Psychotherapy + Psychedelics for Faster and Deeper Healing

Photo by David Doobinin

Every emotion-based disorder includes difficulty processing feelings. 

The cycle goes like this: you have a challenging emotion, it either overwhelms or scares you, and you push it down. 

If you’re engaging in this process, you may or may not be aware of it because it often plays out unconsciously.

When we do this cycle starting from a young age, and emotions aren’t expressed, the parts of ourselves that hold these feelings get split off and put away. But they aren’t gone! They’re just buried deep inside. And then we build up all sorts of armor to protect these parts of ourself from being hurt again. 

This amazing system that our psyche developed to protect us when we were young, when we didn’t have the ability to change our situation, saved us!

But over time, this process leads to dis-integration. And when we are dis-integrated, we are unhealthy.

This repeated cycle of pushing down feelings and building up armor leads to anxiety, depression, aggression, relationship problems, and even physical illness. 

And then we adopt all sorts of amazing coping mechanisms both to keep our emotions down, and to distract ourselves from the pain this emotional repression is causing—We use food, alcohol, drugs, self-harm, shopping, sex, video gaming, gambling, work, and many other strategies I’ve likely left out. Anything to possibly distract us!

When a person comes into therapy, it’s often after years of engaging in this repeated cycle of protecting the parts of themself that were once hurt, pushing down emotions, and distracting themself. 

Because many of us have not learned to be help-seekers, we often don’t get support until things have gotten really bad, we’re suffering so much, and our copings strategies just aren’t working anymore so there doesn’t feel like another option. 

There are so many effective ways that we as therapists can help.

And yet sometimes, people have had to protect themselves so much in order to survive, and have become so dis-integrated in the process, it takes a very long time, a lot of repetition, and a lot of care, to come to a place of greater integration and health. For example, emotion-based disorders such as anorexia or complex post traumatic stress disorder can take up to 10 years or longer to heal. This is not acceptable.

In come psychedelics.

The signing of the controlled substances act in 1970, and declaration of the “war on drugs” in 1971 meant that research into the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics were inhibited for decades. As a result, many people did not have access to the benefits of the therapeutic use of psychedelics in the service of healing.  However, the tide is turning. Psilocybin is now legal in Oregan. Australia became the first country to approve the prescribing of MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. In the US, MDMA is being fast tracked for FDA approval as early as next year. Ketamine, an anesthetic that has been used in the US since 1960, has been prescribed for off-label use for treating treatment resistant depression since 2010. And established and emerging research and practice shows that ketamine is effective in the treatment of depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other emotion-based disorders. 

I’ve been treating PTSD and eating disorders for 20 years. I’ve witnessed the loss of life that results in being trapped in these deeply entrenched struggles. As a pragmatist committed to employing effective and efficient treatment, I’ve developed a deep reverence for the power of psychedelics as a tool to enhance the therapeutic process. The therapeutic use of psychedelics target and transform these emotion processing difficulties. Even when people have been trapped in patterns for decades!

I have seen this firsthand, and the scientific data on the therapeutic use of psychedelics is clear: the healing is faster and deeper.

This can mean the difference of a person who is stuck in cycles of treatment after treatment without movement, and a person who can engage in meaningful relationships and work, and live an overall full and vibrant life. 

Learn more about Ketamine Assisted Therapy. Contact us here if you would like to schedule a call to start your healing journey.

DISCLAIMER: PSYCHEDELIC SUBSTANCES ARE POWERFUL AND HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE SEVERE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM. THEY MAY WORSEN MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL DISORDERS, AND THEIR USE MAY RESULT IN UNDESIRED AND PERSISTENT CONSEQUENCES. THEIR USE WITH ASSISTANCE BY HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS TRAINED IN PSYCHEDELIC ASSISTED THERAPY IS EXPERIMENTAL. WE DO NOT ENDORSE THE USE OF PSYCHEDELIC SUBSTANCES OUTSIDE OF AN APPROVED HEALTHCARE SETTING. WE DO NOT SUPPORT OR PROMOTE THE BUYING, SELLING OR USE OF ANY ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES.