Online & In-Person Therapy for adults in Colorado

Online & In-Person Therapy for adults in Colorado

Navigating my experiences in a psychedelic training

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Psychedelic

Doing the work ahead of time was a necessary preparation to dive into a week of training with minimal apprehension. It also started to crack me open for the journeys ahead. This allowed me to shake up some stuck internal pieces so they were ready to move. The retreat itself was magical, tender, and full of connection. It was also difficult, confusing, and confrontational. All of these were perfect and fit what I needed. We often receive what we need, not what we ask for.

During the retreat, it helped me to do four things. First, talking through some of my experiences with other journeyers/attendants helped me normalize my thoughts and feelings. It also provided other perspectives so I could see things from different angles. To do this, I shared only what felt comfortable at the time. I didn’t open up about all my experiences since some of them felt too raw.

Three small tan and white mushrooms grow in green grass.

Second, I used art to process and express what was happening. This was beneficial since there was a cacophony of things happening inside of me that needed to be expressed, but I didn’t yet have the words. I took watercolor pencils and an art pad for this purpose. After each journey, I either wrote or used art as a medium…or both. 

Third, journaling was probably the most helpful since I could write down a word and then allow it to settle internally before writing any further. Checking in with myself – does this word fit? – and allowing the space to really sit and be slow in this process was a good experience. I gave myself permission to explore with my words.

Lastly, I walked or stood outside with intention every day, more than once a day. Four out of five days I took a solo hike, and in two of those I took a lot of pictures (another artistic expression that did not require words). Some meals I ate outside, and once I just stood in the soft rain and breathed.

A metal geodesic dome for climbing amidst a sun-filled forest of pine trees and tall tan grass.

I also spent time alone every day as well as in small and large groups. The alone time helped me to process deeply and start to figure out what I would need to do to move some of this forward into my everyday life. Connecting with like-minded guides was immensely gratifying to feel anchored in this work and to learn from what others are doing. Taking a few moments to connect with the group leaders warmly encouraged me to dig deeper and challenged me during the week. A big reminder to eat what your body needs and drink lots of water. This is a deep and intense process if it’s allowed to be, and bodies need fuel.

Ending the retreat was bittersweet. I was so grateful for community and intentional presence!  There was both sadness for ending and excitement for returning to what is now possible. I left with some artwork to help remind me of this space, the people, and the plants/fungi that made it all possible. Mindful of being out of “the real world” for a few days, it felt important to ease back into it. Other than needing gas, I went straight home though did connect with friends and loved ones during the drive. Both felt important as a way to continue the cocoon of the retreat. It felt so good to return home to my own bed!

Now to figure out what to do with everything I’ve learned…

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.