In recent years, psychedelic therapy has been gaining popularity as an effective treatment option for a variety of mental health conditions. If you are considering undergoing psychedelic therapy, you might be wondering how to tell your family about it. After all, psychedelics are still stigmatized, and they may not understand what you’re hoping to achieve. Here are a few tips to help you broach the subject with your loved ones.
1. Introduce the topic by sharing why you’re interested in psychedelic therapy
Talk about what you hope to achieve with psychedelic therapy. For example, maybe you’re hoping that it will help reduce your anxiety or help you overcome a traumatic experience. Let your family know what your goals are. Explain why you think this type of treatment could be helpful for you.
Be prepared for questions and objections from your family members. They may be worried about safety, or may not understand why you want to try it instead of other options. Be patient and answer any questions they have as honestly as possible.
2. Explain what psychedelic therapy is and how it works
Psychedelic therapy is only recently gaining acceptance as a way to treat mental illnesses. Because of this novelty, and misconceptions born from the decades-long war on drugs, your family may not understand how psychedelics are used in a medical context. Giving them some basic scientific background can help counter any negative impressions they might have.
Firstly, they’ll likely be curious about how psychedelic therapy works. You can explain that psychedelics can enhance traditional forms of therapy by modifying activity in parts of the brain that control mood and behavior. This helps lower psychological barriers so that patients can become more open to self-discovery and insight. As a result, progress can be made on issues much more quickly than with regular talk therapy.
It may also be useful to explain that psychedelic therapy happens in a supervised setting. For example, if you’re thinking about ketamine therapy, your family may find it reassuring to know you’ll be under the supervision of clinicians who will guide you through the experience.
3. Be honest about any concerns or hesitations you may have
While it may seem counterintuitive, letting your loved ones in on any hesitations you have may help them see that you’re taking the treatment seriously. The knowledge that you are aware of potential side effects or negative outcomes will likely reassure them about the process. Let them know about the research you’ve done so they know you aren’t entering this treatment lightly.
Talking openly about your concerns can also be beneficial to you. New experiences, medical or otherwise, can be intimidating. Give your loved ones the opportunity to be there for you, and support you through the process.
4. Offer resources for further reading on the topic
While psychedelic therapy is a relatively newer field of research, there are sources available for those looking for more information. Organizations such as MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and Psychedelic.Support are actively working to both normalize psychedelic therapies and make their evidence-based benefits more widely known.
Showing loved ones the breadth of research being done in psychedelic therapy can help demystify the subject and ease any doubts they may have about its legitimacy.
What if the conversation doesn’t go well?
Even the best-laid plans sometimes don’t pan out exactly the way we’d like them to. If your family is on the more traditional side, or if they already have negative associations with psychedelics, it’s possible that the conversation may get tense. If that happens, try not to feed that negativity. Keep calm and remain on topic, focusing the conversation on your personal experiences and why you feel like this is the right path for you.
Also, keep in mind that everything doesn’t need to be resolved in one sitting. Some people may need a lot of time to process the information, and that’s ok. Don’t be disheartened if their initial reaction isn’t what you wanted. Take your time with the conversation and make sure they feel respected, but remember that ultimately, the decision is yours. Your mental health journey is a personal one.
Telling your family about your plans to seek psychedelic therapy can be intimidating, but it’s important to be honest about your plans and open to their questions. By sharing your personal story, explaining what psychedelic therapy is, and listing the benefits, you can help your family understand why you’re interested in pursuing this treatment option.