The Zendo Project collection of
mental health resources, crisis support, psychedelic integration, psychedelic support
How to Support a Bad Trip or Emotional Challenge
Create a Safe Space
The presence of a grounded, compassionate individual can go a long way in helping someone feel safe in a time of crisis. Approach with kindness and openness, creating an environment of acceptance and compassion. Let the person know that they are in a safe place and that their experience is welcome. Let them know that whatever is coming up for them emotionally or mentally is ok and invite them share their experience if they would like, making no expectations. If possible, move them to a quiet place with few inputs. Things like bright lights, loud music, and lots of people can contribute to disorientation.
Sitting, not Guiding
Words can often confuse or get in the way. Use them sparingly unless the individual is desiring to engage in a dialogue about their process. Rather than analyze their experience, listen with an open mind and heart. If engaged in dialogue, ask questions which help the individual deepen into their experience. Listen from the heart and become curious about their reality. Allow the individual to come to their own insights or conclusions. It is ok to provide your perspective on their experience, but focus more on helping them come to their own insights through compassionate inquiry. Let go of your agenda and try not to get ahead of the process.
Through, not Down
Help the individual turn toward their experience rather than away from it. Trust in the process and the person’s inner guide. Trust that whatever is showing up for them is something that they are being invited to learn about. Never dismiss or invalidate someone’s perceived reality. Try to avoid rushing the experience, trying to fix the scenario, or find a solution. Rather than provide answers or solutions, remain in a place of not knowing, or beginners mind. If the individual is behaving in ways that are destructive or violent, set boundaries around behavior while validating the emotions behind the behavior such as “I hear that you are angry. You are welcome to express your anger with your words and emotions, just not with violence.”
Difficult, not Bad
Difficult life experiences can be some of the most valuable learning opportunities. Strength, resilience, surrender, and deep wisdom are often forged in the fires lit in our darkest times. Trust that however challenging the situation may seem, being a calm and grounded presence will go along way in helping someone who is struggling.
Reminding the individual that their experience may be an opportunity for them to look at aspects of themselves that want their attention in order to be healed can be helpful. Inviting in the possibility that they will emerge from the experience with new insights and understanding. Making jokes and having a sense of humor can often be very helpful. Any difficult or powerful experience – whether involving an altered state or not – can be considered an opportunity for personal evolution. Not all such encounters are easy, but volunteers can help the person remain calm and reassured. Remind them that their experience is an opportunity for growth can be helpful.
The Zendo Project and its staff and volunteers do not provide mental health or medical services. The Zendo Project’s Peer Support Services are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Content produced and distributed by the Zendo Project is for informational and educational use only. Do not disregard or delay seeking professional advice because of the availability of services or educational materials offered by the Zendo Project. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 (USA) or your local emergency resources. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please seek medical attention.
Fireside Project - Psychedelic Support Hotline: (623) 473-7433
Fireside Project’s Psychedelic Peer Support Line will offer free peer support by phone and text message to people in the midst of psychedelic experiences, people holding space for others who are in the midst of psychedelic experiences, and people integrating past psychedelic experiences.
During our 12-month pilot program, the line will be open Thursday to Sunday, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. PST and Monday from 3:00p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PST. It will eventually be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Psychedelic Peer Support Line will be staffed by compassionate, supportive volunteers from diverse backgrounds who are trained to listen deeply and from a place of non-judgment. All of our volunteers will complete a 36-hour training program where they will learn about active listening, providing support during psychedelic experiences, psychedelic integration, and providing support by text message.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration: (800) 662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
At the National Domestic Violence Hotline, our highly trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone in the United States who is experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
The Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to empower victims and survivors to find safety and live free of abuse. We also provide support to friends and family members who are concerned about a loved one. Resources and help can be found by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing may use TTY 1-800-787-3224. Additionally, advocates who are Deaf are available 24/7 through the National Deaf Hotline by video phone at 1-855-812-1001, Instant Messenger (DeafHotline) or email (email@example.com).
If it’s not safe for you to call, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, another option for getting direct help is to use our live chat service here on this website. You’ll receive the same one-on-one, real-time, confidential support from a trained advocate as you would on the phone. Chat is available every day from 24/7/365. El chat en español está disponible de 12 p.m. a 6 p.m. Hora Central.
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the ZIP code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:
- Confidential support from a trained staff member
- Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
- Someone to help you talk through what happened
- Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
- Referrals for long term support in your area
- Information about the laws in your community
- Basic information about medical concerns
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service. When you call the hotline, only the first six numbers of the phone number are used to route the call, and your complete phone number is never stored in our system. Most states do have laws that require local staff to contact authorities in certain situations, like if there is a child or vulnerable adult who is in danger.
