How can you, as a practitioner, offer potentially ground-breaking psychedelic-assisted therapy to your clients while being prepared for the unexpected challenges that may come up?

First, consider this scenario.

In the middle of a psychedelic session, your client feels activated and says they want to leave. You both agreed to stay in the therapeutic space for the duration of the session in advance and with informed consent. Outside the space, there are potential dangers but the client is insisting they need to go.

What do you do? 

In order to help your clients achieve profound transformation, you must skillfully navigate the many possible scenarios that can come up like this one. 

Whether you’re a therapist or other healthcare professional, you should understand the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances including how to ethically and legally implement them in their practice.

Today we’re delving into the fascinating realm of psychedelic therapy, how you can step into the role of a psychedelic therapist and we’ll explain what to do in that scenario later in this video.

At the heart of psychedelic-assisted therapy lies an ethical foundation grounded in respect, empathy, and informed consent. This acknowledges the potential for clients to attain profound insights and healing within altered states of consciousness. Given the vulnerability of clients in such states, therapists must prioritize the establishment of trust and creating a safe environment through a strong therapeutic alliance.

An understanding of legal considerations is essential in ensuring ethical and compliant practice for both client safety and the therapist’s well-being. Legal requirements for psychedelic therapy vary across jurisdictions, and as with any therapeutic modality, ongoing training and education are necessary.

To deliver the highest level of care, you may consider enrolling in a specialized training program as psychedelic-assisted therapy is very different from other modalities of care. It can involve a significant ‘unlearning’ of traditional therapy in order for a non-directive therapeutic approach to be adopted.

There are many things to consider when selecting a psychedelic therapy training program some of which should include updated research, ethical guidelines, evolving legalities and exploring complementary therapeutic modalities. Mentorship and interdisciplinary collaboration are also invaluable when navigating the unique demands on psychedelic therapists.

Facilitators and therapists must navigate their own reactions during client psychedelic sessions and subsequent evaluations. Collaboration with mentors and the therapeutic team is essential, emphasizing the therapist’s ongoing personal healing and the ability to manage strong client emotions during these sessions.

In the context of informed consent, clients must fully comprehend the potential risks and benefits of psychedelic therapy. This requires effective communication, addressing client concerns, and documenting agreements in writing, acknowledging that consent is an ongoing conversation that can be withdrawn at any time.

Specialized training equips psychedelic practitioners to respect client autonomy, adapting to evolving preferences and boundaries while ensuring safety before, during, and after sessions.

Now back to the scenario, your client wants to leave the therapeutic space in the middle of the medicine session. What do you do?

You, as a trained facilitator, must skillfully and compassionately ensure the safety of the client by keeping them in a safe space while respecting the source of their desire to leave. One way to navigate this is to encourage them to get curious about what’s coming up for them. Gently invite them to lie down or sit in a position comfortable to them. Encourage them to focus on their breathing and what’s going on in their body. Finally, you may gently reassure them to trust the medicine and their inner healing intelligence.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy holds immense promise for facilitating breakthroughs for your clients. Its success hinges on ethical practice, respect for clients, legal adherence, and a robust educational foundation. By prioritizing trust, your commitment to ethical practice elevates the field and benefits those seeking transformation and healing.

The journey in becoming a psychedelic therapist demands dedication and a commitment to lifelong learning. At ATMA we provide comprehensive guidance and support, from training to real-world practice in our specialized training programs to help you become a confident, skilled psychedelic practitioner. 

ATMA graduates gain access to in-person training within our network of clinics across Canada and earn Continuing Education credits.

Learn more here!

 

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