Tips for Navigating a Challenging ("Bad Trip") Journey

Are you planning on consuming a psychedelic medicine soon?

Worried about experiencing challenging situations during your psychedelic journey -- the so-called, but poorly named "bad trip"? What is a bad trip? You can think of it as something akin to a bad dream or nightmare -- or you can reframe it as difficult things you need to see to move past the trauma and onto healing and a better life.

Regardless of anything else you do, please remember that these medicines work best when you use them with intention. Recreational use (aka lack of intention) will not give you the healing results you seek.

10 Tips for Navigating a Challenging Journey

1. Understand the Risks. The first step should always be a risk assessment. Are you physically healthy enough to take psychedelics? Are you mentally prepared for a psychedelic journey? Are you filled with doubts or dread? Are you prepared to surrender to the medicine?

2. Do Your Research on the Medicine. Each psychedelic medicine has its own characteristics, effects, and duration. Obviously, dosage also plays a major role -- so know the exact dosage of the medicine that you plan to consume.

3. Confirm the Medicine You Are Consuming. If you are sourcing the medicine from underground sources (the dark web)... First, you need to be aware there are many scammers out there taking advantage of the psychedelic renaissance. Second, you have to ensure that the medicine you received is actually the medicine -- and at the correct dosage you seek. Many psychedelics can be tested using kits purchased at sites such as or

4. Clear and Prepare Your Mind. On the day of your journey, avoid all stressful situations and take time before the journey to settle yourself, calm your mind, and set up a positive intention for the journey. Meditate, pray, breathe, and relax before starting your journey.

5. Confirm that the Setting is Safe. For me, the best setting for a psychedelic journey is one that is cozy and comfortable. I want all the creature comforts around me, including soft pillows and blankets, pretty surroundings (bright room or out in nature); music; hydration. Some people also include photos and favorite knick-knacks.

6. Get the Music Right. Music can play a major role in the psychedelic experience, especially with psilocybin, where music is extremely enhanced. Everyone has their own opinions about the type of music that works best -- but my suggestion is to choose music you love and that does not have any negative triggers.

7. Surrender, surrender, surrender. It may take some practice, but perhaps the biggest tip for having a good and successful journey involves getting your brain to stop trying to control the experience. It's vital that you not fight the medicine's visions/effects... some of these elements may be disturbing, but they are temporary -- and essential to healing.

8. If You're Feeling Uncomfortable, Seek Assistance. One of the great benefits of consuming these medicines in a healing center is there are people there to assist you if you feel you are struggling in your journey. Having a sober partner or trip sitter with you if you are doing your journey by yourself is also a smart choice. Finally, you should have the Fireside Project on speed dial.

9. Stay Hydrated. Depending on what medicine you use -- and its duration -- you will want to keep hydrated throughout your journey. Drink moderately; just water or water with electrolytes.

10. Embrace and Accept. All psychedelic journeys have a flow -- from ramp up, to extreme experiences, to ramp down -- and the best mindset you can have is simply enjoy the ride! It may be a bit difficult, but as you are nearing the start of your journey, let go of all your expectations and clear your mind for what the medicine shows you.

Final Thoughts on Avoiding a Challenging Experience

There are no guarantees that you will not experience a challenging, difficult journey. You can do as much as you can to prepare yourself, but the medicine will always show you what you need to see, what you need to understand, what you need to heal. The key is surrendering and embracing the experience -- and willing it to be enlightening, healing, and transformative.

Remember, too, that a challenging or difficult trip often leads to great benefits: emotional breakthroughs, new insights and thinking, and feelings of empowerment.

If you do have a challenging trip, you'll want to spend time afterward really digging into the journey -- and integrating the elements of what you experienced. For extremely challenging experiences, you may need to seek out the advice of an integration coach or therapist.

Some final excellent words of advice: "Surrendering to the medicine and to the experience can often be understood as letting absolutely everything go -- your identity, your awareness of who you are, your body, your sense of control. And it's true, letting go of some or all of these things is to surrender, and if that feels good to you, this can be an incredibly beautiful and life changing experience to have." -- Kerrie O' Reilly

Additional Psychedelic Articles From Dr. Randall

Additional Psychedelic "Bad-Tripping" Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.