Therapeutic Experience

Clinical Care Model

Safe Screening

Medical and mental health screening are very important, and are essential to the safe practice of psychedelic-assisted therapy in the clinical setting.

Incorporating psychotherapy

Integrating psychedelic experiences often requires adequate support, and this might include a trained mental healthcare provider. In her book Listening to Ayahuasca, Dr. Rachel Harris discusses the importance of having a therapist to help one through what may be a dramatically transformative experience. Although she discusses this importance in relationship to ayahuasca ceremonies, the value of such psychotherapy applies more broadly to therapeutic psychedelic experiences.

3 Phases of Practice

In order to maximize safety and clinical benefit, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy must adequately consider the three phases of the practice:

  1. Preparation for therapeutic work with psychedelic medicines.
  2. Guidance and practice during therapeutic psychedelic sessions.
  3. Integration of psychedelic sessions.
    (i.e. continued therapeutic practices which promote longer-term shifts in mental health)

The Role of Set and Setting

Popularized by Timothy Leary, at Harvard, in 1961, the terms Set and Setting are important influences in a person's experience with psychedelics.

Set - a person's character, mindset, and intentions.

Setting - the social and physical space of the experience.

A knowledgeable facilitator of therapeutic psychedelic experiences understands the importance of working with someone to identify their mindset, intentions and expectations and provide important information around the process, research, potential side effects, safety, as well as ensure the setting is a supportive environment that provides a sense of safety and calm. Many psychedelic-assisted therapy models include pre-sessions prior to the session where a psychedelic is introduced. These sessions are to ensure the person is prepared and ready for their psychedelic-assisted experience.

The setting for psychedelic-assisted therapy is often an office space that has been designed to focus on comfort and safety. There would be comfortable place for the person to lay down, blankets to help with temperature, options to have headphones with music, and eye shades to block out the light in the room.


Hear from experts, Rachel Harris and Michael Pollan , on the therapeutic role of set and setting.

  1. Intention 76
  2. The Importance of Set and Setting 175
  3. Risk and Safety 71


The term integration relates to the period following a psychedelic experience. In addition to pre-sessions, most models of psychedelic-assisted therapy include follow-ups sessions. These follow-up therapy sessions support what is referred to as Integration—when the patient is integrating the psychedelic experience and where the facilitator supports this process. Key insights, learnings, and awareness arise in the hours, days, and weeks following the psychedelic-assisted session—this is the integration process.


Tasha, 2022

Winkelman, 2021