Eric Sienknecht, Psy.D and Veronika Gold, MFT are therapists at Phase 3 Clinical Trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD. Both as well provide Ketamine Assisted Therapy in a private practice setting in San Francisco, California. Eric has been interested in the treatment of trauma, chronic pain, working with grief and loss, the healing potential of psychedelic and plant medicines, music therapy, and transpersonal and mindfulness approaches to personal growth and healing. He has been actively involved with MAPS since 2010 as an Adherence Rater for the Clinical Trials. Veronika, Czech Republic native, who moved to San Francisco in 2003, is a psychotherapist with an expertise in the treatment of trauma. Besides being a psychedelic assisted psychotherapist her goal is to educate others about the potential for healing and transformation through non-ordinary states and help make psychedelic assisted psychotherapy legally available to a greater amount of people.
“Set and Setting in Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy for Optimal Experience and Results”
Set and Setting – the mindset, expectations, motivations, and intention of the participant, the mindset and background of the therapist, the theoretical orientation, goals, and techniques used by the therapist, direction toward internal vs. external attention, the physical setting, the use of music, the treatment context, and planned activities for integration – profoundly impacts the psychedelic experience.
While we do not believe that there is only one right set and setting for psychedelic assisted therapy we as practitioners can optimize client’s experience. By providing the right kind of set and setting, the potential for having a positive experience can be optimized and even challenging experiences can be experienced as meaningful and relevant to the healing work.
We will discuss the various aspects of set and setting based on a thorough literature review and experiences from MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD clinical trials sponsored by MAPS and our Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy practice. We will consider the importance of training to deepen our understanding of non-ordinary states of consciousness and inner healing intelligence, including the value of self-experience, and recommend such training for all staff at psychedelic clinics. We will inquire about the role of psychotherapeutic approaches in preparing and programming for the psychedelic session, and whether there are more compatible psychotherapy approaches for psychedelic assisted therapy.