So before we get into this topic you may question, with absolute validity, who exactly is it that is writing this article? With so much information out there this is an important question to ask yourself when researching any topic. Who is the writer? What is their intention? And where lies their bias?
So I am going to answer these questions because these are questions I ask myself before I consider information that is being offered to me. Yes you could call me a trip sitter, but really I’m a therapist who works with people both with and without psychedelics. I combine psychedelic journeys with therapeutic methods, as psychedelics give us access to a state of consciousness which is incredibly fertile ground for profound healing and change to take place. Many trip sitters offer this, but it is certainly not required as a trip sitter. A trip sitter by definition is a person who remains sober to ensure the safety of the drug user while he or she is under the influence of a drug. Therapeutic guidance is not a prerequisite.
My intention in writing this article is to share my own personal experience using a trip sitter and therapist with psychedelics. To help people come to a clear decision about what is right for them when embarking upon a psychedelic journey and to help people get the very most out of their experience so they can begin to move from the discomfort and pain they are experiencing in their lives and into a place of peace, joy and excitement.
So am I biased? Maybe I am. But the fact of the matter is that as a trip sitter myself, with years of experience in the field of therapy, countless tools and methods to use while tripping within my own psychology, years of experience of conscious psychedelic use and years of experience guiding others through psychedelic experiences. I, still never trip without a trip sitter! That’s not to say I haven’t. I have, I went inward, I explored myself alone, I tripped alone, I healed alone. Yes it was powerful, no it wasn’t very safe, yes it was exciting, it was mind-altering and expansive and fascinating, but at times it was also really fucking lonely. It was also limiting. I reached a cap within my expansion and life was not changing the way I had hoped it would. Yes I felt better, yes I could manage my emotions better than ever before, yes I liked myself more but I still felt alone, I still felt insecure about so much and the shifts I had expected to see in my life considering how much inner work I had done were nowhere to be seen.
What I realised was this. Life wants us to connect, life wants us to be seen, life wants us to share our pain, our joy, our suffering, our desires, our whole beautiful selves, our darkness and our light. We are not supposed to go it alone, we are not supposed to heal ourselves, we are not supposed to be independent. OUR SOULS ARE YEARNING FOR CONNECTION AND TRUE HEALING IS FOUND WITHIN THAT CONNECTION! Our pain is waiting to be seen, to be know, to be comforted. Without being shared it will either drown within us, taking our soul with it or it will repeat itself over and over in our lives until the discomfort is unbearable.
OUR SOULS ARE YEARNING FOR CONNECTION AND TRUE HEALING IS FOUND WITHIN THAT CONNECTION!
Our pain is waiting to be seen, to be know, to be comforted. Without being shared it will either drown within us, taking our soul with it or it will repeat itself over and over in our lives until the discomfort is unbearable.
Psychedelics are catalysts in bringing unresolved wounds up from the past. Psychedelic experiences offer us a beautiful window to connect with our pain, for us to recognise it, to see it. They also offer us a window to connect with our joy and the suppressed aspects of self that we long to set free. Yes this is an incredibly healing experience if we can do it alone, however it becomes so much more real and powerful, when it is shared.
For me this meant choosing a “trip sitter” who offered more than just keeping me physically safe. If you trip to journey into other dimensions and leave your current life behind or if you trip simply to experience psychedelics visions, a trip sitter who keeps you physically safe is enough. I, however wanted to use psychedelics to heal wounds from my past and create significant change in my life, so using a therapist as a trip sitter was what I felt was best for me. Somebody who could be there with me in my emotions, who could provide missing experiences that would help me to resolve trauma., help me shift the belief systems that were holding me back and could move me though potentially challenging moments within the journey, turning what could be considered a “bad trip” into some of the most significant moments of my life.
Much of our trauma, trauma being the events in our life which caused distress without resolve, and is repeating itself in our life today, through painful relationships or lack of love and so on, was caused within relationship. Much of this trauma was caused by the rejection of parts of ourselves through either the process of socialisation – “Its not ok to be emotional in public”, for example, causing us to suppress the part of us who is naturally expressive. Or through the rejection of parts of ourselves from those around us, care givers, teachers, siblings parents and so on. “ Its not ok to be angry” for example, causing us to reject the part of us who is empowered and expresses anger. Much of our trauma was also caused not by what happened to us in childhood, but by what did not happen. The missing experiences. The affection that wasn’t given, the pain that wasn’t seen, the desires that were ignored, the love that wasn’t shown, the validation that wasn’t offered.
THESE TRAUMAS THAT HAPPENED WITHIN RELATIONSHIP MUST BE HEALED WITHIN RELATIONSHIP – NOT ALONE BUT WITH ANOTHER HUMAN BEING!
And yes often the first step towards healing often is to see our own pain and to begin to develop a sense of self-worth inwardly. And yes, without this no amount of external validation will ever make us feel enough. However, likewise without external validation, without our pain ever being seen by another human being, without another person being able to say “That was not ok for you”, “Who you are is enough” or “That was never anything to be ashamed of” our healing cannot fully resolve. We are interdependent beings whose existence depends on connection. When our trauma is caused through connection or lack there of, our souls journey becomes a journey to find resolve through healthy, loving connection.
OUR SOUL IS CALLING FOR US TO CONNECT!
Real change did not happen for me until I reached out to connect, until I started to get vulnerable, really vulnerable with people. When I took off the mask and began to show people who I really am. When I began to share myself and had that real me received and shown she was enough, that she was lovable, that she could be seen. When I allowed myself to receive support. When I showed my pain, allowing others to recognise theirs whilst simultaneously recognising that I was actually creating connection through receiving…..giving connection through receiving. When I realised that the inner strength I had developed to do everything myself was actually a coping mechanism for having to. Whilst this had served me, especially as a child it was now the source of my suffering as it was keeping me independent….. keeping me alone. It was time for me to redefine the word strength back to it’s true meaning, to its’ essence, not as an ability to cope, which is what we are taught strength is, but as vulnerability and an ability to share, to connect, a true strength which I now needed to develop.
Psychedelics, meditation, inner work, self-love practices all of these things have been paramount tools in my journey. They’ve all helped me significantly to move away from the conditioning which kept me stuck. But did they heal me? I would say not directly. What they did do was help me to uncover the blocks that held me from connection. They continue to help me let down the walls that limit my capacity to love. But safe human connection – love, is what I feel has been my greatest healer, teacher and reason for living. For me that came first in the form of a trip sitter whom I could open up to, who gave me the experience of safe connection which I had previously never known. Once experienced I could then create this in my own life and welcome connection, friendship, love in. Where would I be without taking that first step towards safe connection? I am beyond thankful to say, I guess I’ll never know.
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Photography Credit: Unknown