While almost all callers are connected directly to a staff member or volunteer at a local sexual assault service provider, a handful of providers use an answering service after daytime business hours. This service helps manage the flow of calls. If all staff members are busy, you may choose to leave a phone number with the answering service. In this case, the number will be confidential and will be given directly to the organization’s staff member for a callback. If you reach an answering service, you can try calling back after some time has passed, or you can choose to call during regular business hours when more staff members are available. You can also access 24/7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org.
Sexual assault service providers are organizations or agencies dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault. The providers who answer calls placed to the hotline are known as RAINN affiliates. To be part of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, affiliates must agree to uphold RAINN’s confidentiality standards. That means:
- Never releasing records or information about the call without the consent of the caller, except when obligated by law
- Only making reports to the police or other agencies when the caller consents, unless obligated by law
- Agreeing to RAINN’s non-discrimination policy
To learn more about how a provider can become an affiliate of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, visit the Sexual Assault Service Provider information page. Volunteer opportunities for the National Sexual Assault Hotline are coordinated through these local providers. Search for volunteer opportunities near you.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: (800) 950-NAMI (6264)
During this difficult time, the NAMI HelpLine is here for you. HelpLine volunteers are working to answer questions, offer support and provide practical next steps. The resources on this page provide information to address many needs and concerns.
Let’s stay connected, call or email the NAMI HelpLine today.
The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health conditions, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. HelpLine staff and volunteers are experienced, well-trained and able to provide guidance.
- They understand, many from their own experiences, listen and offer support.
- They are informed on NAMI Programs, NAMI Support Groups and locate your local NAMI Affiliate.
- They are trained to help identify the best resource options for your individual concern.
- They are knowledgeable and a source of accurate information about relevant topics.
- They care.
To contact the NAMI HelpLine, please call 800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The HelpLine Online Knowledge and Resource Center is available and offers an extensive library of valuable information and answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Unfortunately, the NAMI HelpLine is unable to provide mental health counseling, advice, personal advocacy or referrals to mental health providers or lawyers. The NAMI HelpLine does not individual casework, legal representations or any type of individual advocacy.
The NAMI HelpLine is not a hot line, crisis line or suicide prevention line.
Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255
Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. No matter what you are experiencing, there is support for getting your life back on track. A trained responder will answer your call, text, or chat and ask you a few questions. You can decide how much you want to share. Feeling anxious or alone and thinking about suicide are some of the signs that a Veteran may be in crisis.
LGBT National Hotline: (888) 843-4564
The LGBT National Hotline is for all ages.
We provide a safe space that is anonymous and confidential where callers can speak on many different issues and concerns including, but limited to, coming out issues, gender and/or sexuality identities, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety, safer sex information, suicide, and much more.
Sometimes you may need just to talk, or hear a kind voice. We’re here. You deserve to be heard. You deserve respect, support, affirmation and acceptance.
The LGBT National Hotline is staffed by highly trained volunteers who identify somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, from all ages, walks of life and from all over the United States.
Along with peer support, listening and affirmation, our volunteers are supplied with the largest LGBTQ resource database in the US (www.LGBTNEARME.ORG) for those who are seeking additional support and ways to connect with their local community.
Monday thru Friday from 1pm to 9pm, pacific time
(Monday thru Friday from 4pm to midnight, eastern time)
Saturday from 9am to 2pm, pacific time
(Saturday from noon to 5pm, eastern time)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Hotline provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat and email peer-support, as well as factual information and local resources for cities and towns across the United States.
All of our services are free and confidential.
Crisis Hotlines & Mental Health Resources
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
International Association for Suicide Prevention provides a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers, and suicide survivors.
GoodTherapy: Find a Therapist
Millions of people use GoodTherapy to find therapists and counselors, rehab and residential treatment centers, and mental health resources. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health or behavioral concerns, relationship issues, or other challenges, search our directory to a find a qualified therapist near you.
Everyone struggles at times. Our core purpose is to make it easier for people to access mental health services and the dedicated professionals who provide them, anywhere in the world. To help promote successful outcomes, we offer practitioners in our membership a variety of benefits: referrals, nationally recognized continuing education, publication opportunities, marketing expertise, data-driven performance tracking, personalized support, and more. List your practice and get found.
