Psychedelics? - A ticket to deeper connection-
Is the new couples therapy using psychedelics during therapy?
A lot of questions. I would like to share my experience, both as a couples therapist as well as a partner in a long term relationship. I came in contact with psychedelics and their therapeutic benefits, during my research into trauma approaches. After thorough readings, I tried them out myself. That on its own, was fascinating - at age 49 and never having tried any such thing before. Knowing from a deep part of my psyche how big its potential is for therapy, I enrolled in an intensive psychedelic practitioners training for clinicians and started as chief therapist for psychedelic assisted psychotherapy, with Field Trip Health in Amsterdam. It's been nothing less than amazing. After having studied and worked with so many different approaches, I truly believe and feel this is the next level.
My reasons for going down this path had to do with my curiosity for breakthrough methods. For myself, but also for my clients. It started with a keen interest for a next level in trauma-therapeutic approaches. And that's what I found by using psychedelics as part of the psychotherapeutic process. By understanding how MDMA creates a temporary softening of internal walls, I realised the potential. This however, is not (yet) legal. What is possible, is another psychedelic called psilocybin (magic truffles).
As magic truffle assisted psychotherapy helps individuals find breakthroughs in their lives, relieving stress, anxiety and depression, I am finding benefits are amplified for couples seeking deeper connection. Couples experiencing psychedelic assisted couples therapy have the opportunity to address relational challenges, resolve past baggage and prevent future pitfalls through preparation, exploration and integration sessions. Not only do the individuals find the experience personally rewarding, but the protocol I developed, gives each individual a chance to view their relationship in a whole new light. Clarity is gained. Opportunity is opened. Baggage is left behind.
With caution, I have been working with this method (in the Netherlands it is legal to use magic truffels (psilocybin) because it's not for everyone. There are certain conditions such as bi-polarity or schizophrenia, which are contra-indications. But also it's not the holy grail to a better relationship, without the right set and setting - this means mindset and a trained professional providing safety and guidance. I find that there are few things more difficult, than handing over the keys to being in control, so feeling safe and in good hands helps this challenging task.
So it is critical to note that the protocol I developed doesn’t magically wash all the couples’ problems away. It does, however, give both individuals a deeply insightful way of looking at their problems-- and at each other. Love is one of the most common feelings expressed after a session taking psilocybin. Like MDMA, which was widely used for couples therapy decades ago, psilocybin also has empathogenic effects. Harnessing this open-hearted feeling and focusing it through couples therapy allows couples to climb a ladder to a higher level in their relationship.
Using psychedelic assisted therapy helps the individuals to open up their minds to what’s possible in the relationship, connect to what’s important and understand each other’s perspectives with greater intimacy. The result is a fresh outlook on the relationship and the ability to navigate challenges moving forward.
What can clients expect from the treatment?
In short, clients can expect personal and relational growth. Relationships can grow, rekindle or change. Individuals in the relationship can learn to reconnect with themselves and with their loved one. As an individual heals, so do their relationships.