How to Measure Progress in Psychedelic Integration with Tomas Frymann

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In this episode of the Psychedelic Medicine Podcast, Tomas Frymann joins to discuss his recent paper where he developed scales for measuring dimensions of psychedelic integration. Tomas is a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Spirituality and Psychology Lab and the author of the Psychedelic Integration Scales and the Interbeing Identity Scale. He is also a practicing psychedelic integration coach for Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS, Inc.).

Tomas begins by discussing the context for this research, mentioning that while integration is frequently considered a crucial element of psychedelic healing, the lack of metrics for analyzing it has meant that there has been comparably little attention given to integration in psychedelic research. As such, he hopes that the scales he proposes can both encourage additional research into this dimension of psychedelic therapy and also aid in the implementation of various integration practices and programs through providing a concrete structure from which such things may be developed.

Tomas also talks about the research process, mentioning how his team worked with integration experts working in traditional, medical, and independent psychedelic contexts. The team developed initial ideas that they then discussed with the experts in order to identify major patterns and narrow down their selection of relevant criteria.

In the end, Tomas realized there are two separate but related aspects of integration: integration engagement and experienced integration. The former refers to specific actions taken in order to facilitate integration. Tomas divides engagement into the categories of reflection and application. Though there are no hard boundaries between the two, reflection generally refers to contemplative attention given to the psychedelic experience after the fact whereas application is implementing lifestyle changes in accordance with the insights gained from the psychedelic experience. Here Tomas discusses his own experience of desiring to change his dietary habits to include less meat following a psychedelic session where he connected deeply with an animal.

When it comes to experienced integration, Tomas is seeking to emphasize the psychological feeling of having integrated a psychedelic journey. He divides this aspect into two subsets as well: feeling settled and feeling harmonized. Feeling settled refers to a sense of being at ease in everyday life again following a psychedelic experience, where one is no longer either struggling with integrating a difficult experience nor experiencing dissonance between the revelations of a beautiful experience and the realities of life. Feeling harmonized he explains as a sense of having drawn connections between the insights of a psychedelic journey and conventional existence, so that it feels like these things fit together in a positive way.

In closing, Tomas reiterates his excitement that this work may not only lead to additional scientific research into integration, but may also be a useful pragmatic tool for coaches and individuals as they seek to deepen their integration of psychedelic experiences.

In this episode:

  • How quantifying integration could help encourage more research into integration and the implementation of these practices in more psychedelic contexts
  • How Tomas researched integration to begin constructing these scales
  • Tomas’ seed metaphor for integration
  • What it means to be “settled” in the integration process
  • Using these scales to prompt exploration in integration

Quotes:

“The purpose of the scales is to have a metric so that we can show that integration is important.” [4:32]

“When you follow these wisdoms, when you take them into account, when you reflect and apply, the output should be basically an improved wellness” [15:48]

“When we were creating the integration scale we were really careful not to say integration has to go in any one direction or not—it’s really just about honoring what came up, and working with that.” [20:28]

Links:

Tomas' article: "The Psychedelic Integration Scales: Tools for Measuring Psychedelic Integration Behaviors and Experiences"

As We Wake

Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS, Inc.)

Psychedelic Medicine Association

Porangui

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