The term "psychedelic" , as used on the True North Psychology website, refers to pharmacological AND non-pharmacologically induced psychedelic/altered/or expanded states of consciousness (for example, those induced from deep meditative or breathwork practice), and does not include an experience of psychosis.
Preparation & Integration Support
We support people to to prepare psychologically for an experience with altered/expanded states (e.g. a psychedelic journey). Afterward, we support people to make sense of their experience and learn how to implement changes from insights gained.
Offered in 1:1 sessions, integration groups and workshop settings.
We offer psychedelic-informed, relational and trauma-informed psychotherapy to help people heal from/with difficult aspects of an individual's mental health.
Education & Training
We provide webinars, workshops, and resources to support the safe use of psychedelics (harm reduction). We work with mental health professionals to educate them about altered and expanded states so that they can be equipped to support clients who have had experiences with these states.
We do not offer psychedelic-assisted therapies, or access to any illegal substances. The use of psychedelic substances is currently illegal in the UK. Please do not contact us with requests for illegal psychedelic assisted work.
We do not offer help for you to locate psychedelic-assisted therapy, guided sessions, sitting, or retreats. Although, if we become aware of a clinical research trial that you may be eligible for, we may be able to provide publicly available information to enable contact with the research team for the purposes of research participation. We are not involved in the selection of participants to such trials.
This specialist support is offered from a harm reduction perspective. We do not support or encourage the use of illicit substances in unregulated and/or illegal frameworks.
In working with people who have experienced altered or expanded states of consciousness, we do not work with people experiencing active psychosis. Although, we can work with someone aiming to make sense of an episode of psychosis, and if this individual is under the care of a community mental health team. We will not be liable for risk and do not provide treatment for mental illness.
We do not work in the role as an expert in psychedelics or altered states, and will not provide advice or guidance in its use.
“The field of psychedelic research is demonstrating promising initial results in the treatment of mental health conditions and psychedelic-assisted therapies may offer a potential alternative where existing psychopharmacological treatments fall short. However, given the rapid expansion of the psychedelic industry, the amplified media attention, and the ever-evolving cultural and political contexts, it is crucial to prioritise education regarding the safe and informed navigation of this landscape.
Psychedelic experiences are not a panacea or a way to permanently rewire your brain. We are still learning how psychedelic therapy works, but the more we explore this area, the more we learn about the importance of comprehensive screening of suitability, appropriate preparation and integration.
While we do not engage with people whilst they undergo their psychedelic experience and do not support the illegal use of these compounds, we believe that as practitioners in this space we must provide support to people in the weeks and months following a psychedelic experience. We need to support them during this time when they may feel more sensitive and vulnerable, to create a space for processing and healing, to enable them to make meaningful changes in their lives.”
- Dr Sara Tookey (Sara is the TNP Founder & Lead of the Integration Service, she is a Clinical Psychologist working on psychedelic research trials, and advisor in psychedelic industry & research
Therapeutic Preparation & Integration Sessions
Whether you have had transformative or challenging experiences, integration sessions can be helpful in processing and making sense of your journey. We can work together to understand how this experience may impact your life and explore ways to integrate the lessons and insights gained from your psychedelic journey into your daily life.
Research has shown that psychedelic experiences, when approached with intention and supported by a therapeutic framework, can have profound transformative effects on individuals. True North Psychology recognises the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore and integrate these experiences.
At TNP we understand that the actual psychedelic experience or experience in an expanded state is only one of the mechanisms of change, and that this in a sense is the catalyst not the "magic" pill. We want to do our part in shaping the culture and the narrative around psychedelics, by moving away from chasing healing, gaining enlightenment, optimising the human brain, or obtaining the "cure", and toward a committed focus on integration. We aim to support people in their process, to reduce the potential harms, "to put in the work" and cultivate a sense of community that can nurture and support lasting change and bring a deeper sense of connectedness people's lives.
Preparation and Integration Support
Sessions are 50 - 90 minutes, are tailored to each person's unique needs and are available on a one-off or as an ongoing process. These sessions can take place via our secure online video platform or in the serene natural setting of Richmond Park, London, UK (seasonal).
Contact Dr Sara Tookey or book a consultation below.
Psychedelic-informed therapy considers past psychedelic experiences in the processes involved in psychotherapy. The psychedelic-informed therapy approach is a trauma-informed, compassionate, non-judgemental and exploratory. It is individualised to meet the unique needs of each person.
Sessions are 50 minutes and can take place via o secure online video platform or in person at our Richmond, UK therapy location.
Contact Dr Sara Tookey or book a consultation below.
Group Integration provides a supportive community space to explore, make sense of and integrate a psychedelic experience. Group sessions are facilitated by Dr Sara Tookey.
Groups sessions are 90 minutes and take place via our secure online video platform.
Join Our NEW Integration Group
Takes place online on the last Wednesday of every month @7:00PM - 8:30pm BST
tickets cost £15, with concessions available at £8 (concession tickets available to psychedelic clinical trial participants- please contact to inquire)
Launching the EMBODI project (a collaboration with Physis Integration).
SEE EVENT DETAILS AND TICKETING INFORMATION HERE
Subscribe to receive updates and ticketing information when it becomes available or Contact Us to inquire.
Psychedelic Preparation and Integration Workshop
This workshop is being provided for members of the general public who are interested in learning about psychedelic experiences and how one can psychologically prepare for, manage and integrate a psychedelic experience. This training takes a harm-reduction approach to support the safe use of psychedelic substances.
Subscribe to receive updates and ticketing information when it becomes available
What are non-ordinary/ altered states of consciousness?
An altered state of consciousness is any mental state in which one’s ordinary level of wakefulness, attention, or awareness is temporarily shifted in some way. The term “altered state of consciousness”, or ASC for short, was coined by transpersonal psychologist Charles Tart in 1972. Tart defined ASCs as “a temporary change in the overall pattern of subjective experience”.
