Updated: Jan 25, 2022
A how-to on guiding others through their psychedelic journeys, as well as what qualities to look for when searching for a tripsitter for yourself.
If you haven't already checked out the episode, head on over to The Lunita Podcast and give Episode 5: Tripsitting Done Right a listen. Remember to subscribe to the Podcast, leave us a review if you like the show, and give us a follow on Instagram for updates and conversations with the community.
On this episode, Nina and Justin discuss what a tripsitter is, why it's a good idea to have one when using psychedelics, the responsibilities of a good tripsitter, and some pro tips on being the best tripsitter possible.
*DISCLAIMER: Many mind-altering substances are categorized as Schedule 1 substances by the federal government meaning that the possession, distribution, and use of these substances carry felony charges, large financial penalties, and possibility of incarceration. We do not condone or encourage the use of illegal substances; we are simply providing an educational foundation for those interested in the topic.
*NOTE: ALWAYS test your substances before ingesting. The good people over at Elevation Chemicals have provided readers and listeners with the discount code, LUNITA, for 15% off all purchases.
What is a Tripsitter?
The simple definition: A tripsitter is someone sober who watches over the journeyer as they trip on a consciousness-altering substance. Tripsitters are there to make sure no physical harm comes to the tripper while also doing their best to guide the journeyer out of negative thought loops to ensure a more positive overall experience.
A tripsitter should be someone that is trustworthy, respectful, and knowledgeable on the effects of consciousness-altering substances. It's our recommendation that a tripsitter have experience using these substances themselves (not a requirement), but at the bare minimum, they should do their research and read trip reports by those that have experienced these spaces. This cannot be stressed enough, because if there is a lack of trust, the trip could easily take a turn down a more difficult road.
Why Have a Tripsitter?
While Terence McKenna preached "Five dried grams in silent darkness," it is highly recommended that someone sober act as a sitter when a journeyer is taking doses at the therapeutic or heroic levels.
At these higher doses, it may be more difficult for the journeyer to differentiate between reality and the psychedelic experience, opening up the possibility for accidents to occur or for terrifying hallucinations to take hold of the trip.
With a tripsitter there, the likelihood of an accident is significantly reduced, and the tripper has someone available to ground them, reminding them that they are OK and that they are doing great.
A tripsitter wears many hats, and each sitter/tripper relationship is different, so it's very important to have a conversation with your tripsitter before your journey about expectations you have, specific requests you would like to make, and how they can best help you have a positive, insightful, relaxed journey.
With that said, oftentimes, the best tripsitters are the ones that do the least. They are there to hold space, ground you when needed, help with the tasks that you may not physically be able to accomplish on your own, and ultimately, they are there to provide you with a comfortable space in which you can dive deep into your Being and unlock the mysteries of the self.
Here are what we believe to be some of the specific responsibilities of a great tripsitter:
1. Protecting the Journeyer:
from dangerous situations (anything that may cause physical harm, like walking out into the street)
unexpected circumstances (like your landlord knocking on your door during your trip's peak)
and from their own negative thought loops (we all have them, and a gentle reminder that everything is alright goes a long way)
2. Taking Notes for Journeyer:
These journeys tend to bring about some very profound realizations and epiphanies. Because of the altered state the journeyer is in during a trip and the difficulty involved with writing while under the influence, it's the responsibility of the tripsitter to take note of these moments when the journeyer states them aloud. This goes a long way in helping a journeyer integrate those experiences in the future.
3. Creating a Space for a Smooth Journey
While under the influence, a tripper can have difficulty doing the simplest of tasks. It's the responsibility of the tripsitter to help out where they can to create an all-around positive, smooth experience. This includes, but is not limited to:
Managing the playlist. A good tripsitter is available when a song needs skipped or a mood needs changed.
Helping the tripper move around the space. This could be walking them to the restroom or helping them change scenery by switching rooms or moving them from an indoor space to an outdoor space (or vice versa).
Making sure supplies are readily available for the tripper (water, blankets, pillows, coloring books, and the list goes on).
Pro Tips for Being the BEST Tripsitter
Have a conversation prior (include emergency plan)
Have a playlist available (or even better, create one with your client).
Listen to Season 1 Episode 9: Tripping 101 – this will give you the best sense of how to PREPARE for a psychedelic journey and what items to have available to make the journey as smooth as possible.
Make yourself available in the days / weeks after the journey to discuss it with them (your job doesn't end when their trip does).
Sometimes less is more – you are not there to guide the trip you are there to make the tripper have a comfortable experience.
Be prepared for a difficult journey – read up on best practices for helping with a difficult journey.
Be considerate of the journeyer's feelings and emotions
Do not judge!! – seriously, don't be THAT tripsitter.
Bring an instrument to record audio (tripper's preference).
Know your client – spend time with your client BEFORE the day of the journey. It's important that you are a good fit for one another and feel comfortable with each other.
HAVE A CONVERSATION about touching! A hand on the shoulder or a little rub on the back can go a LONG way in a psychedelic space, but you want to be sure that everyone knows and respects boundaries.
Things to Consider When Searching for a Tripsitter
We cannot stress enough the importance of finding someone that you TRUST and feel comfortable with. The last thing you need is some creep in your space giving you WRONG vibes while you're experiencing an alternative state of existence.
The tripsitter's energy/mood/presence can drastically influence the experience of the journey. You want someone that is calm, collected, trustworthy, and knowledgeable.
Our recommendation is that you find a tripsitter that has used psychedelic substances themselves. This is a surefire sign that the tripsitter will understand the experience.
Have an emergency plan in place -- dialing 911 if the journey becomes too difficult does not have to be your first/only option.
Find someone that you feel you can be totally open with (and that you feel is totally open and honest with you). Psychedelic journeys are VERY personal spaces, so be sure your tripsitter is someone you feel comfortable sharing that personal space with.
We recommend you find someone that believes these substances are sacred and respects them as such – last thing you need is someone that thinks these are just a party drug.
We also recommend that you seek out someone that is open-minded, appreciates the unknown, and is even curious themselves as to what these experiences may truly be.
Lastly, and we cannot stress this enough, find someone that you feel comfortable with and that will be SUPPORTIVE of your journey.