Unfortunately, we don’t have a trained facilitator in your location on our list just yet (if you are the one, please contact us), but you can try contacting local organizations or ask your friend to trip sit you.
Psychedelic trip sitting guidelines
The most important thing for a trip sitter to remember remaining cool, nonjudgmental, and kind during someone else’s psychedelic experience. It’s beneficial having their own psychedelic experience, particularly on difficult trips, but it’s not necessary. Having firsthand experience may help sitters be more empathetic—without being anxious—to the strange range of emotions that trippers can experience.
Although the term isn’t limited to psychedelics, trip sitting is often referred to as “holding space.” Holding space is just being with someone and enabling them to go through whatever phase they need to without really trying to interfere. It’s really about being there for others, listening or sitting in silence with them without giving opinions or advice.
So, where to begin? First and foremost, it’s important to have a discussion with the person with whom one will be sitting prior to the psychedelic experience. Expectations, intentions, limits, and a loose strategy should all be discussed so that nothing comes as a surprise.
It’s also a good idea to chat about a rough itinerary for the trip day. Discuss the place where the session will occur. If your going to take mushrooms at home, find out who else will be there: Is it planned that either of your roommates would return home during the trip? Is there a possibility that someone else will turn up that your trip sitter will have to deal with? If you don’t have any outdoor space at home, maybe you should suggest that at the end of the experience, you are driven to a nearby park or beach to interact with nature? It’s also crucial to work out tough problems, such as boundaries, in advance, preferably days before the psychedelic session.
Although physical contact can be beneficial to those who are going through a challenging time, it is necessary to speak about it first and develop any rules. To limit surprises on the trip day and concentrate on your experience without residual feelings of confusion, the trick is to make it as clear as possible.
Talk to your trip sitter about the meaningful aspects of your life
From the petty to the noble, from embarrassments to successes, and from sorrow to joy, the preparatory conversation between the trip sitter and you should convey that all the important facets, that could possibly impact your trip.
You should be absolutely relaxed with the monitors by the day of the hallucinogen session, reducing the risk of anxiety (e.g. feeling that somebody is trying to control your mind, or have deceived you about the nature of the experience).
Under the influence of the hallucinogen, related personal information can surface. In other words, you could have vivid ideas, emotions, and dreams about your own personal history or worldview. Knowing about your background will help the trip sitter better understand your experience and provide interpersonal support if intense emotions occur. If you don’t trust your trip sitter enough, the psychedelic session should be canceled.
Your facilitators should also demonstrate what they will do if you become anxious.
- Shrooms would need 6-9 hours of sitting.
- Sitting quietly likely means preparing food for a trip sitter in advance.
- Headphones and eyeshades would make this easier. The sitter should have a decent-sized meal before the tripper begins so that they don’t need to eat for a while.
During the session
- Sitters should be nondirective and encouraging, you don’t need a guide, you need a trip sitter.
- A sitter should encourage you to trust, let go and be open to the experience.
- When you need to use the bathroom, you go there with a sitter at your side. When in the restroom, the door remains unlocked and slightly ajar with a sitter of the same gender remaining outside of the door and in intermittent verbal contact with you.
- You should not stay alone – one sitter should be present at all times.
- Trip sitters should bear in mind, that people on psychedelics can sense their unspoken feelings with phenomenal accuracy, particularly if they are not wearing an eyeshade and headphones.
- If you try to leave the premises, this would be met with compassionate but firm direction to return to the session facilities.
- If something unexpected happens, like a fire alarm in the building, the sitter should remain with you.
- Perhaps once per hour, the trip sitter could verbally ensure that you are not experiencing significant anxiety and don’t need support.
- An excessive communication or analysis during the psychedelic experience should be avoided. You should discuss the experience after the drug effects fade away.
- If the sitter leaves once you seem fully returned to normal, you should know, that you can call them if you need support later that evening.
- You should have a meeting with a trip sitter a few days later to ensure your psychological stability and get an opportunity to discuss your thoughts or feelings from the session.
Management of the challenging psychedelic experience
- The appropriate first response is to provide strong personal support and reassurance. A tripsitter should interact with you in a comforting and reassuring manner.
If the anxiety escalates
- A trip sitter should create a solid sense of security and calm while empathizing with what may be an incredibly intense and unpleasant experience.
- A trip sitter should not try to talk you down back into reality. It could aggravate a difficult reaction.
- You should be encouraged to surrender to the experience.
- You might need a supportive touch to the arm or shoulder with verbal reminders that you have taken the hallucinogen, and that you will return to normal consciousness in a few minutes or a few hours.
- If verbal interactions are of limited help due to their intense experience, a powerful form of interpersonal grounding is simply holding the hand of the participant. Many volunteers report that during such experiences, a reassuring hand provides an incredible sense of stability and connection. A trip sitter should demonstrate this practice during preparation to normalize hand-holding during the psychedelic session.
If the reassurance methods in number two don’t succeed, which is unlikely but possible:
- Oral 10mg Valium (diazepam) can be used. Xanax is slightly less ideal than Valium but can be used as an alternative, with 0.5-1mg being roughly equivalent to 10mg Valium.
- Emergency department personnel who are inexperienced with hallucinogen effects can readily escalate and prolong an adverse reaction. Therefore, all possible efforts should be made to treat a difficult experience in the session context, even if pharmacological intervention is required.