PSIP 
Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy

three spokes of PSIP_v3.png

Graphic courtesy of the Psychedelic Somatic Institute

Biology Before Psychology

The basic fundamental approach that we hold as therapists is mental health issues are primarily biological responses coming from repressed or suppressed emotional charges. Our bodies have evolved for millions of years to be able to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system. The focus on the ANS is at the foundation to our approach. This model was developed by Saj Razvi, LPC through his early work in 2008 with Trauma Dynamics and his participation in the MAPS Phase II Clinical Trial of MDMA where Saj was a principal investigator. Steve Elfrink who is a co-founder of both OmTerra and the Psychedelic Somatic Institute was a research assistant to Saj for the peer-reviewed article for the Journal of Psychedelic Psychiatry on the PSIP Model. You can read that article here - and it is highly recommended to read it prior to contacting OmTerra. 

Why is the Autonomic Nervous System so Important?

All animals are wired to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The beautiful thing about the ANS is that it does require any training or techniques to process trauma - it is an innate ability that we all carry. Our challenge as people and as a culture is that we have developed incredible coping strategies to suppress and push down trauma. We distract, we eat, drink, do yoga, watch TV, take medication, do therapy, meditate or even take psychedelic medicines to heal. The challenge is these methods are designed to take us further away from what our bodies have been programmed to do for millions of years. We have become a culture where we cope with our symptoms of anxiety and depression vs. allowing the body to naturally process the trauma.

Our bodies seek something call homeostasis - a return to normal. The best example of this is our body temperature. Our body automatically keeps our body at 98.6 degrees - or close to it.  Just like our body wants us at 98.6 our bodies want us to return to a neutral state when it comes to stress, anxiety and depression.

Fight | Flight | Freeze

Most people have heard of "flight or fright". If we are startled or threatened we go into a heightened state of arousal, if things get more intense we go into flight or flight. If you are attacked by someone you may try to flee or fight back. If things get too intense or overwhelming and you cannot escape, you may go into a freeze response. A freeze response is where a person goes blank, checks out or may be the "deer in the headlights". This freeze is also known as dissociation. And dissociation is one of the most misunderstood aspects of mental health and one of our main focuses of therapy when working with clients. The beautiful thing about dissociation is that is has protected people for years. Also, as a young child if there was early childhood abuse, dissociation was a "safe place" when there was no safe place. A young child cannot fight back, but they can disappear in the fog of dissociation. The challenge with this mechanism of safety is that the event and the pain/trauma from that event lives on under the cloak of dissociation. The hopeful message for anyone with trauma is that there is nothing wrong with you - you are primarily dealing with biological responses to trauma. And within that knowing lies an incredible resource - your own body. Your body took you into these states and your body can bring you back through. That is what the PSIP model is focused on - bringing someone's body back to a homeostatic state by clearing or processing the dissociation, the held charges and the held or repressed memories. 

ANS_Omterra.png

The OmTerra Approach

At OmTerra, we work with your body's innate ability to utilize your Autonomic Nervous System to process trauma held in the body. To help facilitate this process we use cannabis and ketamine as catalysts to minimize your executive function capabilities. Executive functioning is what you have been using for years to manage your trauma, anxiety and/or depression. It's what is also known as secondary consciousness. Conversely, trauma and held charge/event memories live in primary consciousness, largely unaccessible, even to those actively seeking healing through standard therapy. By taking executive functioning offline, primary consciousness is able to be accessed.

Most of us have developed methods to deal with our painful, repressed or suppressed memories, stress and anxiety. Imagine your trauma as a tightly inflated ball that lives within you. Your body constantly seeks to release the energy/trauma within that ball. We refer to that as "off gassing." Every day your trauma is slowly trying to dissipate out. This slow, minute discharge shows up as anxiety. If the level of anxiety becomes too big it can lead to overwhelm and then drop you into states of dissociation. This is where you will begin to feel depressed, hopeless and miserable. During your session we use a therapeutic process called Selective Inhibition (SI) which inhibits our standard coping mechanisms. By utilizing SI in combination with cannabis or ketamine, we activate your innate ANS pathway, allowing the held charge/emotions to arise in order to be processed and released. If there is heavy dissociation, you may experience feeling blank, numb, floaty, heavy and/or cold. Though these layers of dissociation were once needed, moving through them allows waves of held charge and emotions to release.

The Gift of Destabilization

Depending on the depths of trauma that your body holds, this work can lead to varying levels of destabilization. It is important to know, this is not something we can predict ahead of time. If you know that you have early childhood or pre-verbal trauma, the likelihood of some level of destabilization is high. What we find is that usually more complex trauma from early childhood means higher levels of destabilization. Awakening from the trance of trauma means discovering and feeling old layers of held charge, and, at times, repressed memories can arise. We find one of the biggest challenges to this work is the painful feelings in State 3 that arise (feeling hopelessness, misery, deep sadness, etc.). The most important thing to know about this work is that these feelings are temporary. They are an opportunity to do another session and move through them. The gift is that this is all part of your healing process and that as you do this work, more of you becomes available to enjoy your life! 

