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Trip Sitter: Holding Space Through A Psychedelic Experience

Trip Sitter: Holding Space Through A Psychedelic Experience
Psychedelic experiences that are rewarding and both mentally and spiritually beneficial.

Trip Sitter: Holding Space Through A Psychedelic Experience — Holding space for someone during a psychedelic experience is sacred. It makes way for that person to consume psychedelics in a safe, protected way. As they become vulnerable, open, and available to ascend, a trip sitter is their tether to the earth.

Notably, the goal for consuming psychedelics may be recreational or to help heal trauma, connect with a more profound sense of self, address alcohol and narcotics abuse, relieve anxiety, or serve as an end-of-life therapy. However, regardless of its purpose, having someone help navigate the experience can be extremely valuable and helpful.

Holding space means staying grounded and mindful in support of someone else’s psychedelic experience.

Why Use a Trip Sitter the First Time

Many first-time users enlist a trip sitter or a sober person to be with them. On a basic level, a trip sitter should meet the following criteria:

  1. Ability to stay sober for the duration of the experience
  2. Responsible, like a parent but not overbearing
  3. Can see an issue rising and divert or redirect before it becomes a problem
  4. Maintains a positive, calm vibe in chaos

The Basics of a Trip Sitter

The basic trip sitter’s job is to keep a person physically safe and maintain a good vibe. The trip sitter’s job is also to protect the emotional and spiritual vibe. For the most part, that means holding space for that person to experience everything that the substance highlights to them.

Essentially, holding space is allowing someone to express themself fully without judgment. Doing this while someone embarks on a psychedelic experience facilitates the healing aspects of psychedelics to occur.

A trip sitter is at least a chaperone to reduce harm. A trip sitter who calmly and effectively holds space facilitates the psychedelic user into a more profound experience.

self expression on psychedelics
Trip sitting considerations for psychedelics and setting expectations for self expression during a psychedelic experience.

Considerations as a Trip Sitter

Psychedelics are rooted in spiritual experience. How deeply a person delves into their experience is affected by a few factors. For example, are they physically in a safe and beneficial place? Did they check their mindset before partaking? Did they set an intention or goal for their trip? Even if their only goal is to have fun (also a spiritual practice), are they aware that the universe might choose to take them deeper? Holding space for someone as their trip sitter means letting go of your own agenda so that you can be their anchor. Be a blank page.

Importantly, a trip sitter must pay attention to anything that could cause a negative impact. For example, if someone around the individual learns of their psychedelic mindset, they might try to mess with them. A trip sitter should never let this happen. This interference, whether intentional or not, can change that person’s vibration. Consequently, holding space in this scenario could mean leaving that physical space altogether.

trip sitting tips for holding space
Trip sitting tips for holding space. How to trip sit the right way.

How do you Hold the Space?

Psychedelics make one more susceptible to the energies and vibrations people transmute. Holding space for someone is like forming an energetic boundary, a hedge of protection. It’s like being a sheepdog and keeping the wolves away. If the person encounters an internal wolf, something that triggers fear or pain, an experienced or intuitive trip sitter can help bring them back to their breath. The goal is not to avoid or restrict what the person experiences but to reassure them that they are safe and loved regardless of what they go through. This is the difference between guiding that person according to your own understanding and holding space for them to come through their experience.

There are a multitude of benefits to mindful ego dissolution.

Ego Dissolution is the Way

Though dosing may be a factor, psychedelics can help some people achieve the highly sought Ego Dissolution. Dissolving the ego or no longer being attached to self-image can be a fearful process. If a person reaches this point while taking a psychedelic, it is imperative to hold space. A psychotherapist or a spiritual leader may guide a person here. However, since most of us are not psychotherapists, simply holding space for them can help them be their own guide.

Ego dissolution happens in several ways. It is when a person is no longer attached to their self-image. Most of us fill in the holes lacking in ourselves with things that are self-serving or selfish. The dissolving of the ego is a true fear for most. Fortunately, understanding all the healing elements of this process can make ego dissolution much less stressful.

It is crucial that those under psychedelic influence understand that the people nearest them can affect their experience. Often, a trip sitter will be the only external source of spiritual literacy available.

Tips on holding space for someone under the influence of psychedelics:

  • Set ground rules together
  • Begin with breath and return to breath
  • Make sure they stay hydrated
  • Preselect music without commercials or without speaking
  • Or choose a guided meditation in line with the person’s intention
What’s the difference between trip sitting and psychedelic guides and shamans?

Psychedelic Guides and Shamans

A psychedelic guide is a deeper level beyond trip sitter. Notably, any responsible, trustworthy person can be a trip sitter. However, an experienced guide can intuitively but not intrusively navigate the spiritual plane alongside the traveler. Holding space for someone is one way to grow from a trip sitter to a psychedelic guide.

Before beginning, the two should set ground rules and establish trust. This means the user surrenders a certain amount of control to the psychedelic guide to keep them safe and to hold space. Choosing someone trustworthy in these areas is critical. Ideally, this person will not be new to psychedelics.

Ask the user about their intentions. According to their spiritual beliefs, say a prayer or affirmation beforehand. Ask what kind of music they like and decide if it fits their intention. Also, get ideas for visual focal points (relevant for short experiences like DMT).

Learn and practice deescalation techniques. These can be essential if a person becomes extremely scared or triggered during a trip.

Holding space for someone during a psychedelic experience is karmically rewarding and sometimes just as therapeutic. It is both an honor, and it is an opportunity to honor an ancient connective practice. Oh, and watch fungi documentaries (there’s plenty!), but it’s important to learn about the organism itself.

Final Thoughts About Trip Sitting by Holding Space

Psychedelics can be incredibly beneficial, but only under controlled circumstances. If you’d like to support a loved one during their psychedelic experience, then hold space for them as a trip sitter.

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