Supporting a Loved One

After a Retreat

Thank you.

If you are receiving this guide, we’d like to extend a deep felt gratitude for your commitment to helping your Loved One  heal as deeply as possible.

Your loved one has just spent time deep therapeutic work equivalent to many years of therapy. As you can imagine, there will be a transition period as your LO resurfaces and integrates back into daily life.

Here is how to understand and best support your love during this time.

[For a printable PDF of this information, click here.]

Broad Strokes vs. Details

Focus on broad strokes, not details. Non-ordinary states of consciousness are ineffable, or hard to describe with words. They may be awe-inspiring, revealing connections to self, others, nature, and the planet. They have components that may feel scary, fleeting, or uncomfortable, and stir up parts that are ready to heal.

Be as patient with your LO as you can. Sometimes trying to put a spiritual experience into words can feel like it reduces its meaning.

Additionally, your LO has committed to creating a safe and confidential environment with other retreat participants, and agreed not to share the identity and experiences of others. Please help them to honor this commitment to confidentiality they’ve made. In other words: don’t expect a play-by-play or full “trip report.”

Supportive Language

Words like “tripping,” “getting high,” or “shrooming” may feel demeaning to some people.

“Journey work,” “plant medicine,” or “entheogenic healing” may feel like a better framework for therapeutic connotations.

Check with your LO on what language best frames their experience in a positive light.

Rest & Integration

Your loved one experienced deep and powerful work on their retreat. Their experience was more like a marathon than like a vacation. Now may be the time for rest and introspection.

One way you can support your loved on is by respecting their need for sleep. As the evening progresses, start to dim the lights, lower the sounds, and turn off the phones and other glowing screens. Don’t bring phones into the bedroom. Sleep is imperative for healing.

Your loved one’s experience took an enormous amount of energy and output, so gently nudging proper bedtimes and sleep hygiene can be incredibly helpful.

Declutter Mentally

Now is a sensitive and critical time for your loved one. In today’s world, there is an onslaught of constant media/news at our fingertips.

Please refrain from watching news, horror films, pornography, or anything graphic/violent in front of your loved one, or even discussing traumatic events taking place in the world. Those stories can wait.

Your loved one needs to receive new insights without distractions from outside sources.

Declutter Physically

Many guests have reported how stressful and destabilizing it was to return home to a chaotic and messy home post retreat.

Others have shared how much they appreciated – and how much they needed – to come back to a tidy space.

Remember: Your loved one’s nervous system is literally re-organizing itself right now. The outside environment can help or hinder that process.

Be Gentle & Patient

Your loved may also be emotionally more sensitive than usual as their nervous system reorganizes itself.

News that might not seem particularly disturbing to you may be quite rattling to your loved one.

Ask them what they can handle right now. Their experience has created a state of neuroplasticity: their brain is being rewired.

Has the way your loved one expresses their emotions changed? Are they acting differently? This is the time to watch them from the sidelines, admiring their growth, and understanding that it might seem “messier” before it gets “tidier.”

Nutrition

Please encourage healthy meals and snacks to help nourish your loved one.

Integration

Integration means incorporating insights gained into one’s life and seeking change based on these insights. It is an ongoing process. The lessons learned and material being processed may take time to make sense and be assimilated into your loved one’s life.

Some ways we have found to be helpful for integrating include artwork, journaling, spending time in nature, therapy, listening to music, and play! Please help in supporting joyfulness, laughter, and fun!

Avoid Alcohol & Mind-Altering Substances

Your loved one’s experience has likely been profound. As they digest and integrate the new information into their life, substances like alcohol and cannabis may confuse or interfere with the process.

Life Changes

Does your loved one suddenly want to make extraordinary major lifestyle changes or decisions, like sell their possessions, tell off their boss, or move to India?

Behaviors and positive changes will likely occur, but we encourage your loved one to refrain from making life-altering and extreme decisions impulsively. The right choice will still be right after the dust has settled a bit.

Relationship Changes

It’s natural to feel concerned about what your loved one’s changes might mean for you and your relationship. Your loved one may have gained some insights about challenges they have struggled with.

Even when changes are healthy and positive, they can still feel scary. Remember that what feels new or unfamiliar can still be safe. Transitions can be nerve-wracking but they are what’s needed for growth, learning, and healing.

Remember that someone healing and becoming their best self serves the greatest good for everyone – you included.

Your loved one may have new insight into situations – possibly including their relationship with you – but may not have the smoothest communication skills to match their new awareness. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and trust that what they bring to the table is ultimately in pursuit of what is best for you both.

If everyone stays the same, then nothing will change. Your ability to grow and adapt is a gift – not only to your loved one, but also to yourself and to your relationship. 

"Should I Do Medicine Too?"

It is normal to feel like an outsider, especially if you have never taken a psychedelic or experienced a non ordinary state of consciousness before. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run to the nearest ceremony.

Focus more on the “what” and less on the “how.” What has shifted in your loved? What do they need? What do you need, to meet those shifts? When one member of a team changes, they become a mirror for us to see the parts of our own selves that need our attention.

Choose the healing path that is right for you – the technique doesn’t have to be the same as your loved one’s.

If you do feel like it’s time for you to have a transformative experience with medicine, you likely can! Please feel welcome to set up a consultation for yourself and to get details on our upcoming retreats.

When to be Concerned

If your loved one begins to show signs of hypomania, mania, or psychosis, it’s time to get professional support. Specifically, things to watch for include: not “needing” sleep or food; scattershot attention or becoming distracted easily; increased irritability or agitation; dangerous or highly risky activity (such as high stakes gambling, unusual promiscuity, or physically dangerous activities); and/or overly inflated self-confidence.

Signs of psychosis include delusions, hallucinations, disturbed or illogical thinking, and/or losing touch with reality.

Likewise, if your loved one shows signs of major depression or suicidal thoughts, they will need additional support. Signs of depression include feeling hopeless, sad, or helpless; having low motivation; losing pleasure or interest in things; feeling guilt-ridden or like others would be better off if they died; and/or thoughts of harming themselves or dying by suicide.

If signs of any of these conditions occur – or other signs that have you concerned about your loved one – please seek professional help promptly. You may also reach out to us at retreats@RighttoHeal.com.