GUIDE | Dealing with a Bad trip- Part 1

by Bill Kovski October 01, 2016 0 Comments

GUIDE | Dealing with a Bad trip- Part 1

Artist: Ihtianderson

"The role of the psychedelic guide is perhaps the most exciting and inspiring role in society. THe Universe is literally a liberator, one who provides illumination, one who frees our planet from their life-long internal bondage. To be present at the moment of awakening, to share the ecstatic revelation when the voyager discovers the wonder and awe of the divine life-process, is for many the most gratifying part to play in the evolutionary drama. The role of the psychedelic guide has a built-in protection against professionalism and didactic oneupmanship. The psychedelic liberation is so powerful that it far outstrips earthly game ambitions. Awe and gratitude - rather than pride - are the rewards of this new profession."

(from "The Psychedelic Experience: a manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead", by Timothy Leary et al (1964))


Terence McKenna- How to deal with bad trips

Helping someone through a crisis

While dealing with a psychedelic crisis can be unnerving for participants, sitters and observers alike, most events are manageable with a careful assessment and calm, decisive response. For the person who had the episode, integrating the experience once the acute phase has passed is just as important as facing the crisis itself. 

This should be broken down into two stages: assessing and acting. The first step is to assess the situation and try to determine what type of action needs to be taken. 

Type of Situation

  1. Immediate or potential physical danger
    Is the person conscious? Is breath rate ceased or accelerated? Heart rate? Is there any skin discolouration? If unconscious, is there an appropriate pain response?
  2. Person is a danger to themselves or others
    Are they violent and acting threateningly towards others? What are the chances that they will attack someone? Hurt themselves unintentionally? Get in a car and drive? Attempt suicide?
  3. They are having a spiritual, mental, or emotional crisis
    Do they seem overly scared, depressed, or angry? Mood swings? Acting crazily? Awake but non-responsive?


Helpful Information
This information can determine what action should be taken in those 3 types of situations. The person should not be left alone while you are collecting this information. If the person is going through an emotional crisis, ask friends nearby rather than trying to pry the information out of the individual in crisis. 

  1. What substance did they take? If possible, learn what substance(s) they took and in what form (oral, smoked, injected). How much did they take? When did they take it? Are they on any other medications or supplements?
  2. Who are they? Do they have friends nearby? Where do they live? Do they have a history of this type or similar problems?

Find out all you can. Without a good assessment of what's happening, critical errors in handling it (pumping someone full of benzos unnecessarily, failing to call 911 in time, etc.) are more likely to occur. With as much of that information as possible in hand, decide the severity of the crisis and act accordingly:

  • Critical - Potential or immediate physical danger to self or others, possibly requiring medical attention.
  • Crisis - Benign to extreme psychotic behavior, negative thought loops, panic attacks.

Bill Kovski
Bill Kovski