The line between ordinary and non-ordinary states is different for each individual, depending on their personal level of sensitivity. While it is common to associate altered states with the consumption of hallucinogens, there is in fact a broad spectrum of experiences that qualify as non-ordinary states of consciousness.
According to Dr. Dieter Vaitl from the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany, altered states of consciousness can be divided into the following categories:
Pharmacological states- short term changes in experience induced by the consumption of psychoactive drugs
Psychological states- such dissociation by hypnosis, meditation or music.
Physical and physiological- such as dreaming during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, fasting, and sex, sleep deprivation, oxygen deprivation.
Pathological- such as in episodes of psychosis, epilepsy, or as a result of brain damage.
Spontaneous- such as dissociation caused by day-dreaming, near-death experiences, and out-of-body experiences
Other experiences that are not explicitly named within this framework, but which are commonly known to induce ASCs, include sensory deprivation conditions, trance states, spiritual possession, mystical or religious experiences, physical exercise, dance, and breathwork.
What is Psychedelic Integration?
While the definition is ever evolving, the term "Integration" that we are referring to in this context, is related to the process of assimilating the mind, body, and spirit after experiencing an altered state, for the purpose of improving wellbeing, healing and growth.“Psychedelic integration is a process in which the patient integrates the insights of their experience into their life” (Gorman et al., 2021, p. 8) Most definitions of integration emphasise the need to revisit, work through, and make sense of the material and content of experiences with psychedelic or altered states (Bathje et al., 2022).
The actions taken to integrate an experience will vary from person to person from one experience to the next, and may include:
Exploring the visual, physical, and psychological experiences from a an experience to gain insight into your past, present, and future\
Using lessons from a psychedelic experience to make positive changes in your everyday life
Managing any new perspectives around reality or relation to the self and others that may arise during a psychedelic experience
Learning to cope with the trauma of difficult psychedelic experiences
Making sense of any aspects of the psychedelic experience that were particularly confusing
As well as discussing experiences and exploring meaning in sessions, as a client engaging in therapeutic integration sessions, you may be invited to do additional tasks between sessions to support your integration process.
This may include:
Speaking with others about your experience (e.g. group integration sessions), journaling about your experience and insights
Exploring experience and meaning through art, connecting with your body, meditation, connecting with nature, and/or connecting with music.
Group Integration: Recent research shows supportive communities play an important role in integrating psychedelic experiences. Western approaches have focused on individual psychotherapy, findings indicate communal practices such as sharing experiences, participating in rituals, and receiving empathy from others can greatly aid integration. This aligns with indigenous views of healing as intertwined with community and the collective wisdom of the culture. The research points to an expanded definition of integration that goes beyond the individual to include mutual understanding and holistic healing through communal support. This underscores the vital role communities can play in sustaining personal growth during the integration process by instilling a sense of belonging and collective responsibility in supporting the emotional, mental, and spiritual processes of integration.
Who is preparation and integration for?
Anyone with interest in altered or expanded states of consciousness.
Those with an interest or curiosity about psychedelic-assisted therapies, those wanting to prepare for a psychedelic experience, or make-sense of profound, challenging or confusing psychedelic experiences.
Those needing support to manage challenging after-effects of a psychedelic experience (these could include: existential depression, lack of meaning, low mood, anxiety, depression, increased sensitivities to thoughts, feelings or one's environment, experiences of derealisation or depersonalisation, feeling generally unsettled, etc.)
Those who want to learn how to integrate insights from psychedelic experiences into their daily lives.
How is integration therapy similar or different from psychotherapy?
Typically there is a clear distinction between integration sessions and traditional psychotherapy, where a person is seen for integration sessions to explore and integrate a specific experience or set of psychedelic experiences into their daily lives. During the course of integration sessions, issues may be brought to light that require further focus in psychotherapy. Then it is decided between the therapist and the client how and when this transition will be made to move away from a direct exploration of the specific experience with an expanded or psychedelic state and into more psychotherapeutic content. We, at TNP, refer to this kind of therapy as psychedelic-informed psychotherapy, because often the information derived from the integration sessions or the experiences with non-ordinary or psychedelic states informs this psychotherapeutic work.
This can also be seen in other formats, for example, where a person engage with us in a therapeutic programme that with support the preparation, integration and ongoing psychotherapy sessions.
See more about our approaches to psychotherapy on our therapy page.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
Resources on Adverse Experiences or Spiritual Emergencies, by Jules Evans
Maudsley Psychedelic Society Integration circle (monthly in-person, South London)
Life after Ayahuasca: A Qualitative Analysis of the Psychedelic Integration Experiences of 1630 Ayahuasca Drinkers from a Global Survey (2023) , by T. Cowley-Court, R. Chenhall, J. Sarris, J.C. Bouso, L.F. Tófoli, E.S. Opaleye, V. Schubert, D. Perkins
On Redescribing the Indescribable: Trauma, Psychoanalysis and Psychedelic Therapy, by N.L. Modlin, J. Stubley, C. Maggio, J.J. Rucker
Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration: A Transtheoretical Model for Clinical Practice (2021), by I. Gorman, E.M. Nielson, A. Molinar, K. Cassidy, J. Sabbagh
Metzner R. (2010). The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience. Synergetic Press, SantaFe, NM.
Ortigo KM (2021) Beyond the narrow life: a guide for psychedelic integration and existential exploration. Synergetic Press, SantaFe, NM
Read T, Papasyrou, M (2021) Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States.
Taylor, K (1995) The Ethics of Caring: Honoring the web of life in our professional healing relationships. Hanford Mead Publishers, Santa Cruz, CA