Psychedelic integration techniques is part two of a three part series:
One: The why and what of integrating psychedelics – modelling what works
Two: Psychedelic integration techniques – doing what works
Three: What psychedelic therapy teaches us – living what works
In part one: The why and what of integrating psychedelics – modelling what works. I gave you a thorough understanding of what psychedelic integration is (and isn’t), how set and setting fit in to it., and some of the existing models of psychedelic integration in use today.
This page, part two: Psychedelic integration techniques – doing what works. In this second part, I will introduce a deeper understanding of some of the keys to successful integration. And introduce instantly useable idea’s that you can use as psychedelic integration techniques and general integration of significant life experiences.
Next, in part three: What psychedelic therapy teaches us – living what works. In this last part, I will look at what psychedelics and psychedelic therapy have taught us and use that to see the process from a new perspective that you can apply every day.
What are the best psychedelic integration techniques – doing what works
In part one of this series, I started by saying that psychedelics without integration, are just another recreational drug. And one that leads to a type of spiritual bypassing where the activity itself, replaces the desired result of the activity. Whether it be therapeutic psychedelics or more recreational use. Using psychedelics for personal development requires effort on your part. It’s not an opportunity to give up personal responsability.
So here in part two, I will start by saying the following. Psychedelic therapy or coaching without correct application of technique or personal responsibility, is little more than an investment in the therapist’s next overseas vacation.
A strong statement perhaps, but true of ANY therapeutic practice. Psychedelic integration techniques are more accessible than you may think. They won’t facilitate themselves though. Because this is where you need to take responsibility and DO something different. If what you are doing now was going to work for you, it would have already! Thankfully, the models of psychedelic integration contain within them the need to be self-responsible and active in your own change process. And all you have to do., is DO them.
Psychedelic integration techniques that work
Integration circles are becoming more common around the world. This is where, as a collective group, you share and move through the integration of your experience with the help of an experienced guide. And this is an incredibly valuable asset to have in your quest to evolve from your psychedelic experience. I highly recommend you do not go this alone.
That said, there are many tried and successful psychedelic integration techniques and methods to integrate significant experiences. And many of them are effectively used without direction or coaching. I am not going to cover all of them., But I will cover a few of the more promising or interesting ones. In general, anything that is good for your mental health, will help you with integration. If you can answer this question with a yes., then do it: “Is this act or action going to open me up to life more, raise my consciousness and move me towards wholeness?”
Can psychedelic integration occur through another psychedelic experience
A couple of the integration techniques covered here, are in themselves ways to have a type of psychedelic experience. That makes them a unique psychedelic integration technique. Because part of the integration becomes re-introducing a controlled amount of the psychedelic affect. Another benefit of re-introducing some of the experience is along the same lines as discussion. Often during a psychedelic experience a person will grab on to something memorable. And take that as being the only message because it is easy to remember. The result of which can be missing out on other less intrusive parts of the experience. Methods that have a psychedelic aspect to them can re-mind you of these other parts easier. And other methods are purely about processing without introducing more experience. Psychedelic processing includes expression, acceptance and connection. And all the techniques here will allow some or all of that.
Intention free integration
Present in most of these methods is also the ability to just let go and see what arises. And this is powerful as it reflects the very idea of psychedelics. Intention free deep dives into non ordinary states of consciousness will often produce the best results. And the same applies to integration. This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. Yes, there is an intention with integration. But the intention, is to be open to new ways of doing and being. And if that means your process of integration changes as you go, then that is OK. The important part is to start and be flexible to altering direction. And you may get a missing piece during the process that totally changes your goal.
Should you get integration advice from others
Use your intuition and the advice of guides/therapists to decide what stage you are at and what psychedelic integration techniques are best for you. For some people, trying to integrate an overwhelming experience by making sense of it does not work. For example, if you’ve had a bad trip., chances are the lessons are not obvious. And the left-over result is fear and anxiety. So by approaching the cause of that fear or anxiety in a safe and controlled way, you can work through the layers. And once you are comfortable with the feelings, you can learn from them. Because you cannot integrate that which you cannot accept or look at.
How to increase psychedelic awareness – from intellectual to holistic
Successful psychedelic integration techniques are ones that aid in moving awareness. Specifically, moving awareness from an intellectual framework to a holistic framework that incorporates both mind and body. Insights tend to appear to us in moments of stillness, silence or presence. And so meditative practices should form at least part of your integration experience. Most if not all the methods touched on in this article will still benefit from having guidance in person. And remember that set and setting applies to any significant experience.
