How to Find a Peer Treatment Monitor
Psychedelic therapy’s healing path is never walked alone.
Along with a licensed clinician and expert guide, there’s another important role in psychedelic medicine treatment: the “Peer Treatment Monitor.”
This resource explores why Peer Treatment Monitors are necessary, and how you can find one to work with.
What is a Peer Treatment Monitor?
A Peer Treatment Monitor (PTM) is an individual, often a friend or loved one, who holds space for you by being physically present during your medicinal sessions.
Why Mindbloom® requires a PTM
Mindbloom® requires that all clients have a PTM physically present for each session, regardless if they’re Virtual Visit sessions with your Guide, or self-guided sessions.
A PTM’s primary role is to help ensure your safety and comfort throughout your at-home medicinal sessions. Helping you to achieve effective outcomes from the session is their main objective.
Some of the duties a PTM assists with include:
- Provide ongoing check-ins during the medicinal session
- Providing assistance during and after the session, if needed
- Being a direct point of contact between you and your Guide during your session
- Serving as emotional support, or a helpful presence if you request it
Given the critical role a PTM plays, it’s important to enlist someone you trust, or a neutral party with experience holding space for those choosing psychedelic therapy.
Below are some suggestions on how to find a trustworthy Peer Treatment Monitor.
How to find the right Peer Treatment Monitor
For some, their PTM choice is clear and immediate. It might be your partner, a parent, or a friend, roommate, or close connection.
For others, the decision may not be as easy or immediately possible. You may not have a direct support network where you are living. Or, individuals in your life may not be supportive of psychedelic medicine work. This minor obstacle can be easily overcome, and options are discussed below.
No matter who you choose, your Peer Treatment Monitor should optimally be:
- Trustworthy, whether through a personal connection or prior vetting
- Willing to hold space for you, and entirely focused on your needs while present
- Open to psychedelic healing, or non-judgemental about the subject
- Caring, or able to patient and present as you navigate your journey
How much of the PTM’s time is needed?
Your PTM’s physical presence will only be needed for around 1.5-2 hours. This is why the best candidate is usually someone who lives with you, lives close by, or is able to lend their time through a short commute.
Does your PTM need to be the same person every session?
While an in-person PTM is required for your medicinal sessions, it doesn’t have to be the same person each and every session. “Unbroken continuity” with the same PTM throughout your therapeutic programming can be beneficial, but it is not a requirement.
This understanding alone can provide some flexibility when looking for a PTM.
Asking close connections (partners, family, or friends) to be your Peer Treatment Monitor
If possible, working with individuals whom you already have an established relationship and deeper trust with is recommended.
Psychedelic healing experiences may be sensitive and deeply personal. Established trust contributes to additional feelings of safety and openness while in the experience.
Here are a few ways you can ask someone close to be your PTM:
“I’m working on personal growth for the benefit of my mental health, and I’m wondering if I could ask you to be present during my ketamine therapy session? You’re someone I appreciate and trust. My Mindbloom Guide will brief you on the entire process, and I’ll only need you there for me for 1.5-2 hours.”
“You may have heard about psychedelic therapy, and after doing my own research, I decided it’s a tool I’ll use in my healing and growth. As a personal favor, may I ask you to be present during my session(s)?”
One option to continue your work with someone close or trusted is to travel to someone else’s residence, whether near or far. Ketamine is a clinician-prescribed medication, so you can travel with it, or bring it on flights.
It’s common for friends or loved ones to have questions about their expectations as a PTM, even if they’re open to holding this space for you. This should be expected, and welcomed! Feel free to share our PTM overview with them, so that they better understand the role.
It’s also natural for those close to you to be under-educated or unsure about psychedelic medicine, or have personal concerns that can be alleviated. Our guide on how to explain psychedelic therapy to people in your life may be of help.
Asking those outside your circle to be your Peer Treatment Monitor
If you do not have an immediate support network to assist with your healing journey, that’s ok!
While the best Peer Treatment Monitor option remains those you have existing relationships or established trust with, there are several options available to you if you need additional assistance finding a PTM.
Leverage psychedelic therapy facilitators, or “trip sitters”
Surprisingly to some, there are many trained and experienced psychedelic facilitators around the world, even near you.
These facilitators often have experience holding space in, and maintaining the integrity of medicinal sessions. This includes an understanding of the nature of the experience, and a history of helping guide others through their experiences.
Seeking and reaching out to these individuals in your area is a great option. However, be sure to personally vet them if they weren’t recommended by a trusted contact. Asking for proof of experience and/or personal references is appropriate.
Ask neighbors, or friendly connections
Even if you’re not fully acquainted, working with those in close proximity to your home is an option.
A supportive neighbor in your building or area may be able to help. Their time and energy requirement is relatively minimal, and they can directly contact your Guide with any questions that they have.
Another option is to ask someone you are often friendly with, but not officially connected to. Perhaps you’ve had frequent conversations with someone in your hallway, or have chatted with them on overlapping walks with pets.
You may broach the subject by asking “Have you heard about psychedelic therapy in the news recently”? You may find they’re quite interested.
Always share that ketamine is a legal, clinician-prescribed medicine, and that both you and they will be supported by Mindbloom’s Care Team during the process.
Mindbloom’s Guide and Clinical teams have worked with many clients who have found PTMs through Care.com.
While there may be an additional cost, this option allows you to continue with treatment if none of the previous options are available.
Safety and security should always be a client’s number one priority when approaching psychedelic therapy. Peer Treatment Monitors are an indispensable part of this process, and at Mindbloom they are a required component of medicinal sessions.
Working with trusted individuals you’re personally close to is preferable. However, you have alternate options through personal travel, networks of expert facilitators, or caring neighbors.
If you have any questions or concerns about the PTM selection process, or could use some support or assistance, reach out to your Mindbloom Guide. They will help you overcome any obstacles, and help you take the next steps on your healing journey.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at +1 (800) 273-8255, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.