Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against the current epidemic of veteran suicides and the integration of related mental health issuesincluding psychedelic-assisted therapies for traumatic brain injury (CCT), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction. VETS psychedelic therapy coaches Tomas Freeman and Sophie Whitneywith other researchers David B. Yaden, Ph.D.., and Joshua Lipsonpublished the very first validated scales for measuring psychedelic integration in the magazine Frontiers in psychology.
What is Integration?
Integration is the process of translating psychedelic experiences into positive changes in patients’ daily lives. It takes place immediately after a psychedelic experience and, to a lesser extent, in the weeks and months following. This is the post-acute period following the administration of the drug. Therefore, integration is an essential part of psychedelic therapy.
Until now, researchers and therapists had the difficult task of reliably measure it, which made it difficult to assess the overall therapeutic process. The fact that practices diverge based on individual patient needs and provider styles leads to disparities in measurement systems and difficulty in quantifying outcomes in data sets.
There is a growing need reliable data to inform regulatory outcomes, since the medical potential of psychedelic compounds is seriously considered at medical and governmental levels.
The studyissued on May 23 and titled “Psychedelic Integration Scales: Tools for Measuring Psychedelic Integration Behaviors and Experiences,” intends to make the new device available to individual users and patients as well as practitioners, clinics, researchers and training providers.
When publishing the study, the authors said: “We encourage sharing of the scales with researchers for use in studies, with facilitators to track and support clients’ onboarding progress, with onboarding guides for use in sessions, with psychedelic centers to enhance services, with individuals who embark on psychedelic journeys for self-reflection, and with anyone else for whom the psychedelic integration scales and research might be useful.
The theoretical model
The document describes the development and initial validation of two psychometric scales to measure psychedelic integration: the Integration Engagement Scale (IES) for positive behavioral engagement with integration, and the Experienced Integration Scale (EIS) for internal aspects of feeling integrated .
The scales are brief and face valid instruments designed for practical use in applied and research settings. Scale items were generated and refined using the Scale Development Iterative Process Model, with input from psychedelic experts and clinicians.
Content validity, internal structure, and reliability were assessed by expert surveys, content validity analysis, cognitive interviews, convergent validity analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis. The data indicate that the scales are valid and reliable measures of behavioral and experiential forms of psychedelic integration.
Some of the leading psychedelic researchers and clinicians have expressed their support and praise for the psychedelic integration scales: “At last, we have access to valuable, carefully constructed rating scales that capture and reflect the processes of integration”, said William A. Richards, Ph.D.from the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research.
Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.co-founder of a psychedelic therapy training provider Fluency, added: “Psychedelic Integration Scales are a vital contribution to the field of psychedelic research. They will be essential to qualify the changes that can occur through psychedelic experiences as a consequence of the integration process. This work will pave the way for the collection of empirical data, helping us to understand how psychedelics ultimately result in healing and greater well-being.
Photo courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.