GoodTherapy believes that with the right support, anyone is capable of healing, growth, and change. Whether you’re interested in mental health services or you provide them, you’ve come to the right place. Learn more about how and why we formed.
7 cups: Online Therapy, Free Counseling, Someone to Talk To
About 7 Cups
We live in a world where you can be surrounded by people, but still feel lonely, with nobody to turn to when things get rough.
But being heard is an important part of being human. Psychologist, Glen Moriarty saw that there was great power in listening, but he knew not everyone had someone to talk to. He started to wonder. "How can I make being heard a reality for everyone?"
That's why 7 Cups was born.
Thanks to thousands of volunteer listeners stepping up to lend a friendly ear, 7 Cups is happy to say, "We're here for you!"
No matter who you are or what you're going through, this is a place where you'll be heard and cared for. We might be strangers on the surface, but underneath we're just the friends you haven't met yet.
Get support from an online therapist
Want a little extra help? You can get ongoing support and guidance from a licensed therapist when you sign up for online therapy.
Our confidential online therapy & counseling is available for those aged 18+ for $150 per month.
Mental Health Resources & Spiritual Emergence
Corona Virus Online Therapy: Free & Low Fee Essential Therapy for Essential Workers
Therapy, whether online or in-person, can be quite expensive. Even for those insured, high deductibles and challenges finding an in-network therapist with availability can be obstacles. We have created an algorithm to match essential workers and their family members with their three closest matches, in order to simplify the process, and quickly get them the support they need.
Coronavirus Online Therapy is an initiative of our 501(c)(3) non-profit, Therapy Aid Coalition. We are 100% volunteer-created and run. We exist solely to connect those in need during this global pandemic, with licensed therapists nationwide who have made this promise to reduce their fees or offer pro-bono sessions. Fees, if applicable, are paid directly to the therapist,
not to Coronavirus Online Therapy.
- Therapy should be accessible and affordable to those impacted by national crises
- Therapists should be valued, supported and compensated for their expertise
- Therapists willing to assist in crises should be given training opportunities and support
- To serve essential workers within the USA
- To expand our network of therapists, nationwide
- To create free training and continuing education opportunities to support our therapists, prevent burnout and assist in reducing the likelihood of vicarious traumatization
- To develop partnerships with agencies (both public and private), in order to promptly deploy assistance during crises
- To generate a scholarship fund, to cover costs of therapy for those in need
Mental Health Association of San Francisco: Peer-Run Warm Line: 855-845-7415
The Mental Health Association of San Francisco is a peer-led social justice community dedicated to progressive mental health issues for the past 70 years.
The mission of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco is to cultivate peer leadership, build community, and advance social justice in mental health.
For 70 years, MHASF has reflected the forward-thinking vision San Francisco is known for. We fought stigma and discrimination in mental health across diverse communities and changed policy, perception, and ultimately people. Looking ahead, as a peer-run organization, we know that systems change comes when those affected by the issues are centered in the solutions. Mental health care is changing rapidly, and a more integrated, holistic approach is the expectation for the future, peer workers are at the center of the next evolution of the mental health system, and MHASF is at the forefront.
American Center for The Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE)
ACISTE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, public benefit corporation.
Our mission is to address the integration needs and further the well-being of those who have had near-death or similar spiritually transformative experiences through research, education and support.
Our vision is to create safe, readily accessible programs that facilitate experiencers on their paths to deeper understanding, greater clarity of purpose and greater sense of well-being while supporting them through their dramatic changes and integration phases.
We set a high and ethical standard in the quality of research, education and support for near-death and similar spiritually transformative experiences.
We are compassionate, supportive, respectful and welcoming of a diversity of experiences and interpretations.
We strive to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves.
We do not represent or promote spiritual “truths” of any kind, but respect, support, and advance experiencers with their own understandings, expressions, purposes and contributions to the world.
We serve experiencers who identify with the term “spiritually transformative experience” and/or who are dealing with any or all of the integration challenges and processes. We do not invalidate or “disqualify” self-identified experiencers or their experiences.
We are inclusive of:
- the broad diversity of spiritually transformative experiences, including distressing or frightening ones.
- the variety of circumstances in which they occur
- the unique needs, struggles, integration processes and aftereffects
the variety of aspects, meanings, interpretations, messages and knowledge derived from the experience
- all experiencers regardless of religious, spiritual or political belief systems, culture, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, criminal history, mental or physical health, career, educational or financial status
We support experiencers through all challenges and transformative phases related to the integration of these experiences.
We do not speculate or take a position as to how or why these experiences occur.
