At Field Trip, we encourage clients to set intentions as a way to guide what they want to achieve in their psychedelic exploration. Going into your medicine journey with a clear vision as to why you are there and what you want to achieve creates a strong preparation practice and a solid foundation for your mindset. Setting intentions is not only for psychedelic exploration but also an important aspect of many different traditional therapeutic approaches including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT,) mindfulness-based therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. It can also be a productive practice in your day-to-day life, notably in the time of a fresh beginning, like the New Year.
But what exactly is an intention, and why is it so important in preparing for a shift in mindset or lifestyle change?
An intention is simply a statement of purpose or resolve. It's a way of identifying what you want to achieve or accomplish, and it can be something like "I want to forgive myself" or "I want to reconcile my relationships with family and loved ones." Going into your psychedelic therapy journey with a list of intentions helps you identify what grievances are within and what you want to do to work through them.
Ketamine, the medicine we use at Field Trip, evokes neuroplasticity, which is a state when your brain is malleable and can help you more easily learn, change and adapt. This creates an opportunity to develop new habits, thought patterns, and perspectives. When we set an intention before psychedelic exploration, this intention is ideally interwoven into your journey so that you could easily attain what you set out to discover or heal.
The process of setting an intention involves identifying our aspirations and priorities, and then using those as a guide to help you make decisions and take action. It helps you to focus our energy and attention on what matters most in the purpose of this journey, and it helps to keep you aligned throughout the process. You can exercise this practice in preparation for any conscious activity in your life and watch your deliberate mindfulness pay off.
But setting intentions is about more than just “achieving goals.” When you have a clear sense of what you want to accomplish and why, it can be a powerful anchor and can help you understand the process, even when faced with challenges.
In addition to helping you stay aligned, setting intentions can also have a number of other benefits. For example:
• It can help to reduce anxiety. When you have an intentional sense of why you are there, it can be easier to handle unexpected challenges within the journey.
• It sets your foundation. When you set intentions that align with our desires for psychedelic exploration, you are more likely to trust the process and engage in preparation and integration that support your goals and overall well-being.
• It can increase your openness and sense of understanding. When you are clear about what you want to work through, it can be easier to recognize and appreciate your progress in the process of integrating what the psychedelic medicine brought up.
It's important to remember that intentions and expectations are different. Think of your intention as the guiding star to your journey; You know the direction you’d like to take, but you are open to different ways of getting there. On the other hand, rigid expectations don’t offer much room for adaptation or flexibility. They tend to keep you focused on a very specific outcome, which can often leave you feeling discouraged and disconnected from the process if the outcome in your head wasn’t fulfilled like you anticipated. In psychedelic exploration specifically, we encourage holding your intentions with a loose grip so that you can be open to whatever arises in your session. Sometimes insights can come up in unexpected ways when you remain curious and reflective, and it is important to trust the process. Oftentimes, psychedelic medicine will show you what you need to explore whether you realize it or not.
So, how can you set intentions? At Field Trip, your therapist will always touch base with you before your exploration day and help you identify your goals. Here are a few tips to get you started on your own:
Identify why you are choosing this path and what you are looking to discover. What matters most to you? Consider what you want to achieve in different or challenging areas of your life, such as your relationships, career, personal growth, or physical health.
You can think of these questions as the beginning of a dialogue you are initiating with a special part of your inner healer. Some helpful thought prompts may be:
• Where am I stuck in life?
• What’s holding me back?
• How would I like my life to be different?
• What are the causes of my depression?
• How can I be more patient and empathetic?
Now, set intentions that align with your values. Make sure to break these down into smaller, more manageable steps and write them down to solidify them. You can additionally showcase your intentions in the form of artwork, a mantra, or a vision board.
Setting intentions is a very powerful tool for helping you to get the most out of both your psychedelic therapy experience and your overall life. This practice will help shape the experience you’re hoping for. We encourage you to take some time to think about what matters most to you and use that as a guide to help you create the life you deserve to live.