiences that are influenced by the “outside” world, rather than the “inside” processing of a traditional therapy experience.

· In the experience you have more of a chance to be “out in the world”, with people and variables - be it a festival, walk in nature or simply sun tanning in your back yard and come across your neighbor high as fuck.

· The chance of having highly moving, and transformational experiences to happen is “just” as great as a “classical” therapy session.

· In a recreational experience you may find the ease of connecting with other people and be open to touch, connection and exchanging with others.

The therapeutic session

· Traditionally set up in advance or scheduled with a provider or underground guide.

· Explores a specific theme, healing desire, or “outcome”, the intention.

· A variety of specific protocols, ie. Music, blindfold, and six therapists, a doctor, large over priced office and opportunity for all the healing one can have, or a retreat in another country to work with a Shaman or other healers.

· Can be done in intentional groups or individual work.

Where recreational and therapy meet

· The hope to feel, get and be a better human being.

· Challenge the person’s thinking, one’s future plans, and the meaning of life.

· Connect to a higher vibration or way of living.

· Potential to change one’s life in a signal experience.

No matter if you are tripping face at a festival and find god or you’ve been a lucky soul and have the opportunity at a “traditional” therapeutic experience. I truly believe either way, with the right intention, proper “set and setting” and your faith that working with these medicines is a long journey and never a destination will get you… Just what you need not what you want.

Dr. Ryan Westrum is an internationally recognized psychedelic integration specialist. He works with all people, exploring all the things. Please reach out to schedule a consultation at


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