Picture this: you’ve just had your first ketamine session. It went much better than you planned. You felt uncomfortable at first, but after settling into the experience, you entered a dream-like, euphoric state. As soothing music played in your headphones, you felt your mind disconnecting from your body. All the stuck emotions finally began to unravel themselves.
Now you’re waiting for your ride home. Questions swirl in your head as you begin to think back on what you saw and felt during the ketamine experience. You think about the memories that replayed, odd memories you tried not to think about for years.
At this point, you might be wondering, “Now what?” or “How was that experience productive?” You might even find yourself distressed and burdened by the reintroduction of new ideas and feelings that are uncomfortable and difficult to process.
This is where therapeutic integration comes in. “It is not often easy for our rational minds to make sense of a psychedelic experience,” says Hannah Cross, one of our Licensed Clinical Social Workers in Utah.
While the ketamine experience has the power to create lasting change, much of the “transforming” is up to you. Working with a trained therapist, therapeutic integration helps you discover actionable insights that can turn an interesting ketamine experience into a transformational one.
“Integration is how one bridges the experience (often associated with transcendence of time and rational thinking) to life outside of the experience. The psychedelic journey doesn’t actually start or end when the medicine’s psychedelic effects start and end.”
Psychedelic Integration Group
At Numinus, we offer a monthly virtual psychedelic integration group. This group utilizes components of various therapy modalities to help clients turn their psychedelic experiences into meaningful change in their lives.
While group therapy might seem intimidating at first, Hannah explains, “Group therapy can provide a powerful opportunity for individuals to connect with others, even those from different backgrounds.
According to Hannah, “this online community is “a game-changer,” especially, “[during] a time [when] many people have felt quite isolated over the last couple of years.”
Of her recent group participants, Hannah says that some have pursued additional work with an individual therapist, while some have built supportive friendships from their connections in the group. In one case, [a] previous participant decided to integrate his psychedelic experiences by outfitting his van and embarking on a cross-country, solo road trip!”
The group integration sessions follow a similar pattern. After participants introduce themselves, they discuss their intentions and any examples of integration they found useful, Hannah then proposes a discussion based on a topic related to psychedelic integration.
“A discussion...may follow,” Hannah says, “but more often, there is a guided, more experiential process facilitated by the therapist.” The session is then concluded with discussions in small, 2-3 person break out groups.
This digital first approach to group therapy has been a game changer: “All of this can be done through Zoom and I haven’t found the online platform to jeopardize the effectiveness of the group, at all.”
“In fact, a virtual group has allowed individuals who normally wouldn’t get to connect to do so.”