Externalising internal experience
Drawing, writing, journaling or movement about your experiences are valuable tools for integration. And having a pen and notebook nearby to write notes or draw diagrams and pictures can be helpful. Transferring ideas to paper adds another level of understanding to internal experiences that would otherwise be forgotten. Creative energy unexpressed can turn inward and become destructive. Journaling and artistic expression is about developing the observational side of your personality. And observation is key to understanding. Again, the main methods I will outline here all encompass elements of stillness, presence and observation.
Psychedelic integration techniques and coherence
One way of thinking about psychedelic integration is the idea of coherence. Coherence is defined as the quality of being logical and consistent. And., ‘the quality of creating a unified whole’. This certainly matches the goal of any experience geared toward positive change. What this means for you as an individual is aligning beliefs and values with actions. It means aligning what your heart wants with what your mind focuses on. And this can be easily missed because we often override our hearts desires with thoughts. The heart is also where many of our best and worst memories had their biggest affect.
Does the heart have a memory
There is sufficient evidence to suggest in fact that our heart thinks and stores memory. And there are cases of people with heart transplants where they take on more than the personality traits of the donor. Transplant recipients have in rare cases actually recalled enough detail about a past event (like the murder of the donor) to find and convict the person responsible. And you only need ask someone to point to themselves, to see that they will point to their heart and not their head. Heart, mind and body coherence can be fostered in several ways., one of which I will introduce below. Read the book called ‘The hearts code‘ by Paul Pearsall for more on the hearts memory. It’s a fascinating read.
How to integrate beliefs, behaviours and progress
The last step in any psychedelic integration technique, is making the changes part of your ongoing life. You must have what you learn from a psychedelic experience alter your trajectory in life., or you are doomed to repeat it.
The first method I will share called ‘future pacing’ (from NLP), is all about that. This is about creating mental resilience by imagining the future in a new way instead of re-living the same day thousands of times. And this method can be used with all integration techniques. It is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to make changes last. Remember the models of integration and what the last step is in all of them. Once you have explored your experience and discovered what you need to stop doing and start doing., you are ready for this step. And this step is vital and often overlooked. So I am going to talk about it first instead of last. Because knowing this before you read about the techniques will make the techniques more useful.
Should you beware of well-meaning people
Something to keep in mind as you read the rest of this article. Not everyone will understand your experiences or choices made from them. Choose who you talk to about what you have gone through and what you intend to do with it. One of my early mentors used to say “Don’t use the energy explaining to others what you are going to do., that you could use doing it!” There are of course exceptions to this when asking for support. People may have opinions that don’t match yours. And this is fine. But make your own time and space for those opinions to be heard. If they are close to you, you may need to ask for space and understanding while you adjust. And part of that adjustment might be relating to them in a new way. The following future pacing technique takes this into account.
How to use NLP as a psychedelic integration technique
NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming., is a very effective methodology that has found its way into many avenues of personal and business development. You would be well advised in seeking a skilled practitioner to help you integrate and make changes in your life. For the purposes of this article, I am going to cover just a tiny fraction of what is available as NLP skillsets. Both for integration and for inclusion in other psychedelic therapy protocols. I have written about some more useful applications of some NLP processes in the coaching room section of this website.
How to integrate psychedelic experiences into your life – NLP Future pacing
Sometimes called mental rehearsal., future pacing uses the brains built in way of preparing to do or feel something in the future. It is like giving yourself a hypnotic suggestion but without the hypnosis. This is part of creating and initiating a plan based on what you have learnt. What are you going to do differently in the future? How are you going to act in future situations and relationships?
Is visualisation the same as imagining
Visualising in this way doesn’t have to be complicated. And in fact, visualisation limits the practice and misses the mark. ‘Imagine’., how you would be in the future with your new attitudes and actions. We all know how to imagine. For some people imagining is more of a feeling than a picture., or what they will hear. Imagining in all modalities of senses is ideal. Visual (sight), auditory (sound), kinaesthetic (feeling), olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). So if you can make your imagined future as rich as that then do so. Otherwise just use your preferred sense and know that the others will be there as you get better at it. And another great option, is using your brains mirror neurons to full advantage. This is a part of the brain that responds to seeing something done, and firing the same brain cells in your brain as if you are doing it. So you can literally help train yourself by watching an expert do what you can’t yet do.
Future pacing – planning to succeed or fail
Thinking about the future this way is how your brain prepares to be anxious if you let it., so use this same strategy to your advantage.
Imagine a movie of yourself performing or behaving in your new way. And then imagine various times in the future behaving that way in situations where you would have behaved in the old way.
Pick a time a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. And play them out in your mind as the new you. Imagining different times like this will help insert this new way of being into your ongoing future. Any psychedelic integration technique that doesn’t include active future planning is incomplete. And the next decision to make, is whether you want this change to be in a specific context or generally throughout life…
Generalised or specific future pacing
Do you want this new way of being to be in one specific area or do you want it to generalise to multiple areas?
