If you Choose to Use Psychedelic Medicines Outside of the Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy That I Offer
At this time, Ketamine is the only medicine that I can support through collaboration with a medical doctor and in line with my training to do so. Of course there is much research on the benefits of other psychedelic medicines in the healing of psychological disorders and distress and it is your decision whether you want to engage in their use outside of our sessions. Because I am trained and certified in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, I am able to answer questions regarding their use and to support in the preparation and integration of the experience. Because other medicines, at this time, are not safely regulated, it is of utmost importance to take steps to ensure safety, including being knowledgeable about the effects and dosage, and utilizing testing kits to screen for harmful contaminants. I am trained in this process and can share my knowledge with you, but I cannot procure illegal medicines for you nor assure you of purity or potency, because of legal limitations.
If you have decided to engage in a psychedelic journey other than the Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy that I offer, I can support you in how to prepare so that there is more likelihood of benefit and less likelihood of harm. I will let you know if I have concern about your particular situation or feel that any kind of use could be detrimental for you, given where you are at or what you are hoping to have help with. We can have sessions to support you in clarifying your intentions and ways of responding to the experience that can protect psychological integrity and maximize the potential of the experience moving you further along your healing path.
Whether you have had a recent or past psychedelic journey, I can support you in processing what happened and how it has impacted your psychological growth. If you had a difficult journey, we can work together to make sense of what happened and even to mitigate the negative effects that might be residual, challenging and even interfering with your life. Our work with these disturbing experiences can lead to repair that opens up room for healing and growth. What originally felt harmful, due to not having appropriate, needed support can be transformed into an opportunity for greater self-awareness, insight and openness to life.
Harm Reduction as a way to increase the potential of healing
Harm reduction is an approach to substance use that respects the choice of the individual. It is a way to offer support for the user to explore if it is beneficial or detrimental for their health and well-being. At core it is a belief in the autonomy and sovereignty of everyone’s relationship to their own body and mind. It is also the recognition that we all use substances, including socially acceptable ones like caffeine or sugar and all substances can be used in a healthy or unhealthy way, leading to greater or lesser functioning and fulfillment of life. The harm-reduction approach strives to reduce the negative effects of substance use and to help individuals to make choices regarding their use that align with their life values and accompanying goals, responsibilities, relational and professional engagement.
There is a great deal of research supporting the psychological benefits of therapeutically supported psychedelic medicines. It is just a matter of time before medicines such as MDMA and Psilocybin become approved for use with various psychological disorders and challenges. MDMA is in its final phase of research and has passed with flying colors through the FDA’s scrutiny of its benefits and safety. For MDMA and Psilocybin it continues to be found that approximately 2/3 of people find significant improvement of their symptoms, many no longer meeting criteria for disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Many people are eager to find relief from suffering and yet the research pathway is slow (MDMA is likely a couple years away from legal use, Psilocybin probably a couple more years than that). As a clinician it is important to me to be available to help people who make the choice to use these medicines on their own, to use them safely, with greater potential for benefits and lesser likelihood of negative effects or harm. I am trained in a long-standing approach called “Harm Reduction” and feel it is an ethical calling to extend my knowledge and skills to clients who have decided that this is the right path for them, despite legal limitations, so that they may have a safe and supportive experience. In rare cases I may be willing to be therapeutically present in a harm-reduction capacity, but only if it is the best option for you given your circumstances and the stability of our relationship. This is not something I can offer to new clients without a history of our collaboration being robust enough to warrant this kind of therapeutic step. Ultimately my decision in how and what I can support comes down to my assessment of how I can be of best support to your safety and well-being.