We operate from a heart-centered, wellness model; we do not utilize a pathology-based diagnostic approach.
Our supportive approaches are drawn from and adapted from the collective input from experiencers, rather than taken from an individual, theoretical, dogmatic or standard method.
We encourage self-care and self-discovery, offering the experiencer tools to utilize throughout the integration process.
All peers, mentors, group facilitators, moderators, organizers and therapists listed by ACISTE as resources reflect the values of and adhere to the policies of ACISTE.
We are protective of the confidentiality of experiencers and their experiences.
Spiritual Crisis Network
The Spiritual Crisis Network is a UK non-profit organisation that provides support and resources to help make meaning of and integrate a crisis experience, resulting in the relief of suffering and more positive outcomes.
Spiritual crisis, often called spiritual emergency, awakening or psycho-spiritual crisis, is a turbulent period of psychological opening and transformation.
Catherine G. Lucas founded the Spiritual Crisis Network back in 2004, alongside a developmental committee of volunteers. Catherine experienced her own spiritual crisis which lead her to provide a platform of support for others.
SCN volunteers are experts through personal lived experienced of a spiritual crisis and mental health professionals, whilst some volunteers have both personal and professional expertise.
Promoting understanding and support of those going through profound personal transformation.
To act as a resource providing help and information for; those going through or recovering from spiritual crisis, professionals, carers, supporters and researchers.
The SCN does not endorse any particular spiritual or religious perspective. All are welcome!
The SCN does not take an anti-medication or anti-psychiatry stance. We focus on what helps each individual.
The SCN does not get involved in the debate about differential diagnosis. We aim to depathologise spiritual and anomalous experiences. Of course, individuals will hold their own views on these topics. However, it is important that the ethos above is reflected by the local peer-support group organisers.
a) promote the preservation of mental health and relieve the suffering and mental distress experienced by the public in the U.K. who are affected by spiritual crisis/emergency/anomalous experiences, in particular, but not exclusively, by providing peer-support, education and advice.
b) to reduce stigma and provide an alternative or complementary framework within which to understand and integrate spiritual crisis/emergency/anomalous experiences by advancing the education of the general public and health care professionals in the UK.
One of the ways we do this is by establishing local peer-support groups in the U.K. for experiencers and carers. We do this by providing start-up funds for local groups and training and guidance for group organisers. This provides a safe and open forum for people to share and discuss their spiritual and mental health issues with others.
Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN)
The Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) provides individuals that are experiencing psychospiritual difficulties a specialized mental health referral and support service. In a culture which has not understood issues surrounding spiritual development, the gift of being heard and understood by a knowledgeable and supportive listener can be life-altering. Our referrals are licensed and trained mental health care professionals who are preferably in your area (but many also work by phone or encrypted video) who have expertise with many specific psychospiritual issues.
SEN offers its referral services and directory listings free of charge!
Much of our transpersonal (psychospiritual) directory is online for self-referral.
If you don’t find a self-referral that works for you, you can leave a message at 415-634-5736. We will usually be in touch within 24 hours with other potential referrals and/or ideas for finding the help you need.
This website is also a spiritual emergence resource guide. Look into our books and links sections in the index above.
Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC)
The Spiritual Competency Resource Center provides access to online resources that enhance the cultural sensitivity of mental health professionals. Spirituality is now accepted as an important component of cultural competence for mental health professionals. These resources include online courses, audio-visual resources, articles, and live workshops.
Approved CE Provider
SCRC is an approved CE provider for 3 accreditation agencies:
American Psychological Association: The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal by LCSWs and MFTs for programs from CE approved sponsors of the American Psychological Association. LCSWs and MFTs from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board for approval.
California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California
Spiritual Emergence Service (SES)
SES is a non-denominational, non-profit Canadian charitable society staffed by volunteers. We offer assistance to people who are experiencing psychospiritual and transformational crisis. We can be reached by telephone or email. We listen to your story – what’s happening for you. We don’t provide counselling, we provide support and information. If we can’t answer all your questions we will try to refer you to someone who can. If you want to talk to a qualified psychotherapist consult our National Referral Directory or call us and we will try to connect you to someone near to you.
Volunteers who staff the phone line have personal knowledge of non-ordinary states of consciousness or spiritual emergence, and have been through an extensive training program. Enquiries are invited from registered psychotherapists in all Canadian provinces who have experiential knowledge and a history of working with clients in spiritual crisis.
