Back in the '70s, Jayne Gumpel was a 20-something living in South America, “riding bareback in the mountains and eating mushrooms.” When she'd trip, she'd think, Oh, my God, this would be so good for the world.
Decades later, science seems to agree: Psychedelic integration, when an individual takes a drug and explores their experience in follow-up therapy sessions, is becoming increasingly mainstream. Oregon voted to legalize psilocybin in the fall after studies showed the drug's efficacy in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD. Meanwhile, researchers in Canada have seen promising results when administering MDMA to couples.
Today, Gumpel is a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience as a couples therapist. She also works for Fluence, an organization that trains therapists to incorporate psychedelic integration in their own practices. She doesn't (and can't legally) recommend or administer MDMA or psilocybin to her clients, but if they approach her saying that they're planning on trying it, she'll help them prepare for the journey. After they've tripped, they'll come back and incorporate their findings—which, she says, are “very profound very often”—into their ongoing work.
GQ: Can you share some insights that have come out of a successful psychedelic integration session? JAYNE GUMPEL: I can honestly say I've never had any unsuccessful ones. Because even if it's a difficult psilocybin session, if it's presented the right way and you create safety for the person to really talk about what happened, there's always an opportunity to learn something.