Integrating Psychedelics

Integrating psychedelics can be the difference between having a unique one-off experience or gaining a lifetime of healing.
Hands holding mushrooms
Author: Nina Izel
By Nina Izel
October 14, 2022

Integrating psychedelics can be the difference between having a unique one-off experience or gaining a lifetime of healing. Join Nina Izel as we explore how to begin integrating psychedelics. (Image credit Mush Stock)

The How and Why of Integrating Psychedelics

Before answering these questions, let’s define what integration really means in this context.

Integrating psychedelics refers to the process of integrating deeper insights and understandings into your everyday life – in other words creating real, visible, long-lasting changes for the better.

Integration also refers to the process of bringing into balance/alignment the different aspects of the individual self – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Most of us exist on a certain level of separation and fragmentation due to trauma and the conditioning of the mind. When fragmented, we experience physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual crisis and imbalance. The healing or awakening process is integration of the fragmented self and the return to our original state of wholeness and balance.

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Integrating psychedelics is a participatory process. The medicine did its part during the ceremony by expanding your awareness, but it is up to you what you will do with that after.

The medicine is not going to heal you, only you can do that. You must take the steps and make the necessary changes. This is the integration process.

How Long does Integrating Psychedelics Take?

One of the most common questions people ask is how long is the integration process?

This really depends on the individual and defined by the intention that was set for the journey in the preparation process. For example, if somebody’s intention is to heal a physical, mental, emotional ailment – like cancer or depression – then their integration process would end when the healing occurs and there is no more imbalance.

It is my experience working with the powerful Mother Ayahuasca specifically, that most people have around a yearlong active integration for long lasting changes to happen.

Having 2 integration circles after your ceremony is only the beginning of your integration process! Real change takes time. Integration happens in layers that must be cleared out in order to go to the root of your problems.

The integration process is an inward journey whose effects manifest outward in your physical reality. In other words, when you change things inside, things will change around you, in your life, in your relationships. In the center of this journey is your Self and your identity, and more precisely, re-defining your relationship with yourself and therefore your place in this world. Yes, it’s all about self-love and acceptance in the end!

What are the Benefits of Integrating Psychedelics?

Conscious integration happens when you work on yourself in a therapeutic container with professional guidance. During this process there is a fundamental shift in perception based on how you define yourself and your place in the world. In other words, your values, ethics and priorities change for the better. This naturally results in a change in behavior that will create a visible change in your life long-term.

Common milestones on the integration path:

  • maturity, expanded awareness, authenticity
  • taking responsibility
  • confidence, conscious creation, self-empowerment
  • clarity, connecting with life purpose, higher path
  • better relationships, healthy boundaries
  • self-love and acceptance
milestones in psychedelic integration

While it is always quite personal, there are some common elements of this journey.

  • Emotional and spiritual maturity can result.
  • Reclaiming your right to feel and embracing your emotional nature and healthy emotional expression. Learning to follow your inner guidance.
  • Recognizing yourself as a spiritual being having a human experience.
  • Becoming aware of the sacredness of all life.
  • Leaving behind the victim and the blame and taking full responsibility for your life.
  • Healing the inner child and making peace with your past.

All this will result in a more authentic expression of yourself – more empowered, clearer, and more confident. You will not feel like a powerless victim anymore; you will see yourself as a confident creator.

There is an alignment with your higher path/destiny and a willingness to follow your unique path of service. Things will move with more ease and grace in your daily life, and you feel more equipped and experienced to navigate the difficult moments.

Connection and Community

You will connect with like-minded people and community. You will be able to create healthy and loving relationships, communicate better, and have healthy boundaries. Cooperation will shift into focus as you understand deeper the oneness and interconnectedness of all nature. You are finding your place in the world. You will have more clarity and purpose and you will be more responsible and deliberate with your creations, moving toward conscious manifestation.

community and psychedelic integration

But most important of all, you will start knowing, loving, accepting and embracing yourself, all parts of you, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. We all just want to give and receive love, and we want to know ourselves as part of that love. This love comes from within and flows out into your life.

The Mother Ayahuasca (and other powerful teacher plants) and conscious integration will assist you in remembering this love within your heart and expanding it out into your life. This is the real gift of healing and integration.

Unconscious Integration

I believe that all energy flows towards equilibrium and balance. This means that the natural movement of energy is always toward integration and wholeness. Plant medicines will catalyze/speed up this process. So actually, you are always in an integration process, even if you don’t do any conscious integration, it will still happen or at least try to happen.

But the fact is, that when you are ignorant as to what is happening and why, you often hinder this integration process. Without conscious integration, you are most likely to regress back into your old behaviors. When you don’t have tools and deeper understanding to navigate intense moments, you will resist change and get stuck in your self-defeating patterns. Without a safe container and proper guidance, you are more likely to get lost, stuck, confused and isolated.

Pitfalls of integration path:

  • regressing back to old patterns, lack of long-term, long-lasting change
  • staying stuck in suffering (victim mode, blame)
  • feeling lost, confused, and lonely
  • magnification of the Ego, God complex, trapped in the shadow aspect
  • a long and very challenging process that might never complete

What is the Role of a Professional Guide?

Your best asset during your integration process is an experienced guide/healer/teacher/therapist who can create a safe therapeutic container where deep healing and transformation can happen. This person can help with:

  • creating a safe container
  • providing tools and guidance
  • providing comfort, reassurance
  • expanding awareness

The integration process can be very intense and overwhelming sometimes. An experienced guide will help you to surrender, rather than resist in difficult moments so you can move forward with more ease and grace. Your guide will assist you to expand your awareness even more and see your shadow aspects, so healing can occur. They will teach you useful tools and practices that you can use in your life to stay centered, open, and grounded.

Psychedelic integration is a deep shadow work process. Some people refer to it as the dark night of the soul. Yes, you can do it alone, but you are not meant to. Support is always available.

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Author: Nina Izel
Nina Izel
Nina Izel is a healer, teacher, and author of the book: Heart Medicine, Ayahuasca Assisted Therapy and the Integration Process. Nina combines psychology, holistic healing tools and shamanic healing technologies to assist individuals to take back the power over their health and life. Nina's motto is "You are the healer and love is the medicine!" Learn more at Nina's website or her Psychedelic Support community group.

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