The most important phrase for anyone going through this model of therapy is "trust your body." Your body is what carried you into these states and it is what can carry you back through. If you are destabilized it is critical to keep trusting your body and the process. Even though this work processes trauma much more quickly than standard talk therapy and other modalities, it still takes time. Through loving support and integration, you will make it through to a better experience of your life. That is why we are passionate about doing this work!

What Does a Session Look Like?

A typical session lasts for two hours. During the session you will be seated in a chair and wear comfortable clothing and eyeshades. Unlike standard psychedelic therapy we do not use music during sessions. The other difference is that this is an interactional model of therapy. The majority of trauma is based in relationship and so is the healing. With permission, there may be light touch or holding during the session. At times someone may go into a state where the young child emerges - a child who did not know safety and may have felt terrified and alone. In session, the ability to meet the needs within these early childhood attachment wounds can be profound.

Once seated and comfortable, the client can use their cannabis vape pen that they have brought with. We do not provide cannabis or ketamine. The cannabis can be an indica or sativa. It typically does not take a high dose of cannabis to activate the ANS. If you are a regular cannabis user it may take more cannabis to get you offline and activated. Once you the cannabis takes hold we will start the selective inhibition process. This is what will activate your ANS. Once activated you may go dissociative or into a heightened state of anxiety. What we aim for is the discomfort. We want you to steer yourself into the uncomfortable places that are held in your body. The important thing to understand is that you can have a lifetime of slow leaking anxiety that can lead to depressed states - or in two hour sessions move this out in large waves of held charge. 

A common question is how many sessions will I need. There is no easy answer to this question - the best answer is, "it varies". It varies depending on the amount of trauma, dissociation, emotions and repressed memories you are holding. And again, the more complex the trauma the more intensive the sessions will need to be. A good analogy is to imagine your trauma ball wrapped in the ice of dissociation. That layer of ice can be a thin layer or the thickness of a glacier. The thicker the ice/dissociation the more sessions you will typically need. 

Distinguishing aspects of the Model - Transference and Selective Inhibition

One aspect that may present itself during a session is something known as transference. Transference, positive or negative, involves transferring feelings originally felt, typically toward a primary caregiver, (attachment, love, hate, rage, etc.), onto the therapist. Positive transference may have the therapist becoming the client's savior. Negative transference may have the therapist becoming the perpetrator or the bystander. Although traditional therapy tries to avoid negative transference - the PSIP model works with negative transference in order to resolve and heal these early wounds and help move you through the emotions that are arising. 

Information Regarding PSIP Sessions

All sessions are $175 per hour (cannabis/ketamine/integration). Standard cannabis or ketamine sessions are two hours - $350 per session. We require all clients to be working regularly with their own therapist or schedule integration sessions with OmTerra. Some clients will do both, depending on the level of support required. (Note, few therapists understand this model. We encourage clients to have their therapist read The PSIP Model and our website to ensure the level of needed support will be available.)

 

Please read the FAQs section for more information. Note, clients provide their own medicines - WE DO NOT PRODUCE, STORE, DISTRIBUTE OR PROVIDE ANY MEDICINE. 

 

PSIP 
Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy

three spokes of PSIP_v3.png

Graphic courtesy of the Psychedelic Somatic Institute

Biology Before Psychology

The basic fundamental approach that we hold as therapists is mental health issues are primarily biological responses coming from repressed or suppressed emotional charges. Our bodies have evolved for millions of years to be able to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system. The focus on the ANS is at the foundation to our approach. This model was developed by Saj Razvi, LPC through his early work in 2008 with Trauma Dynamics and his participation in the MAPS Phase II Clinical Trial of MDMA where Saj was a principal investigator. Steve Elfrink who is a co-founder of both OmTerra and the Psychedelic Somatic Institute was a research assistant to Saj for the peer-reviewed article for the Journal of Psychedelic Psychiatry on the PSIP Model. You can read that article here - and it is highly recommended to read it prior to contacting OmTerra. 

Why is the Autonomic Nervous System so Important?

All animals are wired to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The beautiful thing about the ANS is that it does require any training or techniques to process trauma - it is an innate ability that we all carry. Our challenge as people and as a culture is that we have developed incredible coping strategies to suppress and push down trauma. We distract, we eat, drink, do yoga, watch TV, take medication, do therapy, meditate or even take psychedelic medicines to heal. The challenge is these methods are designed to take us further away from what our bodies have been programmed to do for millions of years. We have become a culture where we cope with our symptoms of anxiety and depression vs. allowing the body to naturally process the trauma.

Our bodies seek something call homeostasis - a return to normal. The best example of this is our body temperature. Our body automatically keeps our body at 98.6 degrees - or close to it.  Just like our body wants us at 98.6 our bodies want us to return to a neutral state when it comes to stress, anxiety and depression.