You may only want to be calm in a business meeting and not while playing sport. Because a little anxiety in sport may suit you well to keep you on your toes.
To make this future pace a specific change, use only examples of that specific thing but still at different times in the future.
And to make the change generalise, use examples in different situations, locations, times, with different people etc.
That’s it., once you get used to this it becomes very quick and easy to use with all sorts of experiences.
Using advanced future pacing for psychedelic integration
One of the most important considerations with future pacing or any psychedelic integration technique, is often missed. And that is this: How might you get in your own way in the future? And by extension., what will you do if you slip back into old habits? More on this point in the next section.
And what about the question: What situations or people may make these new changes difficult?
In other words., what culture and environment are you going back into? And how does that change who you want to be and how you want to act?
Be prepared for some resistance
Using these types of questions, you can role play in your mind how to deal with those situations and people. And you can add that to your future pacing examples. If you don’t do this, the danger is that well-meaning people may anchor you back into old habits and beliefs. And I’ve seen this happen time and time again in my own experience of coaching with NLP until I made the connection. You need to in a sense, inoculate yourself or your clients against homeostasis (the tendency of things to be brought back into balance with the norm).
How to prepare for setbacks intelligently
The other side to this way of thinking about the future is to ask yourself “How will I handle slipping back into old habits?” And remember what I said in part one., that there is a lag time to change. You are only human., and that means at some point you will probably revert to an old way of being. So, how will you frame that? If you don’t have a strategy for dealing with this, failure will likely lead to giving up. Hpwever, if you do have a strategy for this, that old way of being will fade away. Some changes are fast and permanent and you never look back. And this is less common than having an occasional slip up for a short while afterwards. Make sure that part of your use of psychedelic integration techniques includes being kind to yourself. Because I can almost guarantee that the opportunity to not be nice to yourself will come up! Remember the key idea behind the integration of psychedelics is connection and inclusion. And this applies to others yes., by primarily and firstly to yourself.
Pre-plan screwing up
Here’s what I suggest doing. Literally imagine yourself sometime in the future screwing up and doing the old action or behaviour. Maybe one week from now and maybe again in a month. And the key here, is imagining how you will handle that TEMPORARY setback. See yourself realising with a sense of amusement that that isn’t who you are any more. And then see yourself getting right back on track. NOTE: I say ‘see yourself’ instead of imagine but it’s the same thing. And what I mean by see yourself is that it’s like you are watching yourself do it on a movie screen. IE: You are dissociated rather than seeing it through your own eyes. If after doing this, you don’t slip back into old habits, nothing is lost. However, if you do., you now have a mentally rehearsed strategy for dealing with it in a productive way.
Integration techniques action step – Future pacing
If you only take one thing from this list of integration ideas., take this!
Choose a decision you have made from your psychedelic experience. Something you want to start doing. And if it is something you want to stop doing then what will you do instead? With that decision, rehearse what doing that would look, feel and sound like if you did it in the specific situation/context. Or how it would apply across your life in multiple situations/contexts if it is more of an attitude adjustment. Imagine a time (in that context or multiple contexts) within a day or two, and again in a week, and a month, 6 months and next year. And for each of those times, play the new behaviour out in as much detail as you can. If something isn’t right, adjust it and do it again until it IS right. And if your change is across contexts., then do the same with different people, places, situations and times.
Remember to add in a couple of times where you notice yourself slipping back into old habits and dealing with those gracefully and effectively. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you like. And I suggest every day for the first few days or week at least. Then maybe once a week to reinforce it until you notice in a few weeks time that it has become an automatic part of your life. For some people, doing this even one time can be enough. And for others it may take repetition over a longer period. Remember life is not done until it’s done. And if psychedelics teach us anything, it is that personal development and transformation is an ongoing process.
How to use NLP anchoring for psychedelic integration
There are three more integration techniques from NLP that I will briefly point out as being particularly valuable for psychedelic integration. The first is anchoring which is a very powerful technique using a natural ability of the brain.
The basic idea behind anchoring is that significant emotions get linked to events or external triggers. Have you ever heard a song that instantly brought back memories of a past person or event? Or does seeing a dog either bring with it feelings of nervousness or joy? These are examples of anchored or conditioned responses formed in the past. And some are simple and formed over time like the feeling you get when your partner says something to you in a particular tone of voice. While others have more far-reaching consequences and can be formed in a matter of seconds. An example of this being Phobia’s where a traumatic experience imprints on your future behaviour. And the good news is that you can use this same automatic process on purpose to your advantage. Because by creating your own anchors around feeling different in response to external triggers, you can integrate new ways of being into your future. In the case of trauma, the second technique I will mention is the NLP fast phobia and trauma cure…
Psychedelic integration with the NLP fast trauma cure
We all have times in our past where upsetting or traumatic events have made a lasting impression on our beliefs and behaviour. And I highly recommend you seek an experienced practitioner to guide you if it is for a phobia or serious traumatic event. A modified version of the technique is very effective for less serious challenges though.
