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Integration - What, Why, How

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

In my experience the work done after and between psychedelic experiences, insights and breakthroughs is where most of the tangible benefit from psychedelic work is gained. The combination of this preparatory and post-journey work is what we refer to when using the term "integration". In other words, while they may often feel like it, psychedelics and the experiences they facilitate are not a "magic pill" in and of themselves. They are the catalyst, and a powerful one at that.

When done most effectively, work with psychedelics is a practice and a powerful tool in one’s belt for their life-long pursuit of self-discovery, growth, improvement, and healing. However, the proper mental and emotional context must be cultivated in one’s day-to-day life as the primary means of pursuing such growth, and the intentional use of psychedelics is used as a means to support that.

Practicing mindfulness has been at the core of the integration process for me. This is done through a concerted effort to consciously do the work from moment to moment, especially when it’s most difficult to do so. If I’ve had an insight during a psychedelic experience regarding being overly defensive with a family member, for example, then I must practice mindfulness before, during, and after interacting with this family member to make appropriate improvements. After the interaction it would then be important to reflect on the improvements I made, as well as where I may have struggled to make such improvements so that I can adjust appropriately next time. A plan for cultivating self-awareness and self-reflection is important for this process and this is where tools like journaling and meditation can be quite helpful.

While integration is a unique process for everyone, a physical component such as exercise has always been very important for me personally. The mind and body are not separate, and working to improve one has always benefited greatly by working to improve the other in conjunction, in my case. Insights in some of my psychedelic sessions have included matters surrounding self-confidence and self-actualization, among many other things. Setting fitness goals and putting in the hard work to achieve them has served me very well in supporting successful work in these areas.

As mentioned, the integration process is unique to everyone. The type of work to be done, insights or breakthroughs experienced during the psychedelic session, overall context of the individual’s life circumstances and personality traits, etc. vary quite a bit from person to person. The tools and plan used for integration must be tailored to the individual based upon these nuanced factors.

Jornada (2023)

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