A successful integration group can serve as a powerful container in which individuals can experience healing. This container will foster a safe environment for people to share their sensitive psychedelic experiences. While integration can occur in a wide range of environments and activities, peer support groups offer an excellent place for one to be seen and heard by their community. We are going to outline the steps needed to establish a local peer integration circle.
Step 1: Find one or several like-minded individuals to work with. These may not be people you know well initially, so think outside of your mates to your wider social network to find trustworthy people interested in forming an integration circle. Is there a local psychedelic community with whom you could connect and collaborate? Be mindful of who you decide to work with.
Step 2: Work with your new co-facilitators on establishing a list of guidelines for your integration group. There is a social contract that goes into creating the container for the integration group. Some general rules include turning off cell phones, not interrupting, and not giving advice (by speaking only from one's own experience). Think of this as setting the expectations for conduct. This step outlines how you will create and keep a safe space for integration to occur.
Step 3: Design the flow of your integration group. How is a session of the integration circle going to go? Altered States Integration’s integration groups open with reading our guidelines, then we set the mood with a grounding meditation. We are then ready to open the circle to sharing experiences (with or without a round of feedback afterwards). Lastly, we clear out the energies by offering a closing exercise.
Step 4: Find a suitable place to host your integration circles. To create an intimate environment, choose a cozy, moderately lit space. Think about set and setting and what kind of space you are trying to create. Local community spaces like a library or something similar can be a cheap, easy option. Think outside the box: under the trees on a blanket at the park, in a comfortable attic, maybe find a yoga studio that will let you host an event there. Potentially look for a space with the ability to lock the door after a certain time; late arrivals can disrupt the energetic flow.
Step 5: Advertise your integration circle. Social media can help spread awareness of your integration group but can also end up being an echo chamber. Can the local psychedelic community advertise your event? Meetup.com can be really helpful in getting outside of a social circle and finding people who actually want to interact, but it does charge for a membership. Handing out flyers or talking to people at a psychedelic-themed concert might also be a good avenue to meet new people interested in this side of psychedelics. There are endless possibilities for finding like minded folks - be creative!
Step 6: Host your first integration circle! Hopefully it is a success. Let us know if you hosted a circle! We’d love to hear how it went. Email us at AlteredStatesIntegration@gmail.com