The idea behind the technique is that the brain stores memories in a specific format and sequence. And by scrambling that sequence, you can re-format the event and release its hold on your current behaviour. A VERY useful skill to have. The memory isn’t erased., but the feeling attached to it is changed so that you can think about it objectively and with response instead of reaction. And there is a big difference between those two ways of being.
Can NLP parts integration be used in psychedelic integration
The last technique I will mention is NLP parts integration. And integrating parts of ourselves is a common part of psychedelic coaching or therapy. During a psychedelic experience, it is common to see aspects of ourselves that we have forgotten or not given attention or acceptance to. Although parts integration can be done yourself, it is far more valuable to do it guided. And so, again I highly recommend finding someone skilled in this practice to help you.
What are parts? I’m not talking about multiple personality disorders here. Although in extreme cases partitioned aspects of our personality can lead to this. I’m referring to aspects of ourselves that seem to be at odds with other aspects of ourselves or with our ideal vision. Or aspects of ourselves that have been suppressed or hidden. And often these parts will be in conflict with each other. For example, one part may be responsible for you getting angry and another may value calmness in a certain situation.
Behaviours can have positive intentions
With parts integration we assume a positive intent to the action or attitude. Maybe it’s saving you from embarrassment or keeping you safe. But it is using an outdated method learnt when you were younger. Parts integration works by discovering that positive intent and allowing that to be expressed in a useful way. And then integrating that intent and the (often ignored or suppressed) part into the whole of who we are. The results of doing this can be dramatic. Because acceptance, expression and connection to the dark shadow sides of ourselves is often where great power lies.
Is mindfulness the ultimate psychedelic integration technique
Psychedelics like Ketamine have been called by some psychedelic therapists as chemical mindfulness. And mindfulness is by definition, present moment awareness without judgement. Mindfulness meditation teaches an attitude of non-judgment and curiosity to everyday experience. Both during meditation, and while going about life in general. Mindfulness therefore can also be considered a non-ordinary state of consciousness. By using this same practice as an observer to the effects of psychedelics, users can integrate changes more readily. Clients can be coached to notice all the available information by shifting from what they saw to other senses. And this can be done in a calm observant way. In fact the practice of mindfulness and observation can literally change your reality.
Acceptance to release anxiety
Anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles to integration. Because an anxious mind cannot process new information in a way that results in progress. At least not positive progress. And a great deal of relief can be encouraged by coaching clients to use mindful non-judgemental curiosity to psychedelic experiences. The result of such mindful observation is to notice the lessons of the psychedelic experience. And noticing the lessons in an accepting way, means you’ll get the most benefit. Mindful practices should be part of any routine of psychedelic integration techniques. And when you get what mindfulness really is, it can be done anywhere, anytime.
Is mindfulness and the Ego aligned
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist traditions. A strong ego (sense of self) is seen by Buddhist practice as being a source of distress. And ego dissolution or a loss of sense of self, is one characteristic of many psychedelic experiences. This is the same ultimate goal of mindfulness. So the two practices are therefore nicely aligned. By practising mindful observation, you train yourself to be calm in the presence of new information. And expanding on the Buddhist traditions, it’s worth noting that mindful observation includes looking for the looker. IE: Taking a step back in perspective and seeing yourself., the one who is searching for answers. Often by doing that, patterns of ‘suffering’ become obvious. And remember something when looking at yourself… ‘pain is real., suffering is optional’.
Integration techniques action step – Mindfulness 1 (external)
Go for a walk in nature. As you walk start by focussing on your breathing. Just notice how it feels to have the air go in and out of your nose. Consciously altering your breathing can be done but this is covered in another technique. For now, just notice. Now expand your visual and auditory awareness. And what I mean by this is changing your focus (visually) from foveal to peripheral vision. Foveal is pinpoint and narrow. Peripheral is widened and taking in what is in the corners of your vision left, right, up, and down. And the same can be done with auditory sound., by expanding your hearing as far and as wide as you can.
