ou and your partner are struggling to connect, communicate, or resolve conflict, and you’ve decided that it’s time to look into couples therapy. Traditional couples counseling can be a great option, but you’re looking for something different. You’ve tried traditional therapy before without success, and it’s time to shift toward the unconventional. Psychedelic psychotherapy is a meaningful and effective form of couples therapy that could help you and your partner strengthen your relationship. The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers this treatment both to individuals and to couples who qualify.
What Is Psychedelic Psychotherapy Treatment?
Psychedelic psychotherapy is the use of psychedelics in a therapeutic setting for the purpose of bringing you closer to your mental health goals. Hallucinogens have been used for thousands of years in spiritual practices. Although psychedelics are not illegal for recreational use in the United States, research in the last few decades supports the advantages of psychedelic psychotherapy.
If you participate in psychedelic psychotherapy, you’ll take a precise dosage of a psychedelic medicine while you’re with your therapist, who will support you while you experience the effects. Your therapist will supervise your experience to make sure you feel safe and comfortable, and, depending on the protocol, your therapist may use talk therapy to help guide you through your deep, introspective process.
As the medicine takes effect, patients often gain new insight and clarity into themselves and their lives. They report feeling like they can step away from themselves and look more objectively and compassionately at the challenges they’re facing. Psychedelic psychotherapy can provide a new sense of peace that many people struggle to achieve, especially when they’re struggling emotionally.
The therapy session following the psychedelic experience is a key part of the process as well. The therapist can help the patient draw conclusions based on the insight and emotions they had while the hallucinogens were in effect.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
The psychoactive drug ketamine is one of the most commonly used substances in psychedelic psychotherapy. Ketamine blocks glutamate, a neurotransmitter that may play a role in depression. The therapy can elevate your mood and help you overcome negative self-talk, which empowers you to live your life more positively.
From beginning to end, a ketamine assisted psychotherapy session can last up to a few hours. The effects of ketamine gradually build up and then diminish. This can be followed by a talk therapy session with your counselor so that you can process the experience.
When you have multiple sessions of psychedelic psychotherapy with ketamine, the benefits can build up for long-lasting results. You won’t feel the psychedelic properties after the ketamine wears off, but you will likely continue to feel the sense of peace and clarity that the medicine provides.
MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy
MDMA is considered by most people to be a party drug, but newer research suggests that it has mental health benefits. The substance causes the brain to release oxytocin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of love and trust. It may also decrease activity in the amygdala, the region of the brain that stories emotional memories and is linked to anger and fear.
Research into this form of therapy for couples is still in the trial phase, so you can expect to hear more about it in the coming years. Counselors at The Beverly Hills Therapy Group are currently participating in training to use MDMA for couples therapy, and we are looking forward to learning more about the benefits of this treatment.
Benefits of Psychedelic Psychotherapy for Couples
Psychedelic psychotherapy can have powerful effects for individuals and for couples. Traditional relationship counseling is often successful for helping partners learn to communicate and work through their challenges. However, when complex mental health issues are at play, you may feel drawn toward other treatment methods.
Psychedelic psychotherapy seems especially helpful for couples affected by PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma can affect every aspect of your life, including your ability to connect with your partner. People with PTSD may experience social isolation and intense fear, anger, or depression, and all of these struggles can test your relationship.
If you’re the partner of someone with a trauma background, you probably want to help but may not know how. It’s difficult to see your loved one in so much pain, and fear of further triggering them can be a major source of anxiety.
During psychedelic psychotherapy for couples, the hallucinogen has its individual benefits that aid in mental health treatment. At the same time, you and your partner can experience the relational benefits of the treatment. Many partners report that the therapy helped them grow closer together and form a stronger bond that lasted long after the treatment ended.
Psychedelics blur the boundaries of yourself, your environment, and the other people around you. This is an especially meaningful experience if you’ve been through trauma as it may allow you to let your guard down while still feeling safe and protected.
The benefits are similar for couples affected by depression. Feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem are common with depression, and all of these symptoms can make it more difficult to accept love from your partner. When your image of yourself and your life is so low, you may withdraw from your loved one because you don’t feel worthy of companionship. Psychedelic psychotherapy can break down that barrier and help you connect more strongly and more positively with your partner.
Even if you or your partner don’t struggle with a diagnosed mental health disorder, psychedelic psychotherapy can restore your sense of closeness if you’ve been drifting apart. Because of its effects on certain neurotransmitters in your brain, the treatment can help you feel happier, calmer, and more connected. It may renew the strong feelings of love you felt during the honeymoon phase of your relationship.
As the psychedelics wear off, you and your partner will talk about your experience with your therapist. It may feel easier to discuss your emotions, thoughts, and concerns in this state. You might have gained new insight from the psychedelics, and you may feel more open-minded when it comes to listening to your partner’s perspective. Instead of feeling combative or defensive when discussing a conflict, after taking psychedelics, you may feel more like a team tackling the issue together.
What to Expect During Your Session
You can’t truly know what it’s like to experience psychedelic psychotherapy until you try it. Learning about the steps in the process can put your mind at ease, though.
Because psychedelic psychotherapy can be an intense experience, your therapist will first evaluate whether or not it’s the right treatment for you and your partner. You’ll discuss your physical and mental health history, and you’ll talk about your goals for the therapy to make sure you have realistic expectations.
Feeling safe and secure during psychedelic psychotherapy is critical. If the treatment is provided by a therapist you’ve already been working with, you probably already feel comfortable around them. If you’re visiting a new therapist for the treatment, you’ll have at least one preliminary session to get to know one another and establish trust before the psychedelic session.
When it’s time, you and your partner will be administered the psychedelic dose. The two of you may feel like talking to each other while you experience the effects, or you may prefer to simply sit in each other’s presence. Partners often want to sit close to each other, hold hands, or cuddle during the session.
The length of the experience varies depending on which medicine is involved. For ketamine assisted therapy, you’ll likely start to feel the effects within 20 minutes of receiving the dose. The effects peak about 30 minutes after that, and then they wear off gradually. Most couples complete three to six sessions of ketamine assisted psychotherapy to achieve the long-lasting benefits of the treatment.
Psychedelic psychotherapy may seem like an unusual option, but it has helped countless individuals and couples work toward their mental, emotional, and spiritual goals. The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers ketamine assisted psychotherapy for partners who want to overcome mental illness, grow closer together, and renew the spark in their relationship and can refer you to a licensed psychiatrist to see if you qualify and they can prescribe the medication.