Common Techniques Used in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

When discussing psychedelic therapy, many choose to focus on the experience the medication produces and neuropharmacology while ignoring therapy. However, we should acknowledge that without therapy, results from clinical trials wouldn’t be as comprehensive. Therapy plays a critical role in psychedelic therapy.

Below, we discuss some of the common therapeutic approaches that psychedelic therapists use to help their patients heal.

The Hakomi Technique

This method was developed in the 1970s by Ron Kurtz. The technique helps patients focus on the experiences of the present, allowing them to understand the inner workings of their bodies. This method allows patients to restructure and heal from past experiences that may be affecting their experiences in the present moment.

The Internal Family System

The Internal Family System (IFS) is the most cited model in psychedelic therapy. The approach was developed in the 1980s by Richard Schwartz and describes the psyche of an individual as parts that often disagree with one another. Here, the psyche is divided into three parts; the firefighters, managers and exiles. The latter is connected with psychological trauma, which often comes from a person’s early childhood. They may be parts that haven’t been fully dealt with and are instead repressed.

This therapy method allows patients to deal with and acknowledge these parts of themselves, allowing themselves to communicate inwardly and regain connection with their higher self.

Somatic Therapy

This method is based on the proposition that an individual’s trauma is stored in their nervous system. This method is regarded as one of the most effectual approaches to help heal trauma. Under it are two common techniques: somatic experiencing and sensorimotor psychotherapy. While the latter is based on movement, the former is very relational.

This therapy model allows patients to focus on their bodies, enabling them to notice any changes in themselves and allowing them to process these changes.

Gestalt Therapy

This approach was created by Laura and Fritz Perls in the 1940s–50s. This technique helps patients identify and then communicate with the parts of themselves that have different beliefs. This helps individuals learn more and become more aware of the different parts of themselves.


Through recounting and interpreting past experiences an individual has experienced, one can promote their awareness in the present moment, which facilitates healing. These approaches include mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Practices that may help with this include taking a walk, painting or journaling.

As we can see from the few mentioned techniques, psychotherapy can be complex. However, trained and qualified psychedelic therapists have at their disposal various approaches that they can use to help an individual heal. It should be noted, however, that there’s still room to learn more and no one way of doing thing works for everyone, so keeping an open mind is essential for effective therapy.

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