The idea is to notice everything at once if you can. And it will feel quite trance like because in fact it is a trance. A trance of heightened awareness of the moment. And if you feel adventurous, expand your feelings and even sense of smell and taste outwards also. Take all that nature has to offer in all at once and keep doing it. Practising this will sharpen your senses and have you fully in the present. And as you learn to notice more and more information around you, the richness that you experienced with psychedelics will become part of your everyday life. And by the way., practising using your peripheral vision will help keep your vision healthy and sharp too. Because it’s one of the exercises used for that purpose in ageing people because we spend too much time focused directly in front of us on screens etc.
Integration techniques action step – Mindfulness 2 (internal)
Find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and start by noticing your breathing. Don’t try to change it., just observe. Now let your attention drift from body part to body part and observe sensations. How do they feel? Warm, pressure, tightness, pulsing? No judgement, just observation. And what images or memories come to mind? How do those images change the sensations? Are the sensations moving or still? And what happens if you pay close attention to a sensation? Does it then change or move? What happens to the images or memories in your mind when you focus your attention on a sensation? The idea here is mindful attention to your inside world. And the acceptance of whatever you notice. If after 5 or minutes of this process you noticed something meaningful to you, write it down or draw it.
How to use breathwork as a psychedelic integration technique
The therapeutic use of psychedelics has become popular again in this century. And experiments were conducted successfully last century (using primarily LSD) before they were classified as illegal substances. The criminalisation of psychedelics led some of the researchers to seek other methods of achieving a similar state. And one of those methods was consciously breathing in certain ways. Breathwork practices and techniques are expanding faster than almost any other methodology. An example of this being Holotropic breathwork which is a type of conscious connected breathwork. Conscious in the sense that you do it on purpose in an altered way to normal. Connected in the sense that one breath leads into the next in a circular fashion. And breath-work in the sense that it IS work. It’s a very active process that viewed from the outside can in some methods, look like hyperventilating or over-breathing. The effect of this style of breathing alters the balance of CO2 and O2 in the blood and therefore brain. And one of the results of this is an altered state of consciousness. Done with intention and intensity this altered state of consciousness can mimic a psychedelic affect.
Healing and evolving with breathwork
Breath is interesting in the fact that it is both unconsciuosly controlled., AND under our conscious control. Breath is one thing that you always have the option to change. And as such can be an intimate connection to yourself and your personal development. A sense of sovereignty over your own life response. Breathing in this connected way alters brainwave activity (see the next topic). The result of which is a non-ordinary state of consciousness (NOSC). And this NOSC can lead to accessing past events and memories. They may be pleasant memories, or they may be traumatic ones. Just like with an ingested psychoactive substance. And therefore breathwork may be suitable as a substitute to psychedelics to explore this for personal growth. And indeed, breathwork can be used after a psychedelic experience to help process and integrate the experience. Maybe you need to get clarity on something you saw or felt. Or maybe you need to have a safer, shorter lasting way, of approaching what was a bad experience. And maybe you just need to release. Psychedelics don’t have a control button. But other methods do. And this makes them a viable way to re-experience or have a first experience of a psychedelic effect without the risk of a ‘bad trip’.
How breathwork helps you to reconnect inwards
Breathwork also gives you an opportunity like meditation to connect your mind and body. And this connection is one of the lessons psychedelics strive to teach us. In this way breathing can be used with intent to ‘give breath to’ parts of yourself. And because feelings can be enhanced with conscious breathing, you may be able to express built up emotion and release some of the energy around it. In the process of expression, acceptance and connection can occur.
Breathwork is expanding fast, just as meditation and yoga has, so you will find somewhere near you. Any conscious connected breathwork will be suitable for integration. Holotropic, Transformational, Re-birthing, Alchemy of breath, Wim Hof, Soma breath and others all use connected breathing patterns. Non-connected breathing patterns will be helpful too, especially of you are particularly sensitive or fearful after a bad experience.
Integration techniques action step – Breathwork
There are online ways to experience breathwork. And if approached with a gentle intention, doing it this way is perfectly fine. As with most practices, there are some contraindications (reasons to not participate) to certain styles of breathing. Diagnosed medical conditions like epilepsy (seizures) and heart disease being a couple. And there should be advice on this verbally or written before the session. Otherwise, the logical advice is that ‘no-one ever died breathing’. I highly recommend however that if your intention is integration, seek an ‘in person’ experience. And this can be either as a one on one, or as part of a group.
If you choose a group, make sure there are enough helpers there to give you a bit of personal attention if you need it. And remember set and setting applies here!
If you want to explore by yourself, then start slowly. And for now, just being aware of your breathing in a mindful way. And learn a couple of very easy breath patterns to quickly reduce anxiety and calm your nervous system. Have a pen and notebook with you when you do breathwork in case you feel inspired to write something down or draw a picture relating to your experience.
