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  • Alainnah Knight

What Can I Expect In A Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy (PSIP) Session?


In a PSIP session, you can expect a unique therapeutic experience that integrates the use of medicine with somatic (body-focused) and relational (interactional) approaches to therapy. Let's break down the process and what to expect in a PSIP session.


The Process of Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy (PSIP)


Preparation

Prior to beginning PSIP sessions (sessions that include medicine), there are many steps of preparation that must take place. This is to ensure that each individual is a good candidate for PSIP and that they have a full understanding of the risks and benefits of the process. Your first preparation session is to discuss your goals, past experiences, concerns and fears you may have, and other questions that arise. Throughout this initial preparation session, your therapist will determine how many more preparation sessions are to be expected prior to beginning PSIP.


What Happens In A Preparation Session?

What happens in a preparation session will ultimately depend on the needs of each individual. However, these sessions are often spent beginning to build coping mechanisms, grounding techniques, and working on building a connection with the mind and body. In these sessions, we also start to integrate the somatic aspect of PSIP without medicine, which allows the body to become more familiar with the process before introducing medicine. This cultivates a foundation of trust, respect, and safety within your system, which is incredibly important when working with medicine.


Substance Administration

Once your therapist and you have determined that you are ready to begin PSIP sessions, you'll receive referrals for doctors or nurse practitioners in your area. They administer under controlled conditions, ensuring careful dosage considerations and adherence to set and setting principles. They will properly assess your needs for medically supported treatment and collaborate with your therapist prior to prescribing any substances.


What To Expect In A Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy (PSIP) Session

On the day of your PSIP session, we require that you arrange transportation from a family member or a friend to and from the office. You are more than welcome to bring any comfort items (blankets, pillows, eye masks, stuffed animal, etc.) with you and we encourage you to wear comfortable clothing. At the beginning of your session, your therapist will check-in with you and how you are feeling prior to beginning the experience. A meditation, body scan, or grounding practice may be offered to help settle the nervous system into the room. Once you are ready, you will self-administer medicine and settle for a few minutes to allow it to take effect.


What Is The Somatic Interactional Part?

As mentioned earlier, your therapist and you will begin working with the somatic interactional piece without medicine. With the groundwork of knowledge that your body has developed through those practices, it can now utilize that information while also accessing the primary consciousness, making non-verbal memories and disassociated memories coming to the forefront and processing them somatically, rather than cognitively. Your therapist will be alongside you in this journey to witness the pain, loneliness, and fear that's been experienced, offering a solution in places the nervous system didn't even know it was possible. Ultimately, deepening the connection to body and the trust in the innate wisdom within you.


If you are interested in witnessing what this experience may look like, there are individuals that have courageously offered to share their PSIP sessions.


The End Of A Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy (PSIP) Session

When the medicine is no longer having an effect, your therapist will begin slowly re-entering you into the space around you through a guided grounding meditation. This allows you to become re-integrated into the space and your experience. Your therapist and you will debrief briefly, namely checking-in on any lingering physical symptoms or thoughts. You will schedule an integration session 24-72 hours within your PSIP session to integrate and make sense of your experiences.


Integration Session

Integration sessions hold SO MUCH importance in this journey. You will schedule an integration session for anywhere between 24-72 hours after your PSIP session. An integration session will be approximately 50 minutes and will support you in processing any insights you may have gained, process memories that have been uncovered, learn how to make sense of this information in your life and relationships, and so much more. The integration is where the work is really happening.


How Many PSIP Sessions?

Each individual is a part of their own unique journey, which means we are unable to say how many PSIP sessions each individual will require! This is something that will be discussed in your initial preparation sessions and continue to be discussed as therapy continues.


Lastly,

It is so important to note that PSIP is a specialized form of therapy that requires thorough screening, preparation, and support. It should only be conducted by trained therapists in legal and ethical settings. If you're considering PSIP, it's crucial to seek out qualified professionals with experience in this modality and to approach it with careful consideration and respect for its potential benefits and risks. It is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before considering participation in psychedelic-assisted therapy. Any individual considering participation in psychedelic-assisted therapy should thoroughly research potential risks and benefits and seek guidance from licensed professionals.


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