Fight | Flight | Freeze

Most people have heard of "flight or fright". If we are startled or threatened we go into a heightened state of arousal, if things get more intense we go into flight or flight. If you are attacked by someone you may try to flee or fight back. If things get too intense or overwhelming and you cannot escape, you may go into a freeze response. A freeze response is where a person goes blank, checks out or may be the "deer in the headlights". This freeze is also known as dissociation. And dissociation is one of the most misunderstood aspects of mental health and one of our main focuses of therapy when working with clients. The beautiful thing about dissociation is that is has protected people for years. Also, as a young child if there was early childhood abuse, dissociation was a "safe place" when there was no safe place. A young child cannot fight back, but they can disappear in the fog of dissociation. The challenge with this mechanism of safety is that the event and the pain/trauma from that event lives on under the cloak of dissociation. The hopeful message for anyone with trauma is that there is nothing wrong with you - you are primarily dealing with biological responses to trauma. And within that knowing lies an incredible resource - your own body. Your body took you into these states and your body can bring you back through. That is what the PSIP model is focused on - bringing someone's body back to a homeostatic state by clearing or processing the dissociation, the held charges and the held or repressed memories. 

ANS_Omterra.png

PSIP 
Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Psychotherapy

three spokes of PSIP_v3.png

Graphic courtesy of the Psychedelic Somatic Institute

Biology Before Psychology

The fundamental approach that we hold is that mental health issues are primarily biological responses coming from managed (repressed or suppressed) emotional charges. Our bodies have evolved for millions of years to be able to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system. The focus on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is at the foundation of our approach. This model was developed by Saj Razvi, LPC, through his work in 2008 with Trauma Dynamics and participation in the MAPS Phase II Clinical Trial of MDMA as a principal investigator. Steve Elfrink, co-founder of both OmTerra and the Psychedelic Somatic Institute, was a research assistant for the 2020 peer-reviewed Journal of Psychedelic Psychiatry article, The PSIP Model. You can read that article here. We highly recommend reading the paper to better understand the model to see if this approach is a fit for you. If so, please contact OmTerra by clicking here

Why is the Autonomic Nervous System so Important?

All animals are wired to process trauma through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The beautiful thing about the ANS is that it does not require any training or techniques to process trauma. You do not have to help it, understand it, or figure it out - it is an innate ability that we all possess. Our challenge as people and as a culture is that we have developed incredible coping strategies to suppress, push down, and otherwise manage our  trauma. We distract, we eat, drink, do yoga, watch TV, take medication, do therapy, meditate or even take psychedelic medicines to heal. The challenge is that these methods take us further away from what our bodies have been programmed to do for millions of years. We have become a culture where we cope with our symptoms of anxiety and depression vs. allowing the body to naturally process the trauma.

Our bodies seek something call homeostasis - a return to normal. The best example of this is our body temperature. Our body automatically maintains about a 98.6 degree temperature. Just as our body keeps us at 98.6 our bodies want us to return to a neutral state when it comes to stress, anxiety and depression. Our model of therapy helps you tap into your body's innate pathway to processing held trauma. 

The ANS Map | Your Body

The body is designed to handle threats to our wellbeing by moving us through varying states created by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There are five states in total, State 0 through State 4. Following is an overview of each of the states using an attack scenario. Consider a woman walking down the street enjoying their day. This is known as State 0 - all is calm, content and relaxed. If someone is startled or threatened, the body will move into a heightened state of arousal, hyper-vigilance, and anxiety. These are hallmarks of State 1. If things get more intense, we may feel terror and panic and our body then moves into what is known as a flight or flight response. For instance, if you are attacked by someone, you may try to flee the scene or fight the assailant. This is considered a State 2 response. If things get too intense or overwhelming and you are unable to escape, your body would then implement a "deer in the headlights" response known as a State 3 response. This is where someone experiences hopelessness, nausea, suicidality and overwhelm. This is the body's transition into the first level of dissociation - one of the most misunderstood aspects of mental health and one of our main focuses of therapy when working with clients. Finally, if the threat is not resolved, someone will go blank or check out in State 4, the body's second and deepest level of dissociation. The beautiful thing about dissociation is that is has protected people for years. Also, as a young child if there was early childhood abuse, dissociation was a "safe place" when there was no safe place. A young child cannot fight back, but they can disappear in the fog of dissociation. The challenge with this mechanism of safety is that the event and the pain/trauma from that event lives on under the cloak of dissociation. The hopeful message for anyone with trauma is that there is nothing wrong with you - you are primarily dealing with biological responses to trauma. And within that knowing lies an incredible resource - your own body. Your body took you into these states and your body can bring you back through. That is what the PSIP model focuses on - bringing someone's body back to a homeostatic state by clearing/processing the dissociation, held charges and suppressed or repressed memories. 

ANS_Omterra.png

Graphic courtesy of the Psychedelic Somatic Institute