Psychedelic mental health retreats have become increasingly popular in recent years. The therapeutic use of psychedelics may be a controversial topic for some, but research shows that these substances can offer incredible psychological benefits when used under professional supervision.
If you’re looking for answers to your own mental health concerns, you might be interested in psychedelic therapy. Here’s everything you need to know about psychedelic retreats for mental health:
Benefits of Psychedelic Psychotherapy
Although the research is still in its early stages, the benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy appear to be promising. Psychedelic substances alter your brain chemistry in ways that could have a profound impact on your mental health when combined with therapy.
One of the key benefits that participants report is a newfound open-mindedness and a change in perspective on themselves and their lives. Psychedelics can completely change your outlook on your circumstances, alleviate your fears about your life, and improve your relationship with yourself. Not only does this immediately boost your mood, but it also empowers you to make lasting changes to your life that will continue to benefit your mental health.
There are several specific mental health disorders that psychedelic therapy may help to treat. Although a psychedelic retreat is not a cure for lifelong mental illnesses, it can act as a springboard for long-term recovery. For instance, psychedelic therapy can greatly alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety because it changes your understanding of yourself and the world. Similarly, psychedelic therapy may be helpful for healing from trauma because it helps you overcome the mental barriers put in place by your past experiences. Research also suggests that psychedelics can help people overcome addiction.
Many patients report seeing the benefits of psychedelic therapy right away. Additionally, psychedelic therapy can open the door for traditional forms of counseling because it makes you more open-minded and receptive. If you previously struggled to make headway with talk therapy, you may see more progress after a course of psychedelic therapy.
Types of Psychedelics Used in Therapy
Trained therapists primarily use the following types of psychedelics for treatment:
Ketamine is traditionally used for physical pain relief. It also blocks certain neurotransmitters that cause mental health symptoms. Ketamine may be especially beneficial for treating depression, but researchers are continuing to explore its effects on anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.
MDMA releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of love and trust and reduces anger and anxiety. This psychedelic may be particularly valuable in marriage and couples therapy.
Psilocybin alters your sensory perceptions and lifts your mood, which can have a variety of long-term mental health benefits. It may be used therapeutically to reduce anxiety and overcome addiction.
Researchers are also exploring the effects of several other psychedelics, but most are not legal to administer to patients. For example, ayahuasca is only legal when used in religious ceremonies. LSD may have potential as a therapeutic drug but is not legal anywhere in the United States.
How a Psychedelic Retreat Can Support Mental Health
Psychedelic psychotherapy can happen as a traditional in-office service, which typically involves weekly sessions with a therapist. An alternative is a psychedelic retreat. This treatment structure may provide additional benefits.
A retreat encourages you to take time away from your busy life to focus solely on your mental health. Even without the use of psychedelics, this can be a valuable experience. If you rarely put yourself first, a mental health retreat is a unique opportunity to prioritize your own health and wellness.
Not only can you experience meaningful breakthroughs and realizations during a psychedelic retreat, but you’ll also have plenty of time to reflect. You don’t have to get back to your daily responsibilities immediately after a powerful psychedelic experience. Instead, you can stay fully immersed in the moment while you explore what happened and how you felt.
A retreat offers thorough support from professionals, too. Some participants report feeling safer at a psychedelic retreat because they continue receiving mental healthcare after the psychedelic experience has ended. The connection with others on the retreat can be meaningful as well.
What to Expect from a Psychedelic Mental Health Retreat
Psychedelic retreats vary in length, but many last about three to four days. Over the course of the psychedelic retreat, you’ll work closely with one or more mental health professionals trained in psychedelic therapy.
At certain points throughout the retreat, you’ll be administered a carefully measured dose of the psychedelic substance. Your therapist will closely monitor you while you experience its effects. You may discuss your experiences, thoughts, and feelings while the substance is in effect, or your therapist may encourage you to simply sit quietly and let your thoughts unfold internally.
After the substance has worn off, you’ll process your experience with the help of your therapist. If you made any major realizations, your therapist will help you explore how your new perspective can benefit your life. Group discussions during the psychedelic retreat can also be very valuable. You may resonate strongly with how other participants describe their experiences.
Many psychedelic mental health retreats incorporate other mediums, too. For instance, art and music can both be powerful forms of expression. Time in nature can be a meaningful component of a psychedelic retreat as well.
Choosing a Psychedelic Retreat
It’s absolutely critical that you choose a psychedelic retreat that you feel comfortable with. Being under the influence of psychedelics is an incredibly vulnerable experience, so you must feel completely safe and cared for. Attending a retreat that makes you uncomfortable could result in severe anxiety that prevents you from experiencing the benefits of psychedelic therapy.
When researching retreats, look for programs offered by providers with mental health qualifications. The psychedelic substances are only one part of the experience. Equally as important is the therapeutic process that accompanies it. To achieve the mental health benefits, you need to work alongside a credentialed therapist.
Psychedelic retreats for mental health can have powerful and long-lasting benefits. If you’re interested in exploring the therapeutic use of psychedelics in a safe, private, and peaceful environment, a retreat could be a great opportunity for you. The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers psychedelic retreats for clients who are working toward overcoming depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, and many other challenges. You can reach out to us today to learn more.