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Working with an Integration Coach with Dr. Ryan Westrum

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In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Ryan Westrum returns to discuss the finer details of psychedelic integration. Ryan is a trained psychotherapist with a Doctorate of Transpersonal Clinical Psychology from Sofia University and an M.A. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Adler Graduate School. He is also the founder of Healing Souls LLC and a registered integration therapist for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, as well as the author of the Psychedelics Integration Handbook. Drawing on his 15 years of experience as a mental health practitioner, Ryan approaches integration with an intimate knowledge of human psychology, drawing on multiple modalities to best facilitate integration for his clients. In this conversation, Ryan talks about various roadblocks to successful integration and how these can be overcome, especially with the help of an integration coach. He emphasizes the importance of making the psychedelic experience one’s own as a central project in integration, explaining how this is essential for allowing new self-understandings to emerge. Ryan also discusses various practices he encourages as an integration coach, such as journaling, drawing mandalas, and movement practices, mentioning how these can all help better incorporate the work of integration into one’s life rather than keeping it an isolated project. Here again, Ryan emphasizes the importance of individual psychology and encourages people to choose practices that resonate and spur new insight. As a practicing therapist, Ryan also shares his thoughts on the distinction between psychedelic integration and therapy, noting how this boundary is often blurry. What Ryan stresses for both paradigms, however, is the interpersonal character of healing and growth. With the help of a skilled integration coach, the work of living out one's psychedelic insights and making lasting changes becomes all the more approachable. In This Episode: The purpose and value of an integration coach How to make psychedelic experiences tangible How to start the integration process Different practices to help spur integration The relationship between therapy and integration Quotes: “Integration to me is the act of taking one thing and another and finding wholeness or links to wholeness.” [4:55] “[Integration] is reconciling past memories and incrementally getting prepared for future stories.” [14:22] “Integration exercises can also challenge you to see what you’re afraid of, what you’re not ready to look at, what potentially are growth points.” [18:27] “I would never encourage anyone, no matter how many sessions you’ve sat or how many ceremonies or how many cups of tea you’ve drank, to do this on your own. There’s a benefit in community.” [23:33] “There needs to be a purpose-driven motivation for this work. Just because it’s being talked about in corners, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for everybody.” [31:30] Links: Ryan’s Website Psychedelic Integration Website The Psychedelics Integration Handbook Psychedelic Medicine Association Get 20% off everything at Octagon Biolabs with coupon code ‘plantmedicine' Porangui