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  • Writer's picturePeter H Addy, PhD

Integrating Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Experiences: Key Takeaways from the Portland Psychedelic Conference

In 2018, the inaugural Portland Psychedelic Conference, organized by the Portland Psychedelic Society (PPS), brought together experts and enthusiasts to explore the frontiers of psychedelic research and therapy. As the first speaker at this groundbreaking event, I had the privilege of sharing insights on a crucial aspect of psychedelic-assisted therapy: integration.



Understanding Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Integration

Integration is the process of incorporating insights and experiences from psychedelic sessions into one's daily life. It's a critical component of psychedelic-assisted therapy, often overlooked but essential for long-term benefits.

Integration is not just about processing the experience; it's about transforming those insights into meaningful life changes.

As healthcare professionals, our understanding of the nuances of integration can significantly enhance our ability to support clients who have had psychedelic experiences, whether in clinical trials or otherwise.

Clinical Trials and Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Integration Protocols

Recent clinical trials involving MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD have shed light on effective integration practices. These studies typically involve:

  1. Preparatory sessions

  2. Psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions

  3. Integration sessions


The MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials, for instance, follow a treatment manual published by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). This manual dedicates a significant portion to integrative follow-up sessions, emphasizing their importance in healing.

Best Practices for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Integration

Drawing from clinical trials and expert recommendations, here are key principles for effective integration:

  1. Assess for Safety: Always prioritize client safety, especially regarding potential suicidal ideation or self-harm thoughts.

  2. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Teach clients centering exercises like diaphragmatic breathing to manage overwhelming emotions.

  3. Create Space for Processing: Encourage clients to set aside time to fully experience and express their thoughts and feelings.

  4. Maintain Therapeutic Continuity: Integrate psychedelic experiences into ongoing therapy modalities (e.g., CBT, psychodynamic therapy).

  5. Consider Specialized Approaches: Techniques like Holotropic Breathwork, Internal Family Systems, and somatic therapies can be particularly effective for integration.


It's crucial to note that while we can't legally facilitate psychedelic experiences outside of approved settings, we can support clients who come to us having had these experiences elsewhere.

The Future of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

As research progresses, we're seeing promising results in treating conditions like PTSD, depression, and addiction. Long-term follow-up studies underscore that the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy can persist for years, highlighting the crucial role of effective integration.

Implications for Healthcare Professionals

As healthcare providers, staying informed about psychedelic-assisted therapy and integration techniques is becoming increasingly important. While we may not be directly administering these treatments, we're likely to encounter clients who have had psychedelic experiences and need support in integrating them. [Suggest inserting a pull quote here about the importance of continued education in this field]

Continuing Your Education

To deepen your understanding of psychedelic-assisted therapy and integration techniques, I encourage you to consider exploring my continuing education courses. These trainings are designed to equip healthcare professionals like you with the knowledge and skills to support clients in this emerging field, inspiring you to stay at the forefront of this evolving discipline.


Remember, while the psychedelic experience itself can be profound, it's the integration process that often determines the long-term impact on a person's life and well-being.

As we continue to explore the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy, let's prioritize integration as a vital component of the healing process. By doing so, we can help our clients transform their experiences into lasting positive change.


Ready to expand your therapeutic toolkit? Visit my store to explore our range of continuing education trainings on psychedelic-assisted therapy and integration techniques.

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