What is Psychedelic-Assisted Coaching or Therapy?
Psychedelic-assisted coaching or therapy (PAT) is a novel treatment approach that combines psychedelic substances such as ketamine, psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA with coaching or therapy to address various mental health concerns. This approach has demonstrated promising results in clinical trials and case studies, indicating its potential to revolutionize mental health treatment. In this article, we will examine how PAT works and its potential benefits for individuals with mental health challenges.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy typically involves a patient taking a psychedelic substance under the guidance of a trained therapist or coach. During the session, the patient is encouraged to explore their thoughts, emotions, and experiences, while the therapist provides support and guidance. The psychedelic substance enhances the patient's introspection and allows them to access deep emotions and memories that may be difficult to access otherwise.
One of the primary benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy is that it can help people with a variety of mental health concerns. For example, research has shown that psilocybin can be effective in treating depression and anxiety.1 2 LSD has also been found effective in treating anxiety and depression3, while MDMA has shown promise in treating PTSD4.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy can also be beneficial for people who have difficulty opening up in traditional therapy settings. The psychedelic substance can help patients feel more comfortable and open to discussing difficult emotions and experiences, allowing them to make progress in therapy, especially when they’re hitting a wall or feeling stuck.
Despite the promising results of PAT, it is important to note that it is not a cure-all and is not appropriate for everyone. Patients with certain medical conditions, such as a history of heart disease or high blood pressure, should not take psychedelic substances without a prior medical evaluation. Additionally, psychedelic-assisted therapy should only be conducted under the guidance of a trained therapist or coach in a safe and controlled environment.
What is the difference between coaching and therapy?
Coaching and therapy are two different types of support that individuals can seek to improve their lives or address personal challenges. Note that in common usage, psychedelic-assisted therapy could refer to coaching or therapy in conjunction with psychedelic treatment, whereas psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy specifically refers to talk therapy conducted by licensed psychotherapists (LMSW, LMFT, LMC, MAD, MPsy, PsyD, PhD are among the most common in the U.S.). Coaches may or may not be certified, such as by the International Coach Federation (ICF) or National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (MBHWC). While there are some similarities between the licensed therapists and coaches, there are also important differences.
Psychotherapy is a type of mental health treatment that focuses on helping individuals overcome psychological and emotional challenges, including traumas. It is conducted by licensed mental health professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, or licensed counselors. Therapists help individuals explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and develop strategies to overcome challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or relationship issues. Therapists use a variety of evidence-based techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic therapy, or mindfulness-based therapy, to help clients work through their challenges.
Coaching, on the other hand, is a type of support that focuses more on helping individuals achieve personal or professional goals. Coaches help individuals identify their strengths, set achievable goals, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Coaches do not provide mental health treatment, and do not diagnose or treat mental health conditions. Instead, coaching is focused on helping individuals optimize their potential and performance in specific areas of their lives, such as career development, leadership, or personal growth.
Another important difference between coaching and therapy is the nature of the relationship between the client and the provider. In therapy, the relationship between the client and the therapist is typically more structured and hierarchical, with the therapist taking on a more authoritative role. In coaching, the relationship is often more collaborative and focused on empowering the client to take ownership of their own growth and development.
While there are differences between coaching and therapy, it's worth noting that there can be some overlap between the two. For example, some therapists may incorporate coaching techniques into their therapy practice, particularly when working with clients who are interested in personal or professional development. Similarly, some coaches may have training or experience in therapy techniques and may be able to offer more emotional support to clients who are struggling with mental health challenges.
In summary, while coaching and therapy are two distinct types of support, both can be beneficial in helping individuals overcome personal challenges and achieve their goals. The choice between coaching and therapy depends on the individual's specific needs, goals, and preferences, as well as the nature of the challenges they are facing.
What is Curio’s psychedelic-assisted coaching therapy like?
Curio offers a comprehensive treatment approach known as Psychedelic-Assisted Coaching Treatment (PACT) that involves educating and preparing patients for their ketamine sessions. PACT helps patients to set intentions and goals for their experience, enabling them to navigate through the emotional, mental, and physical changes that may occur during their session.
Moreover, PACT is based on mindfulness and the formation of healthy habits, which are reinforced through coaching. Through education, patients can gain a better understanding of the psychedelic experience and learn how to prepare for it, reducing anxiety and enhancing their ability to cope with challenging emotions or thoughts that might arise in a session.
During the session, the patient is supported and guided by a trained professional who helps them stay grounded and focused. By providing a safe and supportive environment, patients can explore their inner experiences and emotions without feeling overwhelmed.
The education and support provided by PACT can lead to increased patient satisfaction and improved treatment outcomes. Patients who feel supported and prepared are more likely to have positive experiences and more effectively integrate insights gained during the session into their daily lives. PACT also helps patients to develop healthy habits that support their mental and emotional well-being and promote long-term positive changes.
Psychedelic-assisted coaching and therapy is a promising treatment approach for various mental health concerns. By combining the use of psychedelic substances with therapy or coaching in a safe and controlled environment, patients can access deep emotions and memories, and make faster emotional progress. While it is not appropriate for everyone, psychedelic-assisted therapy has the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment.
_ _ _
- Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Rucker, J., Day, C. M., Erritzoe, D., Kaelen, M., Bloomfield, M., Rickard, J. A., Forbes, B., Feilding, A., Taylor, D., Pilling, S., Curran, V. H., & Nutt, D. J. (2016). Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: An open-label Feasibility Study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(7), 619–627. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(16)30065-7
- Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W., Carducci, M. A., Umbricht, A., Richards, W. A., Richards, B. D., Cosimano, M. P., & Klinedinst, M. A. (2016). Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1181–1197. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881116675513
- Holze, F., Gasser, P., Müller, F., Dolder, P. C., & Liechti, M. E. (2023). Lysergic acid diethylamide–assisted therapy in patients with anxiety with and without a life-threatening illness: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II study. Biological Psychiatry, 93(3), 215–223. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.08.025
- Mitchell, J. M., Bogenschutz, M., Lilienstein, A., Harrison, C., Kleiman, S., Parker-Guilbert, K., Ot’alora G., M., Garas, W., Paleos, C., Gorman, I., Nicholas, C., Mithoefer, M., Carlin, S., Poulter, B., Mithoefer, A., Quevedo, S., Wells, G., Klaire, S. S., van der Kolk, B., … Doblin, R. (2021). MDMA-Assisted therapy for severe PTSD: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study. Nature Medicine, 27(6), 1025–1033. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01336-3