Psilocybin Assisted Therapy vs. Traditional Talking Therapy
Let’s discuss the distinctions and benefits between psilocybin assisted therapy, also known as magic mushroom therapy, and traditional talking therapy.
Understanding Traditional Talking Therapy
For those not familiar, traditional talking therapy generally involves meeting with a trained psychotherapist or psychologist and discussing your issues over sessions typically lasting an hour to an hour and a half. These sessions might occur on a weekly or monthly basis. You build a relationship with your psychotherapist, create a safe space, and work together to navigate your mental health concerns.
In talking therapy, your psychotherapist doesn’t provide advice but rather facilitates a process through which you find your own inner guidance. This form of therapy is instrumental for individuals seeking a nonjudgmental space where they can feel heard and seen.
What is Psilocybin Assisted Therapy?
On the other hand, psilocybin therapy involves consuming “magic mushrooms” or “magic truffles” and embarking on a journey that lasts approximately six hours. Contrary to the connotations this might conjure, it’s not a wild and reckless act. Instead, you’ll work with your psilocybin therapist to establish a meaningful intention for your journey, targeting personal problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or feeling unfulfilled in life.
The consumption of psilocybin happens in a controlled environment and typically in countries where it’s legal, one notable destination being the Netherlands. There are two typical forms of psilocybin therapy:
- The therapist creates a safe space for you while you explore your thoughts and feelings with minimal interference.
- The therapist actively engages in therapy with you during your psilocybin experience.
Psilocybin assisted therapy tends to go deeper than traditional therapy due to the introspective and profound journey it facilitates.
“Psilocybin can create a safe space for you to reexperience and process past trauma, activating different brain regions to help you more comfortably process emotions.”
Benefits and Challenges of Traditional and Psilocybin Therapy
Like any therapy modality, both talking therapy and psilocybin therapy have their benefits and challenges. Not every approach suits every person or every problem, so it’s crucial to evaluate both before deciding.
Talking therapy can create a safe, regular space for you to discuss your problems, ensuring you feel heard and validated. However, this method brings a certain barrier in reaching and liberating deeply rooted emotional traumas.
“Our childhood experiences shape us, and traumatic memories can resurface as adults inducing intense reactions. In talking therapy, discussing these deeply ingrained emotions might not be sufficient for healing.”
Here’s where psilocybin therapy can show its strengths, providing a deep therapy that reaches difficult emotions and helps process traumatic memories. The brain’s neuroplasticity activated during a psilocybin journey might make it easier for you to access difficult-to-reach emotions.
However, psilocybin also has limitations. Without a knowledgeable therapist, in the worst case scenario, can lead to re-traumatisation. This form of therapy cannot be practiced on a weekly basis like talking therapy. And for the best results, you ought to combine psilocybin therapy with regular talking therapy sessions.
Combining traditional therapy with psilocybin therapy
By combining traditional therapy with psilocybin therapy, you can cover all the bases and progress in healing whatever issue you might be going through. It’s essential, however, that you ensure the legality and safety of your psilocybin sessions, seek professional help, and prepare appropriately for the emotional revelations that might arise.
The healing path is unique to each individual, and it’s important to find the approach that works best for you.
Photo by Kylli Sparre.