Is your body telling you telling you: “something is not right here”? 

Does it feel like the wrong time for you? Is the guide being inappropriately flirtatious towards you? Are you wondering whether it might be a bad idea heading into the jungle on your own? Do you feel like you are being pressured into something you are not ready for? Does your guide seem to have little knowledge of what this medicine does to your body, or little interest in what medical conditions you may have? Or do you just feel uneasy in your gut with no logical explanation?  

These are all signs that you may be putting yourself at risk.  

When you work with psychedelics you are in an incredibly vulnerable state, I would advocate that you find a guide who you trust wholeheartedly. 

Try not to put guides or shamans (or anyone for that matter) on a pedestal. When you put someone on a pedestal, you turn off your intuition. Your guides are not angels, gurussaints or holy messengers with magic powers. They arjust normal human beings who are trained in holding ceremony, they are subject to the same problems as the rest of us, including the darker aspects of human experience such as the potential for greedmanipulation and exploitation.  

There can be a temptation to give all your power away to the mystical and the transcendent. Keep your wits about you, our brains do a very good job of working stuff out and keeping us safe. Do not devalue this aspect of yourself, be discerning.  




Spiritual bypassing is a term to describe the tendency within spiritual communities to rise above the difficulty of unresolved personal problems or emotions. Rather than using spiritual philosophy as a method of integrating human experience, it is used to transcend (or avoid) problems.  

Spiritual bypassing is pervasive within the spiritual and psychedelic communities.  

Ever heard comments such as “everything happens for a reason, or “it is all as it is meant to be”? These are bypassing statements. When these statements are used towards a person who has experienced abuse or trauma, you are essentially gaslighting that person and stunting them in their healing process.

Transcending your emotions may alleviate suffering, but it does not represent true healing. Like the addict who takes a drug to soothe their emotional pain, many people use spiritual bypassing as a numbing and avoidance strategy. 

So you may come across a guide who tells you to “let go of control” when you ask about what a substance will do to your body. This is more likely because they don’t know the answer to your question and don’t want to find out, than it is in relation to your healing. 

Maybe a guide informs you “there’s no such thing as a bad trip, that is really for you to decide. Though often borne out of naivete and good intention, these are all potential ways for people to escape taking responsibility and manipulate you.  




Many guides are administering enormous doses of psychedelics, for fear that their customers will complain about not having an intense enough experience.  

For some people, especially those new to this work, the dose is way too high and can lead to a terrifying and traumatising experience. Don’t be afraid to have conversations about the dose and to test the water with a low dose first.

Everyone reacts differently to these substances. If you have a terrifying experience, you will probably never want to take psychedelics again and may get PTSD or mental health problems as a result.  

You can turn a psychedelic medicine into a psychedelic poison by taking too much in one sitting, you can also do this by having the accumulation of lots of sittings in too short a time frame.

People who have an addictive process can get addicted to the peak psychedelic experience, jumping from one to the next without integrating. This can cause enormous damage to their mental health and relationships, just like any addiction. 



Sometimes working with psychedelics can make your life worse.   

Psychedelics have been described by Stanislav Grof as “non-specific magnifiers of mental process. So essentially, they will magnify a part of you that is already there. If you are already heading down a spiritual bypassing route (see above), this part of you can be magnified, leaving you open to abusive and predatory people. Grandiose behaviour and ego inflation are common side effects of working with psychedelics, which can cause damage to your relationships. 

For some people, their experience is traumatic and devastating. Psychosis, PTSD and severe mental illness after working with psychedelics, are some of the potential risks. There is truth in the often-used statement that even a difficult experience can hold meaning when worked through well, but sometimes and unfortunately a person will wind up needing serious psychiatric care.

Working safely, conscientiously, with experienced, responsible practitioners, in addition to a robust preparation and integration process, will safeguard you from adverse reactions.



Integration is everything! 

People who take psychedelics often give no thought to the integration process.

I view it like alchemy, you need the hydrogen of the psychedelic experience, plus the oxygen of the integration process to create the life force of water. If the psychedelic experience represents giving birth to the new you, then the integration process is the work of parenting. 

You would take time off work to prepare for a new baby and care for it well in the first year. You need to honour this process for yourself, for the new part of you that is being born into the world. If you don’t, that metaphorical infant within yourself may die or be severely damaged.

Put simply, integration is the work you do over a long period of time to manifest deep and sustained change from your psychedelic experience. It is not a panacea, quick fix or a magic bullet that will fix all your problems overnight (this doesn’t exist by the way). Your learnings from the psychedelic experience will dissipate very quickly without integration.  

Psychedelics are an agent of change, they don’t do the work for you. The psychedelic experience is one event in a much longer change process. For best results, you must be willing to engage in the process and dive deep.  

A psychedelic integration therapist can support you through this process. As you need a guide for the psychedelic journey, you will also get the best outcome by having a guide for your integration process.  


PLEASE NOTE: This blog is intended for information only and does not substitute medical advice. I do not advocate the illegal use of substances.


Written by Jo Dice   

Integrative and Psychedelic Integration Psychotherapist  

As a psychotherapist, psychedelic integration practitioner, spiritual explorer and registered nurse of twenty years; I offer wisdom from the worlds of knowledge, science, body, soul and spirit for a comprehensive and holistic therapy journey.  

If you would like to work with me for Integrative Psychotherapy or Psychedelic Integration Psychotherapy, please drop me a line and we can arrange a free introductory session.