What is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy?
The umbrella term Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy refers to a relatively new therapeutic approach that involves the use of psychedelic substances – cannabis, ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, ayahuasca, ibogaine, etc. – in a psychotherapeutic setting to help individuals address mental health issues, emotional difficulties as well as spiritual inquiries.
In psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, the psychedelic substance is used as a tool to facilitate a therapeutic process, with the aim of helping individuals gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts, feelings, relationships and other life experiences.
To date, only ketamine and cannabis can legally be used in New York State (US).
Other psychedelic substances will hopefully soon be available, too, pending on research trials, FDA approval, and legislative processes.
The Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapies I use in my practice include …
In my practice, I combine these psychedelic-assisted therapies with a number of other psychotherapeutic modalities such as psychoanalytic/psychodynamic/Jungian psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, trauma therapy, various somatically oriented (body-based) psychotherapies, CBT, EMDR, IFS, couples therapy, systemic family constellation therapy, creative arts therapies, mindfulness, etc.
For further information on any of these modalities and techniques, please click here!
Psychedelic substances are no magic bullets – as popular myths and hypes and marketing messages would like us to believe.
In and of themselves, psychedelics will not heal or cure anything or anybody.
What is of importance in psychedelic-assisted processes is …
- what happens in the time-window when a person is in an altered state of consciousness, and
- how the individual in the days, weeks and months following a psychedelic experience makes sense of, processes, and integrates all the new insights, thoughts, and emotions gained from the psychedelic journey.
The use of psychedelics in psychotherapy has a long history, dating back to the mid-20th century, but interest in the field has rekindled in recent years as new research has emerged suggesting that these substances may have therapeutic potential for a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.
It's important to note that the use of psychedelics in therapy is still in the early stages of research and is not yet widely accepted as a standard medical treatment. The legal status of psychedelics varies around the world, with some substances being illegal and others being restricted to medical and clinical settings.
What I do ...:
What I do NOT do ...:
- I do NOT administer any illegal psychedelic or psychoactive substances to anyone;
- I do NOT refer you to any person who administers or sells illegal substances;
- I do NOT refer you to underground guides;
- I do NOT act as a “sitter” to psychedelic experiences using illegal substances;
- I do NOT prescribe legally available substaces.
Ketamine lozenges and troches need to be prescribed by a physician or a Psychiatric NP. Cannabis is a legal subtance in NY State.
For further details, please check out the information on these two pages:
Please remember that prescribing physicians work independently from psychotherapists, therefore be prepared for your prescriber's rates and intake/follow-up processes.
Please bring an eye-mask and wear cofortable clothes.
Online (Zoom) sessions are of the same duration as in-person sessions.
Please have an eye-mask, a head-set and a laptop camera ready.
Only in-person sessions are available, no online sessions.
I am an out-of-network practitioner, take out-of-pocket payment, and will provide you with a "super-bill" after each session.
If your insurance plan covers out-of-network services, your insurer will reimburse you to the extent of your out-of-network coverage.
"Psychedelic" vs. "psycholytic" therapy?
The terms "psychedelic" and "psycholytic" refer to different approaches within the field of therapy that involve the use of psychedelic substances.
Psychedelic therapy involves the administration of a high dose of a psychedelic substance, such as ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, or LSD, in a controlled and supportive therapeutic setting. The purpose is to induce a profound altered state of consciousness that can lead to deep introspection, expanded awareness, and transformative - often metaphysical/spiritual - experiences. The therapy typically focuses on addressing psychological, emotional and spiritual issues, facilitating personal growth.
Psycholytic therapy, on the other hand, involves the administration of moderate doses of psychedelic substances on a regular basis over a series of sessions. The aim is to create an extended and gentle exploration of the psyche using psychedelic substances.
The process involves a more gradual and incremental approach to therapy, allowing for increased access to unconscious material as well as for somatic and emotional processing. It focuses on fostering insight, resolving underlying conflicts, processing traumatic memories, releasing somatically stored chronic tension, gradually rewiring neural pathways, and promoting psychological integration.
While both psychedelic therapy and psycholytic therapy involve the use of psychedelics, the key difference lies in the dosage and treatment approach.
Psychedelic therapy typically involves a single high-dose session, often with an intense and cathartic experience. These experiences can have a transformative effect, but are often quite challenging to integrate into a person's personality structure and daily life.
Taking only very high doses and chasing 'spiritual' catharsis often lead to what is referred to as spiritual bypassing: the tendency to use spiritual practices and experiences as a way to avoid or bypass uncomfortable emotions, unresolved psychological issues, unhealed and unintegrated traumas, or the challenges of everyday life.
Psycholytic therapy involves a series of moderate-dose sessions to promote a more gradual exploration, a steady process of somatic release and neural rewiring, and the integration of the emerging psychological material.
"Sitter-model" vs. interactive facilitation?
In psychedelic psychotherapies, the "sitter-model" and "interactive facilitation" are two different approaches to the therapeutic support and guidance provided during a psychedelic session.
It is very helpful to understand the differences when you are looking for a psychedelic therapist/guide/facilitator.
The sitter-model, also known as the "holding space" model, involves a therapist or sitter who provides a supportive presence and ensures the safety and comfort of the individual during the psychedelic experience. The sitter's role is to hold a safe container, maintaining a calm and reassuring presence while allowing the individual to explore their own inner experiences without active intervention or interaction.
Sitters may offer physical support, such as providing blankets or water, and can be available for reassurance if the individual experiences anxiety or distress.
Interactive facilitation involves a therapist or facilitator who actively engages with the individual during the psychedelic experience. This approach allows for more active involvement, guidance, and interaction between the therapist and the individual. The therapist may engage in verbal dialogue, offer gentle prompts or guidance, and facilitate processes that support exploration, introspection, and emotional expression. The interactive facilitator aims to create a collaborative and supportive relationship that helps the individual navigate and make meaning of their experience.
The choice between the sitter-model and interactive facilitation depends on various factors, including the individual's needs, therapeutic goals, and the preferences and training of the therapist. Some individuals may benefit from a more hands-off approach, allowing them to explore their experience independently, while others may benefit from the guidance and support of an interactive facilitator.
It's important to note that both approaches require skilled and trained professionals who are knowledgeable about psychedelic experiences and can create a safe and supportive environment for the individual. The therapist's role in either approach is to ensure the individual's physical and emotional well-being and provide appropriate support and guidance throughout the psychedelic journey.