Healing Your Bad Trips / Psychedelic Integration

When it comes to psychedelics and a bad trip, I usually advocate that there is no such thing as a good or bad trip. The psychedelics themselves are not good or bad substances, they are simply natural or synthetic drugs that we, as humans, have developed relationships. Ultimately, we decide what happens to that relationship. And yes, even the most terrifying trip can have positive healing outcomes. Typically, a bad trip starts just like any other psychedelic trip, often with fascinating dreamy visions, and feelings of unity and well-being. Then something challenging pops up from nowhere and the journey takes a negative turn, leaving us in mild or severe distress. In other words, we’re freaking out during the psychedelic trip, because we’re taking a peek at our dark side. The situation becomes particularly challenging if there is no experienced guidance nearby to guide us through the process smoothly. Nobody is perfect and everyone has a darker side. It is useful to realize that the task in life is not to become perfect but to become consciously aware of our light and darkness as well.  It is the light that illuminates darkness within. Our darkness is made up of various familiar names such as the shadow, the repressed self, the disowned self, or the lower self. When we encounter our darker side, we often use metaphors to describe these encounters. For instance, wrestling with the devil, going to the underworld, dark night of the soul, or a bad trip. During the psychedelic journey, we are opening up channels to a completely different dimension of realities, connections, and reconnections that science simply defines as hallucinations. My Sound of Tibet therapy considers this as the exact opposite, it views the psychedelic journey as awakening from hallucinations. The energy density and imprints in our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies affect how things go. Sometimes peacefully and sometimes violently. The set and setting during the psychedelic journey influence how people respond, especially during a negative turn. Many of my clients had frightening experiences using psychedelics without the proper guidance and setting; some described these as extremely bad trips.  In some cases, during or after the journey they experienced depressive periods, panic attacks, anxiety, depersonalization, ego dissolution, paranoia, as well as somatic symptoms. The bad trips are not always the result of very high doses, particularly occasioned by psilocybin, LSD, or DMT. All these bad trips will typically be a result of the client’s unresolved low frequencies and energetic memory imprints from dramatic or even traumatic experiences that not only need an explanation but also processing. An imprint can contain trapped emotions such as fear, guilt, or shame along with a limiting thought or belief. As a result, these memory imprints were repressed into the unconscious as a result of psychological defenses.  Through the psychedelic journey, these energetical memory imprints are often awakening to guide you through the process. They might reveal in the form of unlimited numbers of archetypes, sometimes with the face of a morphing demon, monster, or any similar creature. Everyone carries darkness, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the darker and denser it is. The psychedelic imagery during the bad trip might be extremely abusive or violent, for instance, experiencing apocalyptic dramas and flying through tunnels with no light at the end, or being sucked in by dark energies for eternity.  Time dilation is the experience of time standing still, which can make it feel as if the unpleasant aspects of the trip will never end. To make a long story short, people usually end up in nightmarish places beyond words. Everything comes to us from the limited dual realities. There are two separate forms of unconscious, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious accommodates personal experience and is acquired personally, while the collective unconscious is not individual but universal and images and structures are the same for all. The collective unconscious is what is now known as archetypes. The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution. Our own making. Repressed and unprocessed in the brain structure of every individual. Some aspects of our darkness are the product of our upbringing.  Some aspects of our darkness are the product of our evolution. Every human tragedy, drama, or genocide is hidden within us.  Once we identify with that frightening imagery, the pleasant journey is over and the virtual psychedelic hell starts. We start to fear for our mental health, or even losing our life. Not all of us may have the same psychological or neurobiological structure in processing different fear stimuli, but the universal trigger for fear is the fear of death.  Our sleepy brain is slowly waking up to emergency mode and is naturally acting as a protector. The brain is generally unable to distinguish stimuli according to their source.  Fear is a biologically basic emotion of all humans and serves an important role in keeping us safe. When our whole psychedelic experience is controlled by fear, it starts to get to us and it will add fuel to the fire. However, fear is not our enemy. It is through fear that we grow and learn the most. In any case, the heavenly feeling is gone. We wanted something beautiful and we didn’t get it. Simple as that. All these disturbing experiences might be avoided if we prepare ourselves at least spiritually for the psychedelic journey.  One simple heart-centered intention to heal and a simple protective spiritual prayer might be enough to avoid any unpleasant experiences. It worked for thousands of years and it works even today. The spiritual approach is necessary. If you don’t wish to end up in the care of psychiatrists and being medicated by antipsychotics, just don’t do psychedelics from pure boredom on a Saturday night. Heal through them if you need to. The most intense period of the trip typically occurs from one to three hours after the psychedelics are taken, so time will usually ease the most extreme aspects of the trip. The effects will often continue for an additional six to 12 hours after that. The streaking and trailing and after-imaging might persist for days or weeks. The good news is that every single challenging psychedelic experience is treatable. Such experiences are often transformed during my healing therapy through Jungian Shadow Work, Sacred Energy Healing, and storytelling, using narrative theory as a framework. The dominating principle is that clients need to retell or reconstruct their frightening experiences to be able to recover from the unpleasant or even traumatic psychedelic journey. All unpleasant trips are transformed into valuable experiences, giving them deep existential and life-altering insights.