In the context of psychedelic therapy or psychedelic medicine, the role of “Guide” comes up often. Let’s explore what exactly this role entails, and how a Guide helps on your healing journey at Mindbloom.
What Exactly Is a “Guide?”
In working with psychedelic or dissociative medicine, a “Guide” wears many different hats.
On one end of the spectrum, this can be a person who does nothing more than sit for a journeyer, or client in a modern context. On the other end, considering the adaptation of this role historically, this might be a Shaman who traditionally would enter and navigate the medicine space for the person seeking help, but today more commonly holds and facilitates the space for journeyers by preparing and serving the medicine —sometimes offering prayers, songs, rituals and blessings— and stepping in to facilitate challenging scenarios when needed.
At Mindbloom, the role of your Guide is to support you in preparing both your mindset and physical setting for each journey, answering any questions that arise throughout your process, and holding space for anything you’d like to share and support you through your integration process.
What Is Integration and How Does a Guide Help With This Process?
Think of integration first as the process of receiving, unpacking and processing each experience and then setting goals and establishing practices to work towards these goals. We do this to maximize benefits from each experience by taking any insights gained and implementing them into our daily lives to facilitate lasting transformation.
Let’s provide an overview of what each of these steps will look like:
- First, unpacking is the process of writing down or expressing any thoughts, emotions, visualizations, sensations or anything else that arises in your journeys.
- Next, with the support of your Guide, you will process what you’ve received by digging into what you’ve unpacked and feeling what it means for you. With this, there may be one to several key insights or takeaways that are drawn from this processing.
- After that, perhaps there is a smaller goal that is feeling achievable that will help work towards the original reason you were called to this treatment. Your guide will support you in feeling out a goal that feels approachable, and will then help you to decide on a daily or regular practice that will support in reaching this goal.
These experiences can be incredibly powerful and transformative, but without integration, they eventually become nothing more than distant memories. In order to make the most of treatments, emphasis needs to be placed on the integration process.
What Will My Experience Be Like and How Can My Guide Support?
Ketamine can be safe and relatively gentle compared to many other psychedelic medicines, however there is still a wide range of “felt” experiences that can occur. Regardless of whether you’ve had a seemingly mild or challenging experience, your Guide will be with you every step of the way to help maximize benefits and gracefully “land” —your return from the felt experience. Each guide works closely with one of our licensed Clinicians to ensure optimal care and support for every scenario possible.
While it is possible to encounter an emotionally or mentally challenging experience, with attention to and support with integration, these are often opportunities for the biggest steps towards growth and transformation. Your Guide is skilled on how to support you in landing from these experiences and also throughout the integration process.
What Will My Relationship With My Guide Look Like?
Throughout your Mindbloom journey, your Guide will support you both virtually on video and through unlimited text support. Your Guide will also reach out via text throughout your treatment, and you are able to message them at any time, for any reason (i.e. treatment questions, preparation/integration assistance, tech support or anything else).
Below is an an overview of the journey’s flow and your Guide’s involvement:
Your first session
Your Guide will reach out via text a couple of times before your first at-home Mindbloom treatment, to support you in preparation and intention setting. You will then meet virtually on video before your first session for a preparation call to help you set up for and navigate the experience and also finalize intentions.
After your first treatment, you will be re-joined on video by both your Guide and your Clinician to ensure your safety, support with integration, and make a suitable plan for treatment moving forward with your remaining three sessions.
Your second session
Your Guide will text you before your second treatment to check-in on your intentions and answer any questions. One to three days after your session, you'll meet with your Guide on video for an in-depth Integration Coaching Session where they will support you in unpacking the experience, drawing meaning, setting a goal, and deciding on a practice to facilitate your integration process.
Your third through sixth sessions
No need to schedule these sessions with your Guide, but please continue to follow preparation and integration best-practices and coordinate with your Peer Treatment Monitor. Your Guide will still be available by text to support you every step of the way.
You'll see your Guide again for a final “Wrap-Up Call” following your sixth session, where you'll tie together insights from the overall experience, get tips for ongoing integration, and answer any questions about treatment options moving forward.
Additional support options during your journey
If you would like to have additional virtual, on video integration support, we have two supportive options.
First, you will have unlimited access to our Integration Circles following your second session. Integration Circles provide a safe and supported space to share your experiences with the medicine and also hear about the experiences of your peers. These will always be facilitated by one of our Mindbloom Guides.
Additionally, in your client portal you can purchase 1:1 Integration Coaching sessions (45 minutes) with your Guide to go deeper into processing each experience.
Your Guide is Your Dedicated Support System
Your Guide is here to be your unwavering support system throughout this experience. We want to honor you for stepping into this process and making such a beautiful commitment to your healing and your growth while trusting us to guide you on your 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.
Important FDA Safety Information
Ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression or anxiety. Learn more about off-label uses here.
Side effects of ketamine treatment may include: altered sense of time, anxiety, blurred vision, diminished ability to see/hear/feel, dry mouth, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure, excitability, loss of appetite, mental confusion, nausea/vomiting, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), restlessness, slurred speech, synesthesia (a mingling of the senses).
Do not proceed with ketamine treatment if any of the following apply to you:
- Allergic to ketamine
- Symptoms of psychosis or mania
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- CHF or other serious heart problem
- Severe breathing problem
- History of elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure
- History of hyperthyroidism
- Other serious medical illness
- Pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant
Ketamine has been reported to produce issues including, but not limited to, those listed below. However, lasting adverse side-effects are rare when medical protocols are carefully followed.
While ketamine has not been shown to be physically addictive, it has been shown to cause moderate psychological dependency in some recreational users.
- In rare cases, frequent, heavy users have reported increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence, pain urinating, passing blood in the urine, or reduced bladder size
- Ketamine may worsen problems in people with schizophrenia, severe personality disorders, or other serious mental disorders.
- Users with a personal or family history of psychosis should be cautious using any psychoactive substance, including ketamine, and discuss potential risks with your MindBloom clinician before proceeding with treatment.
- The dissociative effects of ketamine may increase patient vulnerability and the risk of accidents.
To promote positive outcomes and ensure safety, follow these ketamine treatment guidelines:
- Do not operate a vehicle (e.g., car, motorcycle, bicycle) or heavy machinery following treatment until you’ve had a full night of sleep
- Refrain from taking benzodiazepines or stimulants for 24 hours prior to treatment
- Continue to take antihypertensive medication as prescribed
- Avoid hangovers or alcohol intake
- Refrain from consuming solid foods within 3 hours prior to treatment and liquids within 1 hour prior to treatment
- Ketamine treatment should never be conducted without a monitor present to ensure your safety