Integration techniques action step – Coherence with Breathwork
One of the ways of achieving coherence between the heart and mind is with a particular pattern of breathing. And this is called the coherence breath or resonance breathing. The idea behind this style of breathing is that it improves Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of heart health due to the flexibility of timings of heartbeats. And in this case a high variability is what you want as it means your heart can respond quickly to changing demands. In practice it means slow inhales and exhales (preferably through the nose) at a specific speed.
The easiest to use and closest to most people’s perfect speed is 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. Alterations in this depend on a person’s height and weight and the usual change is that the exhale becomes slightly longer. For example, 5 seconds in and 6 seconds out. If you want to be more accurate, then you will need a heart rate monitor with the ability to measure HRV with an associated APP on your phone. For now, just try the basic 5 and 5 pattern for about five minutes three times a day. Done for a few weeks you will start to notice changes in how you deal with stress and feelings of balance.
How to use brainwave entrainment for Integration of psychedelic experiences
Brainwave entrainment, or Audio visual entrainment., is the effect on brain activity caused by an external pattern of stimulation. For example, light and sound meditation devices like the Roxiva RX1 on this website. The repeating patterns of flickering light and pulsing sound mixed with music produce profound relaxation responses. And this results in some deep and enlightening non-ordinary states of consciousness. Brainwave entrainment or audio visual entrainment can be a very useful psychedelic integration technique. Brain regions connect and synchronise, cerebral blood flow increases, and the outside world is left behind while you let go. Meditation and trance states that usually take years of practice to access become accessible at the push of a button. The benefits of this are numerous. This is about having a powerful tool for personal and spiritual transformation. And like meditation., creates a wholistic route to personal and professional development. Part of being a coherent person is having the ability to shift from brainwave state to brainwave state easily and quickly. Kind of like Heart Rate Variability (HRV) for the brain. And in so doing, recreating that connection to lost parts of ourselves suppressed due to negative past experiences.
What happens to brain activity as we relax
When we relax, we descend into lower brainwave frequencies. Frequencies of brain activity are categorized by ‘cycles per second’ or Hertz (Hz). Normal waking consciousness is mainly in the Beta (12-32Hz) range. Here we are alert and active. When we close our eyes and begin to relax, we go first into Alpha (8-12Hz). And as we let go of the outside world and distractions, we enter the range of Theta (4-8Hz). Experienced meditators will sometimes go lower into Delta (0.5-4Hz), although for most this results in falling asleep. The Theta level is particularly beneficial for releasing and recovering faster from physical or mental stress. And it is a level of consciousness where trance occurs, and we become highly suggestible. Theta is also where most of our memories are easier to access and process. Why? Well, this is where it gets interesting.
What is state conditioned learning and state locked experience
Our brain is very clever at storing (or forgetting) events and memories based on how important they are to us. And certain patterns of brain activity show up when we are accessing or encoding a memory. Specifically, Theta interplays with a higher frequency range called Gamma (>32Hz). And this interplay results in how we store, access, change or suppress memories. The brain will jump from Theta/Gamma to Beta frequently, as we make decisions and experience daily life. When we learn or experience in a specific state, the state itself becomes part of the memory. IE: The brain state we are in when we learn something, becomes an anchor for the learning. And to access that learning, we need to at least in part, access that state.
How are mental state and ability linked
This is called ‘state dependant learning‘ or ‘state locked experience’. And it’s more powerful than you think. Because if you lose the ability to enter that state., you lose the ability to fully use and/or remember that learning. There are some exceptions, but you only have to watch athletes getting themselves into a peak state, to realise how important it is. They aren’t just getting into a flow state for its own benefits. They are also giving themselves access to all the times they have performed at their peak before.
State dependant learning can affect integration
Sometimes successful integration requires gaining more information. Then with more clarity you can weave the lesson or change into your life. Many of what we would call our issues or problems, come from imprints made on us as children. And often during a psychedelic experience, we will get images or memories from the past. The experience is giving us a clue here as to where to look to integrate and evolve as a person. So why do things that happen to us as children make such an impact on us? And how does this impact last and cause effects during adulthood?
Why are children’s brains like sponges
Theta is the cause and the solution! As children our dominant brainwave frequency is Theta. It’s not until we get older that Beta becomes dominant. And as we’ve established, Theta is a highly suggestible state. As children we are basically walking around in a trance state absorbing information as fast as we can. Memories are encoded, and decisions about what things mean that shape our personality, are cemented in place.
Using inner child work for Integration
What does that mean for psychedelic integration and personal growth? It means that finding ways to enter this Theta state is going to be an important part of making lasting changes. And brainwave entrainment is one easy way to do that reliably and consistently. By accessing Theta states with intention, you can decode the past and recode it with new empowering meanings. Theta states give you access to repressed memories to process. And it is also the perfect state to re-script your past into more useful beliefs and attitudes.
