Doing the work (integration) after a psychedelic training

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Psychedelic

Returning from a psychedelic training can be….daunting and exciting. Spending a week secluded in nature with a like-minded community, walking and journaling and connecting daily, being intentional and mindful, and growing and stretching into psychedelic journeys was magical. It can also feel like quite a lot to process. Coming back to news, cell phones, expectations of family, friends, work, etc can be overwhelming. To return with pieces or parts changed inside myself and figuring out how to live those changes forward into daily reality can be confusing and invigorating.

On the final day of the retreat, I made a list of small things I could change easily, medium changes that would take some preparation, and 1-2 larger changes that I needed to contemplate before taking action. This helped me to narrow down what was realistic for me to accomplish after the retreat. It helped me to slow down and allow the unfolding process for some of the medium or larger changes that may happen. It was good to feel confident with tackling a few small items I could start right away. This helps to build overall confidence in the process moving forward after a big experience.

While some of the details were better kept inside myself to allow for the unfolding or internal processing, I wanted to share with a few close people about the training and my experiences. I felt comforted and valued by their listening and reflections. It let them know how I was feeling (a little raw and vulnerable) so they could better support me. Telling trusted loved ones can also be a way to prepare them for any changes that are coming as well as allow them to hold me accountable for intentions I set moving forward.

So, I have my list. I started a couple of small items and one medium change. It’s unfolding and it feels good. It feels right. Toward the bigger item, I have two sessions with a somatic integration practitioner in the coming weeks to help me with anything that feels unprocessed, confusing, or scary from my plant journeys. Integration with a trained person after a big psychedelic experience is best practice for this work. For example, skills such as therapeutic analysis, somatic work, art therapy, energy work, supportive therapy, etc are excellent supportive tools. Sometimes it is hard to make sense of the intense emotions, thoughts, and overall psychedelic experiences. I’ll also work with my friend who does Reiki because I want to see if the stuck parts have shifted or moved along. Energy work can also help to re-balance anything that is not in alignment.

During psychedelic journeys things move – thoughts, emotions, identities, perceptions. You name it – it can move or shift or change. This can be confusing to say the least. From past experience, I knew I would need support with integration. For me that has been all of these things above. I am so grateful for the preparation work I put into the weeks before the training. I’m so grateful for the big work I did with the plant medicine and the community of people at the training. Now the integration begins to put all the pieces together!

A misty pond in a forest with small wooden structures in the background.

To quote a couple of songwriters –                                                                                                                                                                                            Baby, there ain’t no shortcuts on your way.                                                                                                                                                                              Baby, there ain’t no highways in these parts.                                                                                                                                                                              You know baby, gonna have to drive yourself down every little windy road,                                                                                                                                    if you really wanna get to where you’re going. (Heather Maloney)

You can’t rush your healing                                                                                                                                                                                                  Darkness has its teachings                                                                                                                                                                                                        Love is never leaving                                                                                                                                                                                                                   You can’t rush your healing  (Trevor Hall)

About Cathy Schneider

Cathy Schneider is a therapist in private practice in Avon, Colorado, with over 11 years of experience working with clients who are struggling with trauma, grief, loss, life transitions, and more.