Psychedelic Retreat: How To Prepare

Are you planning your next transformative psychedelic experience? Proper preparation is what you need to guarantee a safe, meaningful, and sacred journey.

psychedelic preparation retreat how to
How to prepare for a psychedelic experience — Foto de Erik Witsoe na Unsplash

There is a recent wave of researchers supported by investors worldwide who believe in the healing potential of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin (magic mushroom), LSD, and Ayahuasca. Beyond the stigma our civilization so carefully cultivated in the last decades, scientists are finding that psychedelic therapy has three main advantages over traditional methods of dealing with psychological issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression:

  • Low Exposure: participants have reported positive changes from just one psychedelic journey;
  • Long-lasting: volunteers have reported that the positive changes caused by the experience lasted from 3 months to one year in some cases;
  • A new approach: Psychedelic Therapy invites the participant to address their issues rather than avoiding them.

Even though there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of psychedelics in dealing with psychological problems, we still have a long way to go in educating people on how to maximize the positive effects of going on a psychedelic retreat while minimizing the possible adverse effects. In this article, we are going to have an overview of the most important factors that contribute to a safe and successful transformative psychedelic journey.

Check the end of the article for the checklist!

How to prepare for a psychedelic retreat

Going on a psychedelic retreat takes time and preparation. Going on a psychedelic experience without giving proper thought can enhance the challenges and could potentially hold the participant back from having meaningful insights, lessons, and epiphanies that they can bring back to their ordinary life in the form of positive changes in their lifestyles.

The most important factors to have in mind during the preparation stage are:

  • Your Intention;
  • The Participant’s Mindset;
  • Who is with you?;
  • The Environment;
  • Logistics;
  • The Substance and Dose;

We are going to go through all these factors and we are going to have an overview of all of them, If you wish to know about any of the stages of preparation, then follow me here on Medium, visit my webpage, or contact me directly for a free consultation at:


Before I continue I should mention integration. Integration is a super important stage, and it could be argued that it is more important than even the psychedelic experience itself. The integration stage starts after the effects are over and it extends itself throughout the weeks, months, and sometimes even years after the retreat.

What is Psychedelic Integration?
Benefiting from sacred medicine goes much beyond the experience itself. Integration is how we grow from the

During this stage, the participant reflects and applies the lessons and insights of the psychedelic experience to their normal everyday life. This process takes time and having an integration coach could assist you to define a roadmap for your integration and make sure that you are integrating the lessons of the sacred medicine the most efficiently as possible.

Thinking about integration during the preparation phase can set the stage for the positive changes we want to see in our lives. Even though the integration starts after the trip, it is worth it to keep it in mind during preparation to maximize the potential.

Psychedelic Intention

Reflecting on and defining your intention is the first step of successful psychedelic preparation. Why are you going on this psychedelic retreat? Are you looking for something inside of you, or are you interested in understanding the world better?

Never Go On A Psychedelic Ceremony Without This
Bring this with you and you will have a better grip on the psychedelic experience and on how to grow from the

Some participants have a clear idea in mind about what they are looking for in the experience, others, however, have no idea at all. Don’t be alarmed if you fall into the second group. Doesn’t matter how specific you are on your intention, the important is the exercise of taking a few moments every day leading up to the experience to carefully investigate your motivations and pains.

Your intention will help you keep a grip on the experience while it is happening and it can illuminate the way in the psychedelic landscape to where your intention lies. This compass-like feature of your intention is what will guide you to the positive changes you seek.

Psychedelic Set & Setting

set and setting psychedelic ceremony
Set & Setting psychedelic retreat — Foto de Ginny Rose Stewart na Unsplash

Set & Setting is a common term among psychonauts and arguably it is the most important aspect in guaranteeing the safety and comfort of all participants. It is important to take enough time before the psychedelic journey to deal with the space of the trip, the logistics, who is going to be present, etc…

The most important thing to consider is that a psychedelic experience can be challenging, but all psychonauts are already equipped to deal with even the most dire of psychedelic emergencies. With this in mind, all we have left is to secure the physical safety and coziness of all participants, so that they can deal with any possible challenges that could arise during the trip, comfortably.

Make sure to guarantee that there is plenty of food, and water for all participants, focusing on fruits, nuts, and other nutritious foods filled with vitamins, and healthy fats. It is also important to separate the spaces so that people can have a little privacy away from the group if they need, either standing up or laying down.

Temperature control is important, so a big part of preparation is to pack clothes that are adequate for both cold and warm weather.

Depending on the substance, the purge can be present. The purge often means that the participant vomits, and this process is also induced in some cases, because in a shamanic ritual, throwing up is more of a spiritual cleansing than a physical one. Having a hygienic environment is fundamental in this stage so that the participant is comfortable even if they have to purge.

Who Are You Tripping With?

Also part of the set & setting is the company that is going to be joining you during the ceremony. A psychedelic experience is a super individual ordeal, however, the environment and the people we trip with have a great influence on how the experience unfolds. Having an untrusting group during a psychedelic experience could mean trouble.

Look for a group of people that trust and enjoy each other’s presence. It is not necessary that all participants know each other beforehand, but it helps that they met at least once and had a good rapport before the journey. If necessary, having a trip sitter — someone to help organize and facilitate the experience — can help keep all participants centered while the experience is happening.

What Substance To Choose For The Retreat?

Picking a substance can be tricky because the psychedelic experience is extremely hard to explain to others with words. However, if you look at the ancient use of sacred medicine and compare it with modern uses of psychedelic substances by science, then we can start to have a better idea of what substance does what and at what dose.

The dosage is just as important as the substance itself. The thing is that different doses can bring totally different effects, and before deciding on what works for our objectives, some research is needed. Looking for information online by reading scientific information on the available substances and reading real-life reports of other psychonauts, we can have a pretty good idea of what could get us closer to our objectives.

Psychedelic Edge: Why Executives Are Sending Their Leaders Tripping
The wave of high-performance people who are betting on psychedelics to get that competitive

Once you have a good grip on the substances and what they do, then mentalize your intention and really think about what kind of experience you are looking for and try to figure out what substances fit your goals the best.

Help Preparing For My Next Psychedelic Ceremony

Preparing for a psychedelic experience gets easier if you have more experience. However, even for the most experienced psychonauts, going on a psychedelic ceremony and transforming that experience into tangible real-life positive changes can be super challenging. It is important to have a good blueprint for your psychedelic experience and for the integration that follows, and having a psychedelic preparation coach can help.

Contact me if you wish to get my assistance, you get access to the material I use to go deeper into my own experiences and translate the insights and lessons into positive changes as effectively as possible:

The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic Drugs: Past, Present, and Future —