Tripsitting others who are under the influence of psychedelics does not have to be very complicated. By reading this guide and following the instructions, you are already qualified as a junior trip sitter. With more experience and knowledge, you can help the traveler get even further and get more out of the experience, but it is not a requirement to get started. The information in this article is based on personal experience and great books like Psychedelic Explorer's Guide and Psychedelic Psychotherapy. There are three steps in a therapeutic psychedelic process, and all three are equally important. The first thing to start with is preparation.
Begin with some basic rules. When a person is under the influence of psychedelic drugs, it can be terribly difficult for the person to understand coherent sentences and concepts. In addition, they are going through waves of skepticism and mistrust, so this is not a good time to introduce new rules. Concepts previously discussed, however, will sound familiar and will therefore be easier to follow. Therefore, it is important to talk about the following ground rules in advance that you can refer to if necessary.
I always set the following ground rules:
- If I feel you are scared, we can focus on breathing together to ground the experience
- You may not leave the area without my permission
- You are not allowed to hurt yourself, me or things
- No sexual contact, but all other contact is OK
The intention is why you want to take the substances in the first place. If the traveler has an intention but does not want to share this with the trip sitter, this could result in a worse end result. Trusting your tripsitter is important to be able to dive deep enough. Set aside some time in advance to talk about the intention.
When the traveler is under the influence, it is important to let them follow their own path. It can be very tempting to "help" the person to come to conclusions or push them towards what you think is the problem the person should focus on. The travelers are sometimes very aware of the intentions of others and may perceive this as distracting or manipulative. Here are some tips on what to do and not do.
- Be supportive but not controlling
- Be soft and gentle
- Be understanding and friendly
- Be willing to change or turn music on or off (and always respect their choices)
- Offer blankets, water and/or fruit/nuts if you think the person wants this
- Be prepared to call an ambulance as a last resort
Don't do this:
- Be condescending, aggressive, annoyed or stressed
- Highlight difficult or emotional themes
- Reject what the traveler says as worthless, stupid, immature or that the person is "just tall"
- Ask if they are doing well or how they are doing (this may trigger uncertainty)
- Make a big deal out of it if they spill or ruin something, talk too loud, have a hard time, throw up, cry, etc.
- Do things that attract the attention of others in public
- Leave them before the effect is over (reserve enough time)
If you want to convert insights from a psychedelic experience into life changes, you have to work on this. There is a lot you can do that is mentioned in this article, but an absolute minimum is to talk about the experience afterwards. Encourage the traveler to talk about the experience and ask follow-up questions. Be positive about interpretations and open to opportunities. Whether something is true or not is not important at this stage. It's about what can result in changes in real life.