Bad trip: Can psychedelic experiences be traumatic?



On this episode of the Psychedelic Therapy Frontiers podcast, Dr. Steve Thayer and Dr. Reid Robison discuss "bad trips". They talk about the difference between bad trips and challenging experiences; the factors during prep, facilitation, and integration that can prevent bad trips or turn them into useful challenging experiences; the prevalence of triggered psychosis and HPPD among psychedelic users; how to pick the right psychedelic therapist/guide/facilitator; and much more.

1:35) Are bad trips possible?
(4:00) What is the difference between a bad trip vs a challenging experience?
(7:00) How preparation affects the psychedelic experience
(9:58) The importance of supportive community
(14:05) What does informed consent in psychedelic-assisted therapy really mean?
(16:00) How prevalent are challenging psychedelic experiences?
(19:18) How the therapist/guide affects the psychedelic experience
(24:28) Be discerning and take it slow
(27:25) Emotional breakthrough, catharsis, and abreaction
(36:32) The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt
(40:22) Understanding the psychodrama that can happen in a psychedelic experience
(46:50) Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) and psychedelic flashbacks
(51:01) Dream interpretation
(55:14) How to integrate and make meaning of a psychedelic experience
(59:23) After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, by Jack Kornfield
(01:01:31) How to navigate a bad trip
(01:10:07) Using "trip stoppers" like benzodiazepines

Learn more about our podcast at
Learn more about psychedelic therapy training opportunities at
Learn more about Numinus at

Follow us on Instagram:

Would you like to be a guest
on our podcast?

Enter your info and we'll reach out to you asap.


Would you like to be a guest on our podcast?

By signing up you consent to the Privacy Policy & Terms of Use.
Call us toll-free 1-833-NUMINUS (686-4687)
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram