What We Can Learn From a Difficult Psychedelic Experience

While there are countless people that have positive experiences when taking psychedelics, there are undoubtedly some that don’t. A “bad trip” can be an extremely frightening experience and is one that can cause anxiety, depression, fear, and confusion. Bad times with a psychedelic experience can have effects lasting for days or weeks afterwards.

Despite the difficulties some people experience when taking psychedelics, many of them still believe there was a benefit to them. A difficult experience on psychedelics can open one’s mind to the emotional and mental issues within that require the most attention. And, as many people know, growth is often found through difficult experiences.

What Others Have Learned Through Difficulty

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University was published in September 2016 and gathered the results from 1,993 people discussing their most challenging experiences from taking psilocybin mushrooms. The people involved in this study all had experience taking mushrooms in the past and all went in feeling positive about what they were going to experience. They all considered the social, physical, and emotional environment was one that would be favorable for a “good trip”.

What happened, however, was something very different than what most expected. Half of the participants in the study said the experience was one of the top five worst of their life. What they said about what they learned from the incident, though, was actually quite positive. Of the half of the group that had a negative experience, 84 percent said they had benefited from it. There were also 46 percent that said they would want to do it again, challenging parts included.

Also highlighted within this study was the fact that the longer the experience lasted, the more difficult it was. What’s more is the most difficult experiences proved to be the most meaningful. This emphasizes the ideology that difficult experiences actually have a lot to teach us and are saturated with meaning. The discomfort found in a challenging psychedelic experiences is essential for personal growth–and usually reflects personally issues rooted deep within the individual.

Is Difficulty an Essential Part of Healing?

When psychedelics are used as a means of healing, the difficulty one experiences can be viewed as an essential part of the healing process. Learning from, rather than criticizing, these “negative” experiences can truly be a catalyst for change on the deepest of fundamental levels. Because a difficult experience on psychedelics can open one’s eyes to the mental and emotional walls they have built around themselves, it essentially becomes easier to identify what they are and finally move past them.

Even though challenging psychedelic experiences can promote healing, they aren’t something that should be encouraged. Psychedelic substances are extremely powerful and something that should be taken with respect for what they do. While there haven’t been many studies that look at the difficult experiences psychedelics can invoke, it’s worthwhile to note that the setting which psychedelics are taken in, as well as the support one receives during the experience, make the biggest impact.

Entering a psychedelic experience with a positive mindset and social support has shown to reduce the likelihood of a negative occurrence. This isn’t to say that everyone who goes in with a positive attitude is going to have a positive experience. What is found in a psychedelic experience is going to be completely unique to the individual involved. There have been plenty of people who take psychedelics with a positive frame of mind that end up experiencing negativity.

What Does a Negative Psychedelic Experience Teach Us?

While a negative experience isn’t what most people desire when they take psychedelics, it has been known to happen to even the most experienced users. What can we learn from a negative incident while taking these substances? Many think that psychedelics are here to give you exactly what you need for personal growth. And many of these substances go deep within the psyche to open up a person on the deepest of psychological levels. What they find there isn’t always what they’re expecting, but can offer some of the greatest tools for personal growth and healing.

It is the fundamental levels of human consciousness buried deep within one’s subconscious mind that hold the keys to healing. Just as traditional therapy can be difficult, healing with psychedelics can prove to be the same. And while a difficult psychedelic experience can be one of the most terrifying and trying experiences of one’s life, it could just hold the key to profound growth and change.

Taking a difficult trip, even in the right setting like a medical Ibogaine clinic, can be a learning experience if you want it to be. This can offer insight to these challenges and shed light on what lies deep within the soul that longs to be set free.