How to become a Psychedelic Integration Coach?

Dec 23 / Amánda & Sascha
As interest in psychedelic experiences grows, so does the need for knowledgeable and passionate practitioners who can help individuals in their integration path to make sense of their journeys. You may already be part of the psychedelic movement, but not sure yet where to start supporting your clients with integration.

10 minutes to read

In this article, we'll explore the steps to becoming a psychedelic integration coach, offering insights into its role and the recommended skills, training, and mindset required for this unique and impactful profession.

What is a Psychedelic Integration Coach?

Before diving into its role, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of what psychedelic integration coaching (PIC) is. These professionals assist clients in integrating and making sense of their psychedelic experiences into their lives, whether induced by substances such as psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca, or non-substance induced, such as breathwork or meditation. They aim to help individuals process and understand the insights, emotions, and experiences that may arise during or after a psychedelic session.

The term "integration" in this context refers to the process of incorporating the lessons and revelations from a psychedelic experience into one's personal and daily life. Psychedelic experiences can be profound and transformative, but without proper integration, people may struggle to apply the insights gained in a meaningful way. If you are not yet comfortable with the concept of Psychedelic Integration, check out this article dedicated to the topic What is Psychedelic Integration.

Psychedelic integration coaches often come from various backgrounds, including mental health professionals, therapists, facilitators of altered state experiences, and other professionals in the fields of health and wellbeing. It's important to note that the role of a psychedelic integration coach is distinct from that of a psychedelic therapist, as coaches do not themselves guide psychedelic therapy sessions but rather focus on integration and support. That said, more and more psychedelic therapists are now motivated to seek further training in integration support to complement their role as psychedelic therapists.

What is the Role of a Psychedelic Integration Coach?

Their responsibilities include not just the integration phase but also supporting their clients through the different steps of the psychedelic path, including:

  1. Preparation: Offering guidance on preparing for a psychedelic experience, including creating a safe and comfortable setting, assessing someone's inner set (where they are emotionally, physically, and spiritually upon embarking on a psychedelic journey), setting intentions, and addressing any risks, concerns, or fears.
  2. Support during the journey: Providing a framework for individuals to navigate the psychedelic experience, managing challenging emotions or thoughts that may arise, and fostering a sense of safety.
  3. Post-experience integration: Helping clients take a step back and make sense of their experiences, translating insights into actionable steps for personal growth, and addressing any challenges or unresolved issues.
  4. Emotional support: Supporting clients in developing a mindset towards positive change, cultivating emotional resilience, and fostering a sense of well-being.
  5. Education: Offering information on the science of psychedelics, different types of substances, potential risks, ethics, and benefits to empower clients with knowledge.

Coaches often offer one-on-one sessions to their clients in which they will explore both the details of their psychedelic experience (emotions and challenges) but also help the individual identify ways in which they can apply what they learned from their experience to their daily life, through actions such as goal setting and lifestyle changes.
This work is often complemented by group integration workshops during psychedelic retreats, online resources, and community support.

What is the Difference Between Psychedelic Integration and Psychedelic Assisted Therapy?

This is a question often asked by the community. Psychedelic integration is not the same as psychedelic assisted therapy.
While psychedelic integration focuses on providing support and guidance after the psychedelic experience has taken place, psychedelic assisted therapy involves the use of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin, MDMA, or LSD, within a therapeutic context, guided by trained therapists or clinicians.

Therefore, to guide an individual during a psychedelic assisted therapy session, a professional requires additional training within a specific psychedelic substance, often including specialized training regarding specific protocols, dosages, and contraindications such as physical conditions or mental health concerns like PTSD or depression.

Altogether, both play a crucial role in psychedelic therapy, contributing to mental health and personal growth.

What Skills Do You Need?

The Set of Skills to become a psychedelic integration coach

To become an effective integration coach, you will need to acquire a set of skills, namely:

  • Active listening skills: A key differentiator when becoming a good integration coach is understanding clients’ experiences and challenges. This requires strong interpersonal skills to be able to empathize with them, without judgment or excessive directivity.
  • Empathy skills: A deep sense of empathy is crucial for connecting with clients on a personal level and understanding the emotional and psychological aspects of their psychedelic journeys.
  • Therapeutic skills: Knowledge of therapeutic techniques and modalities is important for helping clients process and integrate their experiences. This includes skills such as cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness, and trauma-informed approaches.
  • Communication skills: Clear and effective communication is vital for explaining concepts, guiding clients through integration processes, and facilitating productive discussions.
  • Problem-solving and crisis management: Psychedelic experiences can be complex, and clients may face challenges during their journeys. A practitioner should have strong problem-solving skills to help clients navigate difficulties or face potential crises or challenging moments that may arise during or after sessions.

"A key differentiator when becoming a good integration coach is understanding clients’ experiences and challenges."

How to Become a Psychedelic Integration Coach?

Complete Specialized Integration Training

Since coaches come from very different backgrounds, they typically receive specific training to understand the unique aspects of psychedelic experiences and possess the skills needed to guide individuals through the integration process. One path to becoming an integration coach is to enroll in training programs designed by integration experts that cover topics such as ethics and specific integration frameworks. Check out the 6-week “Psychedelic Integration Training for Professionals” made specifically for practitioners of diverse fields, including coaches, who wish to deepen their knowledge and skills within integration support.

Build a Network Within the Psychedelic Community

Connect with professionals through trainings, workshops, mentoring to stay updated on the latest research, exchange best practices, and understand the challenges other coaches can face in their practice.

Stay Current With Legal and Ethical Standards

Keep yourself informed about the latest legal status of psychedelics in the areas where you practice or have clients. Adhering to ethical guidelines in your professional practice is essential to reassure your clients and ensure compliance with local regulations. Familiarity with the legal landscape is vital for delivering coaching services that are both safe and responsible.

Becoming a psychedelic integration coach is a multifaceted profession that demands training, skill development, and the establishment of a specialized network. By following these steps, you can achieve professional fulfillment that will not only help individuals in their psychedelic journeys but also significantly contribute to the conversation surrounding consciousness and mental health.
Amánda Argot Efthimiou is a psychedelic wellness educator, coach, and facilitator bridging neuroscience with sacred traditions. She founded INTEGRA to design altered-state integration programs & training for professionals. She has extensive experience through her non-profit work facilitating bio-culture preservation of indigenous medicines in the Amazon basin. She received her MSc in Neuroscience and Psychology of Mental Health where she focused on the integrative effects of plant-based medicines with traditional psychotherapy.
Sascha Anna Vriend is a certified Clinical Psychologist also trained in Body Psychotherapy (Bioenergetics, Biosynthesis, Vegetotherapy, breath work, expressive art therapy, and Integrative Massage), as well as altered states of consciousness. She's worked extensively supporting people with Trauma, chronic illness, and other emotionally challenging conditions within one-to-one, group, and community settings. She believes in being of service within an inside-out philosophy, where transformation starts within the individual and emanates to their relationships, community, and wider ecosystem.
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