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are psychedelic assisted therapies making therapy cool?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


you may have noticed an increase of curiosity regarding psychedelics and possible therapeutic benefits, in particular with those who have experienced trauma. the use of psychedelics for healing and treatment is not a new concept, and holds significant history within indigenous communities who have been engaging in plant medicine with wisdom that supersedes western medicine. this blog is not intended to provide research or outcomes regarding psychedelics, nor is it an avenue to take a strong stance towards or against - instead, I would like to highlight three outcomes i am noticing through the increase of this conversation and the brilliant possibilities this trend may provide:




  1. increasing access to mental health services for those who may not access ‘traditional talk therapy’

there are many barriers to accessing mental health support such as finances, time, child-care, cultural safety, someone with my lived experiences ...the list can go on. however, a barrier that i witness through my caseload is a significant imbalance in the number of cis-men who access individual therapy. living within the system of patriarchy, it would make a lot of sense why i see less cis-men accessing therapeutic services, as i understand the messages that men receive from a very young age to repress their emotions (except anger), and to ‘fix’ or ‘solution’ things on their own (cue the celebration for independence!).


as a feminist therapist, i have a huge passion for working with cis-men as i see how patriarchy harms them as well; however, this passion has not translated into an increase in cis-men accessing services. what has been interesting, is witnessing other cis-men step forward into the mental health arena and discuss trauma and healing through the support of plant medicine. tim ferris, a popular podcast and author of entrepreneurial book phenomenon ‘the five hour work week’, brought plant medicine and trauma healing to light in 2019 around the height of popularity for Michael Pollan’s ‘How to Change Your Mind’. among many other influencers, i witnessed a surge in podcasts, articles, interviews etc. of cis-men discussing their trauma through the lens of healing with plant medicine. additionally, with psychedelic assisted therapy being unregulated in some areas, and navigating the grey area of this world, it also became kind of cool to talk about ‘underground therapy’...and up until that point, therapy wasn’t sold as cool to cis-men.


2. empowering client voices and choices regarding treatment options


what I am really loving about the psychedelic therapy movement, is that it is often strongly led by the client. there may be many reasons for this, one in particular is regarding the grey area of psychedelic assisted therapy while we await more research and outcomes from clinical trials etc. such research outcomes afford these type of therapies to be considered in traditional western medicine models. one of the benefits of navigating the grey area of psychedelic assisted therapy , is that there is less gatekeeping regarding access as clients can access services through both public and private models.



3. integration - the awareness that, ‘it isn’t a magic pill’


i am really comforted by the leaders in the areas of psychedelic assisted therapy and how they are reflecting that plant medicine isn’t a simple ‘quick fix’, and the recommendation for clients to attend integration sessions. integration sessions allow for clients to work with their therapist to process the experience and wisdom from plant medicine sessions and connect this with their present experiences.


if you are curious to learn more about psychedelic assisted therapy, and in particular the outcomes you may experience through integrated sessions, Dr. Hillary McBride was recently interviewed on the We Can Do Hard Things Podcast and provided a rich overview of both of these parts. additionally, the podcast references some excellent resources (books, documentaries, etc) that can be a launching pad to learn more and explore with curiosity if psychedelic assisted therapy may be an option for you.



additionally, clients and perspective clients can reach out to me directly (kristen@kristenhydescounselling.com) to discuss integration therapy sessions at kristen hydes counselling




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