The Inner Compass Initiative (ICI)
Inner Compass Initiative provides information, resources, tools, and connecting platforms to facilitate more informed choices regarding all things "mental health" and to support individuals and groups around the world who wish to leave, bypass, or build community beyond the mental health system. We are energized to make change happen and eager for you to join us. Your experiences, your story, and your voice matter— find out how you can get involved.
We believe that within each and every person lies an innate wisdom — an “inner compass”. This wisdom, when listened to, helps us to navigate the difficulties of being human. But the mental health industry, with its medicalized model of “mental illness” and “mental health”, its pharmaceuticalized and institutionalized standards of care, its massive promotional and public relations apparatus, its legalized authority, and its professionalization of help, has influenced many of us to ignore and lose touch with this inner wisdom.
Inner Compass Initiative strives to contribute towards everyone reclaiming wisdom, knowledge and power, both within us as individuals and between us in our relationships and communities. We work to support individuals to engage in curious, critical, independent self-education and inner exploration, and collectively, to help develop more interconnected, empowered and resilient grassroots communities.
A future of interconnected individuals and communities flourishing beyond psychiatric drugs and diagnoses.
Our Guiding Principles and Values
We believe that most individuals’ inner crises emerge, develop and/or persist in relation to their social circumstances, and that establishing more just, equitable, creatively diverse, and environmentally sustainable societies is vitally important to everyone’s mental, spiritual and emotional well-being.
We believe that the knowledge, approaches and contributions of people who are not medical or mental health professionals — such as current and former psychiatric patients, artists, political thinkers, cultural critics, philosophers, and spiritual seekers — are too often marginalized or ignored in public discussions about meeting the spiritual, mental and emotional challenges of being human.
We believe that we all have a right to make our own choices about how to take care of ourselves, but that true choice is only possible when it’s fully informed and when we have awareness of and access to true options and alternatives.
We believe that we all have a right to protect the integrity of our own minds, spirits and bodies against forced or coercive psychiatric intervention.
Inner Compass Initiative provides resources, tools, and connecting platforms to facilitate more informed choices regarding all things "mental health" and to support individuals and groups around the world who wish to leave behind, bypass, or build community beyond the diagnostic/pharmaceutical paradigm.
Psychedelic Peer Support Manuals
Zendo Project Manual
The concepts and tools provided in this manual are applicable to diverse situations and environments where people may be using psychedelic substances. This includes festivals, parties, music venues, and home settings. The content of the manual is part of the Zendo Project volunteer training.
The Manual of Psychedelic Support
A free download and affordable purchase from the MAPS Bookstore at $20, this 400 page color guide covers everything from peer support to working with safety teams to managing volunteers.
How to Work with Difficult Experiences
The manual is based on training, schooling, teachings and hands-on work with the leading people in the psychedelic movement, and on in-depth work with healers/shamans from Nepal, Ecuador, and the Navajo nation. It is based on healing and therapeutic work, using psychedelics, western psychology, body work, breath-work, art, and different eastern tools, like meditation, Zen koan study and nature work.
The Secret Chief Revealed
Conversations with Leo Zeff, pioneer in the underground psychedelic therapy movement, by Myron J. Stolaroff. Free PDF available through the MAPS.org website and the book is available for sale via the MAPS webstore.
Psychedelic Integration & Harm Reduction Therapy
Psychedelic.Support is committed to bring individual and global transformation through sharing of knowledge and connection to resources. We saw a need for better connection to therapeutic care related to use of psychedelics and set out to use our skills, connections, and the internet to give greater visibility to practices and programs of professionals working in this field. We aim for this global web-based platform to be a guidepost for trusted care and evidence-based information.
Psychedelic.Support engages with thought leaders of diverse expertise to illuminate the needs of the psychedelic community. Our advisory committee helps us gather respected experts and guides us in making this site a valuable resource for both clients and mental health professionals alike.
The Sabina Project
Black-led psychedelic education, training and harm-reduction. Returning reverence to Sacred Earth Medicine and Ancestral Traditions.
The Sabina Project is an educational, healing and inclusive space for all modern journeyers. We offer online and in-person Sacred Earth Medicine integration sessions and workshops, to inspire radical self transformation and community liberation.
The Center for Optimal Living
The Center for Optimal Living is a treatment and training center for addiction and mental health issues. Our approach utilizes Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP), developed by our founder and director, Dr. Andrew Tatarsky. The Center for Optimal Living, with its team of twelve dedicated clinicians, is the only private treatment center that offers this unique form of therapy. The Center for Optimal Living was founded in 2011 in New York City.
