Training Information & Resources
In addition to creating safe spaces for those in need of support and assistance, the Zendo also provides harm reduction trainings for the public, providing education on how to work with challenging experiences and creating a platform for honest and responsible conversations about substance use. These topics include:
- The principles of psychedelic harm reduction
- How to work with difficult or extreme state experiences
- Role of the sitter or facilitator
- Developing harm reduction protocol
Trainings Available – Onsite & Virtual
We provide knowledgable and professional Zendo representatives to speak at your event, conference, or university. Additionally, Zendo creates trainings and workshops for festivals and can provide custom training geared for medical, security, and production staff.
Qualities of a Challenging Psychedelic Experience:
Psychedelic experiences can vary tremendously, and are sometimes unpredictable, but are most influenced by these factors:
- Presence of impurities
- Sense of safety
- Level of noise/activity
- Emotional state
- Psychological well-being
- Previous experience with substance
Possible characteristics of a challenging experience:
Feeling alone or trapped
Altered sense of time and space
Fear of losing control
4 principles for helping someone having a difficult experience
If someone is having a challenging experience try to move them into a comfortable, warm, and calm environment. If possible try to avoid noisy or crowded spaces. Ask what would make them most comfortable. Offer blankets and water.
Talk through, not down
Without distracting from the experience, help the person connect with what they are feeling. Invite person to take the opportunity to explore what’s happening and encourage them to try not to resist it.
Sitting, not guiding
Be a calm meditative presence of acceptance, compassion, and caring. Promote feelings of trust and security. Let the person’s unfolding experience be the guide. Don’t try to get ahead of the process. Explore distressing issues as they emerge, but simply being with the person can provide support.
Difficult is not bad
Challenging experiences can wind up being our most valuable, and may lead to learning and growth. Consider that it may be happening for an important reason. Suggest that they approach the fear and difficult aspects of their experience with curiosity and openness.
Psychedelic Harm Reduction Videos
Psychedelic Harm Reduction Articles
Original Article By Rachel Sturtz on Refinery29: Learning about Psychedelic Harm Reduction Last month, I sat cross-legged on a plush, red pillow in a classroom at Boulder’s Naropa University and pretended that I, like the 18 other people in class, loved psychedelic...read more
MAPS Bulletin Winter 2015 Vol. 25, No. 3 The Zendo Project, started in 2012, is a Psychedelic Harm Reduction community outreach program which provides tranquil spaces at events with trained volunteers to help those having a difficult psychedelic experience to help...read more
Article: Zendo Project 2012: Harm Reduction in the Black Rock Desert, by Linnae Ponte, from the Winter 2012 edition of the MAPS Bulletin. For most attendees, the yearly festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, is a break from normal life and an opportunity to build...read more
This article was written by Brandy Doyle and appeared in the MAPS Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall 2001) Holding the hand of a screaming man tied to a table in a medical tent, I realized that the situation felt less like psychedelic therapy than it did like a...read more
This article was written by Sandra Karpetas and originally appeared in the MAPS Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Spring 2003). Ground Central Station at the Boom Festival: Creating a Safe Space for Working with Psychedelic Crises Over the last few years, there have been...read more
Safer Festival is a not-for-profit organization born in 2011 aimed at promoting well-being and safety at festivals and other large music events. In August 2012, Safer Festival was part of Ozora Festival in Hungary with a chill-out area called the "Haven". The main...read more
This article was written by Brandy Doyle and appeared in the MAPS Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Winter 2003). For our third project in providing psychedelic emergency services, MAPS volunteers joined 30,000 other participants in the Black Rock Desert for Burning Man 2003....read more
Original Article from AlterNet: Making Psychedelic Trips Safe — Even at Burning Man [Editor's Note: This article originally ran in August, 2013. The message remains potent as ever, as pychedelic harm reduction efforts continue and the Zendo project heads to Black Rock...read more
Original Article from HealthLine: Psychedelic Drugs Linked to Lower Risk of Mental Illness Debunking decades of myths, new research says psychedelics are not linked to mental illness and may in fact have positive residual effects on users. Comedian Bill Hicks famously...read more
A true psychedelic experience, even a so-called bad trip, is sacred. In earth-oriented, shamanic cultures, even a psychotic breakdown, induced by a psychedelic, is part of the initiation. So remember the way of the ancients: this is a process, a process of awakening,...read more
Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
Millions of people have had a psychedelic experience at some point in their life. Without support it can be challenging to understand and incorporate these experiences. The Psychedelic Integration List is a resource of individuals and organizations in the mental health field who help people integrate past psychedelic experiences.
Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. They work with academic, medical, and experiential experts to develop and publish new resources, as well as to improve and increase access to already existing resources. They also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.
Bluelight is an international, online harm-reduction community, committed to reducing the harm associated with drug use. Bluelight understands that drug use encompasses a broad range of behaviors, some safer than others, and that drug use can progress towards increased risk with some individuals. They encourage our community to be honest and cognizant of their drug use and understand the warning signs of abuse and addiction before they manifest.Bluelight also hosts a robust recovery community for those seeking a way out of drug abuse and addiction.
DanceSafe is a 501(c)(3) public health organization promoting health and safety within the nightlife and electronic music community. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe quickly grew into a national organization with chapters in cities across North America. Combining harm reduction and peer-based, popular education has enabled us to create successful programs to reduce drug misuse and empower young people to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices.
Being a Zendo Volunteer This manual will help you understand the principles of Harm Reduction, how the Zendo operates, what you need to know for your shifts, and is required reading for all Zendo Project Volunteers. The Zendo fulfills its mission to provide harm...read more
The Manual of Psychedelic Support is a comprehensive guide to setting up and running compassionate care services for people having difficult drug experiences at music festivals and similar events. The Manual grew out of the work of its original creators at KosmiCare,...read more
This handbook, written by D.B. Blewett, Ph.D., and N. Chwelos, M.D., in 1959, was one of the earliest manuals written for LSD-assisted therapy. It is still one of the most comprehensive guides on psychedelic therapy, offering a wealth of details on dosage, setting,...read more