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What is Integration? Why Does it Matter?

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Katharine Marder, M.D. - Board-certified Psychiatrist

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This is the first in our series of posts on integration.

“Integration” refers to the process of transforming insights and short-term improvements during a ketamine journey into meaningful life changes that promote lasting well-being.

A simple but powerful framework for integration is based on two key aspects: deepening and broadening. “Deepening” refers to finding or creating meaning from your ketamine journey in order to deepen your understanding of yourself, your life, and your place in the world. “Broadening” refers to taking that understanding and expanding it to other areas of your life to create change.

“Deepening” begins with revisiting the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you experienced during your ketamine sessions. The next step is to reflect on these experiences and try to learn something new about yourself. This process can lead to meaningful insights that guide you towards healing. At Propel Therapeutics, one of our board-certified psychiatrists will meet with you after each ketamine session to help facilitate this process. In addition to this debriefing session, we strongly recommend that you continue the work in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment session.

Broadening is the second key aspect of integration. “Broadening” refers to making changes in your life based on realizations from the treatment session or based on your specific goals. This can happen simultaneously with deepening or after you have found a sense of meaning from your experience. If you don’t have particularly intense experiences during your ketamine sessions, broadening will be the main focus of your integration process.

Integration does not always follow a neat, linear path. You might begin making changes in your life only to find out that they aren’t really resonating with you. It’s okay to take this new information and return to the deepening process; maybe there is something more to learn about yourself before trying again. The integration process also takes time. Some people find new meaning from a psychedelic experience months or years later when something finally “clicks.”

Be patient and gentle with yourself during the integration process. If you are stuck, ask for help. Remember that integration is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-care.

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