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Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy protocol

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and the Johns Hopkins University have developed a comprehensive protocol for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, including guidelines for trip sitting. This protocol ensures a safe and supportive environment for individuals undergoing therapeutic experiences with psychedelics. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of the MAPS and Johns Hopkins protocol for trip sitting in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that utilizes psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin or MDMA, in conjunction with psychotherapy techniques. The goal is to facilitate deep emotional healing and personal growth. However, due to the profound and potentially intense nature of psychedelic experiences, it is crucial to have trained professionals called trip sitters to guide and support individuals throughout the journey.

The role of a trip sitter is to create a safe and comfortable setting for the participant, ensuring physical and emotional well-being. The following guidelines are outlined in the MAPS and Johns Hopkins protocol for trip sitting:


1. Training and Qualifications: Trip sitters should have extensive knowledge about psychedelics, their effects, and potential risks. They should also possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. Training programs, such as those offered by MAPS, can provide trip sitters with the necessary tools and knowledge. 2. Preparing the Setting: Trip sitters must create a conducive environment for the psychedelic experience. This includes selecting a comfortable and quiet location, adjusting lighting to suit the individual's preferences, and providing access to essential amenities like water and a bathroom. 3. Building Trust and Rapport: Establishing a trusting relationship between the trip sitter and the participant is crucial. The trip sitter should spend time getting to know the individual, addressing any concerns or anxieties they may have, and explaining the process and potential effects of the psychedelic substance. 4. Emotional Support: Throughout the psychedelic journey, the trip sitter should offer emotional support, reassurance, and encouragement. They should actively listen to the participant's thoughts, feelings, and experiences, providing a non-judgmental and compassionate presence. 5. Physical Safety: Ensuring the physical safety of the participant is paramount. Trip sitters should regularly check on the individual, ensuring they are comfortable, hydrated, and not at risk of harm. They should be prepared to handle any medical emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. 6. Guiding the Experience: Trip sitters may offer guidance during the psychedelic experience by suggesting exploratory questions or facilitating a process of self-reflection. However, they should avoid imposing their own beliefs or interpretations on the participant's experience. 7. Integration Support: After the psychedelic journey, trip sitters play a vital role in the integration process. They should help the participant reflect on and make sense of their experience, providing resources for further support if needed. Integration involves incorporating insights and lessons from the journey into everyday life. 8. Self-Care for Trip Sitters: Trip sitting can be emotionally demanding. It is essential for trip sitters to prioritize self-care and seek support from peers or supervisors. Regular debriefing sessions and ongoing training can help trip sitters maintain their own well-being.


The MAPS and Johns Hopkins protocol for trip sitting in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy aims to create a safe, supportive, and transformative experience for participants. By adhering to these guidelines, trip sitters can help individuals navigate the depths of their psyche and facilitate the healing potential of psychedelics. Remember, trip sitting should always be conducted by trained professionals in a legal and ethical context, prioritizing the well-being and safety of all involved.


Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy Protocol




Here are some resources that can provide further information and support regarding psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, trip sitting, and related topics:


1. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS): The official website of MAPS provides a wealth of information on psychedelic research, therapy, and training programs. Visit: https://maps.org/ 2. The Third Wave: An online platform that offers educational resources, guides, and podcasts on responsible psychedelic use and integration. They also provide a comprehensive guide on trip sitting. Visit: https://thethirdwave.co/ 3. Zendo Project: The Zendo Project, run by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), focuses on harm reduction and provides peer support services for challenging psychedelic experiences at events and festivals. Visit: https://zendoproject.org/ 4. Heffter Research Institute: Heffter Research Institute supports scientific research on psychedelic substances, including psilocybin and LSD, to explore their therapeutic potential. Their website offers resources and information on ongoing studies. Visit: https://heffter.org/ 5. Erowid: Erowid is a vast online library of information about psychoactive substances, including experiences, research articles, and harm reduction resources. Visit: https://www.erowid.org/ 6. The Beckley Foundation: The Beckley Foundation supports and promotes scientific research into psychoactive substances and their potential benefits. Their website provides access to research papers and publications. Visit: https://www.beckleyfoundation.org/ 7. Psychedelic Science: A biennial conference organized by MAPS that brings together leading researchers, therapists, and advocates in the field of psychedelic science. The conference provides a platform for sharing knowledge and advancements. Visit: https://www.psychedelicscience.org/ 8. Books: There are several books available that explore the topic of psychedelic therapy and trip sitting. Some recommended titles include "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide" by James Fadiman, "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan, and "The Art of Holding Space" by Dr. Tessa Burnhard.

Remember, it is crucial to approach psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapy with caution and responsibility. Always seek professional guidance and adhere to local laws and regulations.


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