Luís Fernando Tófoli, PhD
ICARO, University of Campinas
An interdisciplinary discussion on the integration of the psychedelic experience
The concept of 'integration' is widely associated in the field of psychedelic studies as a quasi-mandatory condition for a complete therapeutic experience with psychedelic substances, whether in an experimental, therapeutic or ritual setting.
Integration can be understood as a set of various techniques and procedures used to give someone who has used a psychedelic the possibility to incorporate the experience in a useful way in their life.
Although widely taken for granted, the concept of integration has a relatively poor and elusive theoretical-conceptual basis. Moreover, although based on the respectful prior experience with the therapeutic use of psychedelics in the twentieth century, the evidence base on integration with experimental studies is virtually nonexistent.
Also, there are at least two settings with psychedelics where the idea of integration is not assumed as mandatory: the ritual use of ayahuasca in the Brazilian ayahuasca religions and the treatment of addiction with ibogaine in biomedical clinics.
In this presentation, the concept of integration will be discussed through different perspectives, including historical, theoretical and experimental aspects. The two mentioned cases (ayahuasca religions and ibogaine clinics) will also be explored using some key concepts of Psychological Medicine and Medical Anthropology.
In summary, we would like to argue the state of the art about psychedelic integration in the present and to demonstrate that, although integration can be extremely important, it is still necessary to discuss how and when it should be performed in therapeutic and ritual settings.
Luís Fernando Tófoli, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. He heads the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactive Substances and is a member of the State Council on Drug Policies of São Paulo. He is responsible for the Interdisciplinary Cooperation for Ayahuasca Research and Outreach (ICARO) at UNICAMP and has recently published in the field of drug policies and the therapeutic use of psychedelics, especially ayahuasca.