This Theta child state, is another reason why writing or drawing can be valuable. Our ‘inner child’ is more likely to feel safe and engage in the process with a pen in your hand. There’s lot’s of talk in spiritual and therapeutic circles about the inner child. And this reference isn’t accidental. Most of who we are that we would like to change, reflects ‘stuck’ versions of us as youngsters. At that age we did not know how to process certain fearful or sad events. Sometimes re-processing the same events with new understanding from our adult perspective can have dramatic effects.
What are psychedelic light experiences
This is another powerful aspect of the Roxiva RX1 on this website. The drug free psychedelic light trips to be had with this technology, must be experienced to be believed. Comparable to actual ingested psychedelic experiences but without the drug or risks of a ‘bad trip’. In a real sense., this is access to a type of psychedelic light therapy. A drug free psychedelic trip. All at the push of a button. And the experience is also immediately stoppable at the push of a button. This opens the door to approaching a psychedelic experience one step at a time. And integrating only as fast as is comfortable for you. As with anything new., care should be taken with a psychedelic light experience. Done correctly it can be a very powerful tool. And even ‘bad trip’ type feelings can be instantly stopped., unlike a drug. The number of messages I have received from users about the out of this world trips they have had, are humbling. And there are sessions designed for anything from relaxation to heightened awareness. This isn’t a toy., this is a powerful tool for ongoing transformation.
Integration techniques action step – Brainwave entrainment
There are various forms of brainwave entrainment. Light and/or sound being the main ones. Light has the most powerful impact. But even some audio versions of isochronic tones or binaural beats can be useful to get into that deeply relaxed Theta state. And once in that state, you are more highly suggestible than during normal waking consciousness. The Theta state is the ideal place to re-script the past or use the future pacing you read about earlier. First get yourself into this zero-point type of brain state aided by technology. And then mentally rehearse your new ways of being. The results of your imagining will be more powerful and quicker to take hold if you do it this way.
Re-scripting is very similar. And re-scripting has similarities to the last step of the modified NLP fast trauma cure in the article I linked above. This is where you re-experience a past event how you would have liked it to have gone. And what would have been done, said and felt back then if the event had proceeded to a positive outcome. Again, this is not changing the actual memory, but rather changing what you learn from it in a way that changes how you live now. Flexibility comes from diverse experience. And you can purposely create that diverse experience from just one or two memories. Brain health and longevity can be enhanced with flexibility of thinking. The mind cannot tell the difference between actual reality and richly imagined reality. Use that to your advantage.
How to use hypnosis and trance for psychedelic integration
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy has many misconceptions. The truth is that we are always in one form of trance state or another. And some of those trance states we call reality. They are what we consider to be normal. And this then leads us to an obvious conclusion. Hypnosis is just another Non-Ordinary State of Consciousness. And NOSC, are common to many psychedelic integration techniques. Hypnotherapy brainwave entrainment combines what we just disucussed with trance re-programming.
Guided hypnosis can therefore be a valuable method of integration and gaining further insight. With the aid of a skilled hypnotherapist, you can focus on relaxing while they guide the exploration. Hypnosis states don’t usually need to be deep either to get positive results. Getting to the root cause of challenges, regression to a younger age, and programming new beliefs and habits can all be enhanced with trance. You can even use the anchoring technique you learnt earlier to re-access the trance state later. And with that trance state, you can re-script your past or rehearse a new way of being with future pacing.
Using artistic expression and movement for psychedelic integration
Expression is an important part of integration. It is common for there to be a jumble of thoughts on many topics in your mind after a psychedelic experience. Getting them out into words, art or music can help you organise and make sense of them. In fact music has a history of curing the inflexibility of cognitive dissonance. An interesting subject that links to the formation of human advancement. By externalising an internal experience, you can view the experience from another perspective. Almost like viewing the viewer. This ‘looking at yourself’, is something that psychedelics enhance with Ego dissolution and Meta (above/about) cognition. Meta cognition is a powerful skill. IE: Seeing things from a higher perspective. It is very hard to find your way out of a maze from within the maze. Which is what most people attempt to do. However, to someone looking into the maze from a different perspective, it becomes obvious.
How would you help someone in your position
I sometimes ask myself “If someone came to me with my issue, what would I do?”. You would be surprised at the answers you get. Often we know what to do., we’re just stuck in ‘not knowing’. and when you externalise through expressive writing or art, you get the opportunity to see yourself as if you are someone else. You get to be a type of higher self where you see things objectively, rationally and with the flexibility of your entire life experience. And this is in contrast to seeing things from the framework of a problem state. Journaling, poetry, art and music are great ways to express yourself and integrate parts of yourself in a whole new way. And they are also great ways to connect with yourself and others.
