Psychedelic Integration and Spiritual Emergency

“Mystery is alive in the moment, in the here and now. It just simply lies on the other side of a barrier of courage.”
― Terence McKenna

**IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: If you are a former or current client, please do not read this page or my participation in integration work as an endorsement of entheogenic substances for any and all people. There are very real, and gravely serious clinical considerations to be made here. Entheogens are not an appropriate or advisable next step (or ever step) on some paths. There are many paths to the ineffable, and I respect them all. I would not, and do not, advise any former or current client to experiment with entheogens. This page is strictly for those who have already made the choice to use an entheogen outside of my office and would like to contact me for support with integrating their experience. Please be advised of the power of these substances, and the clinical inadvisability, for many, of using these substances.**

Though psychedelic or entheogenic substances are currently illegal in the United States, people are still using them. If you have had an experience with a psychedelic plant or fungus or other substance classified as ‘psychoactive’ and would like support with integrating your experience, unlike the conventional psychotherapist, I am capable of providing this. Schedule a free 20-minute consultation call to discuss in further detail with me, and so that we can see how we both feel about the usefulness of working together. I am an advocate and activist for the furthering of research geared towards finding appropriate clinical uses for MDMA and even Psilocybin mushrooms in the treatment of trauma, depression, anxiety, marital/interpersonal strife, and end-of-life issues. We should be pursuing every avenue that could possibly reduce suffering, and maximize the beautiful and uniquely human ability to make meaning, at any and all of these important passages of life. Having said that, I am also wary of ever considering any substance to be a “silver bullet” or a panacea. Still, I strongly support ongoing research in this area.

In many ways, psychedelic integration is similar to trauma work, because it involves the integration of an experience that goes beyond words, and the mixing of this experience into the soil of ourselves as fertilizer for further growth. Having said that, I understand that integrating a traumatic experience does involve finding words, and finding a way to contextualize the experience as a memory– something that happened in the past and that is now over. However, when we touch the “unspeakable” in the midst of a psychedelic or other spiritual experience, it may not always be important in the same way, or even possible, to symbolize the entirety of the experience in English or any other language. We can make the experience a part of us going forward without needing to make it “speakable”. This reminds me of the end of a Trumbull Stickney poem, The Soul of Time, in which he writes, “I cannot understand you. T’is because you lean over my meaning’s edge and feel a dizziness of the things I have not said.”

Sometimes, we have exceptional, anomalous, or extraordinary experiences that do not seem to be in any way substance-induced. Sometimes these experiences feel somehow important, spiritual, or precious, though they can be difficult to get through without support as they can at times rock our typical experience of reality down to its foundations. These are the experiences I refer to as spontaneously, organically arising “spiritual emergencies,” and though they remain fundamentally mysterious at their core, they can be an important and beautiful aspect of the individuation process, and of the deepening of one’s own spirituality and relationship to the mystery of the cosmos. Reach out for a free 20-minute phone consultation if you believe this may be what you are experiencing.

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Annalise Oatman, MA, LCSW 88254

45 Franklin St., Suite 214, San Francisco, CA 94102

949-533-4651 annalise@awaketherapysf.com

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