Psychedelic Harm Reduction Therapy

Nothing contained on this website is intended to encourage the use of illegal substances.

Psychedelics can potentially produce extremely uncomfortable, frightening, confusing, painful and psychologically destabilizing experiences.

Psychedelic substances can cause long lasting changes to personality and cognition. Individuals can also possess undiagnosed genetic, developmental, neurological, endocrinological, or traumagenic conditions that negatively interact with the psychedelic chemical and experience.

What are psychedelic substances?

Psychedelic substances are chemical compounds, whether derived from nature or produced synthetically, that can result in profound shifts in states of consciousness. These include LSD, DMT, psilocybin, MOMA, peyote, and ketamine (which is the only federally legal one of these substances in the US at this time).

How are psychedelic substances being used in conjunction with therapy?

Psychedelic substances have Jong been used in traditional medicine and spiritual practices because of their abilities to alter consciousness, making new, healing ways of being in the world more tangible to the participant using them. When it comes to healing and transformation, one of the most important aspects of psychedelic healing work is the post-session or ceremony
integration period. During this phase many people return to their lives, yet discover that their problems haven’t gone away; negative behavior patterns re-establish themselves, and self-limiting beliefs continue to haunt them. This is an opportune time for people to integrate new insights, beliefs, and behaviors. But, without accountability and the support of a therapist, many people fall back into old patterns. Therapy helps maximize the benefits of people who may be using psychedelic substances on their own.

Currently, there are federal research studies being conducted to determine the benefits these substances can provide in treating:

  • Treatment-Resistant Depression
  • Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Unresolved Trauma
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  •  End of Life Anxiety

What is harm reduction therapy and what can you expect with me?

In the US—outside of federal controlled research trials—clinicians cannot encourage the use of or prescribe psychedelics, or serve as a guide during psychedelic experiences. However, therapists have an ethical duty to try to reduce the risk of harm among clients who are interested in exploring or are currently using psychedelics, as well as a general duty to attempt to maximize the benefits of their experience. With some legal and ethical considerations, I can provide harm reduction therapy before and after a client has a psychedelic experience on their own, to help minimize risk and maximize benefits.

This form of therapy aims to establish a space to be honest about psychedelic use, and is conducted with me being non-judgmental and non-coercive. I will be focusing on the risks and benefits of the patient’s own use of psychedelic substances.

My goals as a therapist doing harm reduction and integration therapy, include:

  • Separating facts from fiction with regards to psychedelic use
  • Creating a safe environment to talk when a client chooses to use psychedelic substances (these are never provided or facilitated by me)
  • Asking questions and helping to set intentions or realistic expectations for maximizing the positive benefits of psychedelic experiences

Research is essential for anyone even contemplating treatment with psychedelic substances. Please see the resources below for further information.

Further reading:

Disclaimers and Precautions When Considering Using Psychedelic Substances on Your Own

Psychedelic Therapy Guide: How to Choose the Right Therapist for You


How to Find the Best Psychedelic Integration Therapist for You

MDMA Code of Ethics,-no-1/7710-maps-mdma-assisted-psychotherapy-code-of-ethics-spring-2019