Integration techniques action step – Journaling
I remember years ago carrying a small notebook with me when going through a challenging time. And every time I thought of a person or situation attached to this challenge, I would write the time and what the thought was in the journal. I did this for two weeks and OMG what a difference it made. Two main things happened. The first is that it showed me just how many times I thought about this. And I was shocked. The result of this was initially one of frustration. But then very quickly that was replaced by a sense of amusement at my own mind. And it started to become non-sensical and ludicrous to think this way. The second thing that happened is it turned something I was doing unconsciously., into something I now had a choice to do consciously. Something I’ve written about as a way to stop behaviours by doing them on purpose. Habitual thoughts are habitual because they happen with little conscious awareness or effort.
Needless to say, I got good at choosing to stop myself at the first moment of the thought. And then with a knowing smile., change the thought to something more productive.
Don’t underestimate how powerful this can be. And do it! Get a small notebook and pen and keep it in your pocket.
Embodiment, movement and TRE
The other sub-category of expression is movement. And this can take many forms from Yoga and exercise to dancing and Tension/Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). Ecstatic dance has gained popularity in recent years as a way of expression and release. The idea being that free-flowing movement and dance is encouraged as its own type of journey. Often with this free-flowing movement, emotions come and go freely also. And a type of trance state is reached resulting in insight and the release of physical and mental tension. The body stores memories mentally and physically. And suppressed emotion can and does show up in the body. As does past trauma. Expression in movement can therefore help with emotional processing also.
How to use trauma release exercises for integration
One specific extension of this idea is Tension and Trauma Release Exercises. TRE is a series of exercises that help the body release muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma.
They do so by activating a natural reflex of shaking or vibrating resulting in the calming down of the nervous system.
When we experience something that shocks us., we tend to tense up and breathe differently. This tension often gets stored. Have you ever seen a wildlife program on TV where an animal escapes almost being caught and eaten by a predator? And once the animal has escaped, it shakes the experience off immediately. This is the animal releasing the tension that would otherwise be stored in the body. Nature knows best right!? People in shock will sometimes do the same thing., although it is often suppressed. And so, we miss the opportunity. TRE seeks to give that opportunity back. You will find workshops and practitioners of this technique widely available.
Can being in nature help with psychedelic integration techniques
If connection is one of the big lessons of psychedelics, then what better way to connect than being in nature. Being., being the key word there. Combined with mindful observational, spending time among trees, birds, moving air and sunlight is one of the best forms of meditative practice available for integration. Nature knows balance and harmony. And everything just works and flows in cycles. That is until humans get involved and take that balance away. There are many lessons to be learnt from the natural world. And research has shown that living near natural spaces will positively impact your lifespan and health. Using nature as part of your integration plan can be as simple as walking in it. Or you can enhance your experience by meditating or practising mindfulness while there. Some people start sooner than integration and use nature as part of the set and setting. And psychedelics are often referred to as plant medicine after all. Make a habit of connecting with the outside world more often and you will get to a point where you never feel alone or isolated.
Should you change something external to reflect your internal change
Move something or change something in your environment. Set, setting, and integration doesn’t stop after one experience. This is an ongoing loop or cycle. Use that to your advantage and purposely change something in your environment. Move or rearrange something. Perhaps in your bedroom. Make a change in your current setting that is a reminder that you have changed. It’s true that changes we make soon become habitual and not noticed. But if making environmental changes can assist mindset changes to also become habitual., then it’s a win. And reminders like this can be useful.
Other psychedelic integration techniques
There are many other techniques and methods useful for integration. As a general rule, if it’s goal is to make you a more expansive, connected and balanced person., then it will help you integrate also. CBT, EMDR, EFT, acceptance and commitment therapy, various forms of bodywork (Soma therapy, Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique), playing with puppies, feeding squirrels.., the list goes on 🙂 . Whatever methodology inspires you is likely to be beneficial. Techniques and practises are constantly being developed and refined because people are different. And if I can make a bold statement., ALL techniques are just excuses to change instantly, once you are ready. They are permission slips. So you don’t need any of them if you understand that every moment is a new choice point. And that the past is constructed from the present. That belief however, is harder to live by than understand conceptually. So for now, until we are all enlightened beings that understand the true nature of reality., use the support and skill of others.
Now., remember I said at the beginning of part one that there was an important reason for being quite thorough in some of the idea’s I have covered so far!? In this subject, knowledge is power. So long as you put this knowledge into action.
Now it’s time to put it all together in a way that I believe nature and plant medicine would appreciate.
See you in part three, lessons from psychedelic therapy.
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