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Journey Prep & Integration Support

Humans have been working with non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) for many thousands of years. We discovered that by altering our normal everyday consciousness, we could enter a space that provides us with new insights, fresh perspectives, and greater connection to our heart center, our true essence, our souls.  It is in this place that we can access deep healing and the dissolution of the story of separation. Sometimes we seek out this state and engage with it intentionally, and sometimes transformational experiences happen as a result of a life event. 

 

I look at NOSC and transformational life experiences as journeys that can be attained and result from many different methods and situations, some of which include: psychedelics and plant medicines, breathwork, ecstatic dance and other movement practices, meditation, childbirth, trauma, near death experiences,  & hypnosis. 

 

The experiences we have in these altered states can be powerful teachers and allies in our personal healing journeys. They also have the power to rock our worlds in ways that may not feel like a blessing or gift. We can often be left not knowing what to do with the insights gained and lingering feelings from the event. Having the proper support around preparing for our journeys (if life permits) and then making sense of what we happened during the trip can help even the most challenging experiences integrate in ways that positively impact our lives. 

Image by Susan Wilkinson

What kinds of experiences benefit from preparation?

Any experience you know you will be having that will take you out of your normal state of consciousness.  Psychedelic and plant medicine journeys, breathwork, childbirth, and medical procedures can all benefit from intentional preparation and support. 

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a powerful framework to use with NOSC and journeys as they can help us to see our "parts" more clearly and perhaps connect with them in ways that brings them the attention, compassion, and ultimately healing and unburdening that is needed to welcome more Self energy into our internal system. This model of psychotherapy views our internal world as made up of many unique subpersonalities or "parts" that have different roles in our system. We also have what is called our Self, the essence of who we truly are. The more Self energy we can bring to our vulnerable and burdened parts, and to the whole system,  the more at peace we feel in the world. I use IFS in all of my preparation and integration work and like to bring in the body/somatics and movement as well. 

In regards to preparation, you may have heard that "set and setting" can make all the difference when it comes to psychedelic/transformational journeys. But what does this mean?

Set refers to our mindset. How do your parts feel about the medicine or upcoming event? Is there a part who is nervous, one who is excited, or one who is scared? How do you feel about possible material that may surface? Are you nourished, well-rested, and in a somewhat stable place in life?

Setting refers to the physical setting where the journey will take place. Will you be at home? A clinic or hospital? Inside or outside? With other people or alone? Is your physical environment serene or cluttered and chaotic? 

These are just some of the aspects of a journey that we would explore during the preparation phase. Prep also includes other elements such as preparing the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional bodies, intention setting for your experience, and setting up proper support for the day of the journey and integration support afterwards. I want to make sure that you are as resourced as possible so that you feel safe and confident going into the experience. 

What about integration? 

Any experience that you had which felt overwhelming (either in a positive or negative way), challenging, life-changing, or transformational. Getting outside support to help process what occurred and any insights or information gained can be invaluable. Integration support also includes assisting you in taking the information into your life in a way that creates positive change and healing. Concrete action steps are defined, accountability is set up, and compassion blankets the process. 

How much preparation and integration does one need around a transformational life experience or journey?

This all depends on what experience you are looking for support around. 

For psychedelic or plant medicine journeys, I recommend at least 2-3 preparation sessions that are an hour in length and at least this much time in integration sessions after the experience. Timing for these things is important as  well. You want to have a spacious feeling around preparation so that it's not rushed. Integration, however, should start as soon after your journey as possible. 

 

For a life experience like childbirth, preparation can begin even before conception and integration may continue long after your birth. I have specialized training in perinatal mental healthcare, and my own experience with recovering from perinatal anxiety, depression, and OCD. 

Other journeys may differ in how much preparation and integration feel necessary and adequate. This is something that we can discuss and decide on together during our Clarity Call. 

*I do not provide or sell psychedelic substances. 

To explore the option of journey support further, click below to schedule a free 30 minute Clarity Call.

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