The cornerstone of IHRP is a collaborative, therapeutic relationship that “starts where the person is.” We specialize in helping people figure out whether moderate, less harmful substance use, or abstinence is best suited for them., We tailor our services to help our clients pursue their chosen goal.
The Center for Optimal Living also provides trainings, supervision, and consultation to professionals and organizations. We are actively involved in advocacy efforts to support the needs of those impacted by mental health issues and substance misuse.
Addiction treatment has long been dominated by approaches that require complete abstinence. We recognize that not everyone is ready to commit to abstinence at the onset of treatment and we specialize in engaging people to reduce risk and make positive changes based on where they are ready to begin. By expanding the focus of treatment to include risk reduction and moderation, our aim is to reduce stigma surrounding addiction treatment.
Our approach utilizes harm reduction which aims to reduce the risks associated with drug and alcohol use in a collaborative and empowering way. Abstinence, moderation, and safe use practices are embraced within the umbrella of harm reduction. We understand how shame and stigma may prevent people from seeking help and realize how important the therapeutic relationship is. We view that as a critical foundation of our work and strive to create a safe and non-judgmental environment where our clients can begin to make positive and lasting changes.
The Center for Harm Reduction Therapy (CHRT)
The Harm Reduction Therapy Center exists to provide integrated mental health care and substance use treatment to people who, because their relationship with drugs is so intertwined with other emotional and social aspects of their lives, need more than simple “just say no” solutions and mainstream programs. We are committed to reaching everyone whose relationship with drugs is concerning – from people who live outwardly successful lives yet are suffering in perhaps unseen ways to people who have lost everything, including those whose world is dominated by the trauma of survival on the streets. Firmly rooted in the values of self-determination, we meet each person where they are, practice radical acceptance, and empower people to define their own problems and discover their own goals. We help people set gradual, realistic steps to achieve their goals, and we help families find alternatives to “tough love”.
As originators of Harm Reduction Therapy, our vision is a just healthcare system that excludes no one, regardless of how complex their problems or how ambivalent they are about change. To that end, we continually evolve and adapt harm reduction therapy to fit the needs of diverse communities, and we support programs that want to work with people who use drugs according to harm reduction values and practices.
Tailored Solutions to Achieve Personal Goals
The Center, founded by leaders in the Harm Reduction Therapy movement, is a certified drug and alcohol treatment program staffed by mental health professionals. Our program offers pragmatic, proven solutions to substance misuse, and has an impressive record of positive results.
Center for Harm Reduction
Harm Reduction Therapy is a revolutionary client-therapist collaboration that combines substance misuse treatment with psychotherapy, so clients can address both their substance use and the issues that are behind it.
Unlike traditional “quit now and forever” programs, we do not ask that clients stop all substance use, unless that is their goal, and we help families find alternatives to “tough love.” The therapist helps the client to lay out, clearly and honestly, the harm being done to themselves and to others. The client, or the client and family together, choose the most urgent issues on which to focus. Together, client and therapist then work to reduce the harm that is being done, establishing goals and implementing gradual, realistic steps to achieve them.
At the Center, we work with the whole person. Drug and alcohol problems are addressed alongside other social, emotional, health and occupational concerns.
Just Say Know
We help you to look at all aspects of your life so that you can decide what is and what isn’t working. The more you know about yourself, the better prepared you will be to make changes. The more you know about treatment options, the larger your range of solutions will be. Our program is insightful, humane and pragmatic.
“It’s humane because you have to meet people on their own terms rather than confronting them on yours… It’s pragmatic because harm reduction accepts substance use as a fact of life and recognizes its role as a way of coping with the consequences of social problems. It does not try to remove a person’s primary coping mechanisms until others are in place,” G. Alan Marlatt
- Comprehensive assessment of substance use, emotional or psychiatric, social and vocational issues
- Brief educational group to orient new clients to the harm reduction model
Individual therapy centered on collaboratively developed goals
- Trauma-specific treatments
- Group therapy (optional)
- Medication-assisted treatment: psychiatric and addiction medicine, including opiate replacement therapy
Harm Reduction & Drug Education
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.
DanceSafe has two fundamental operating principles: harm reduction and peer-based, popular education. Combining these two principles has enabled us to create successful, peer-based educational programs to reduce drug misuse and empower young people to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. We are known for bringing adulterant screening (a.k.a., “pill testing,” “drug checking”) to the rave and nightlife community in the U.S., and for distributing unbiased educational literature describing the effects and risks associated with the use of various drugs. We also started the only publicly accessible laboratory analysis program for ecstasy in North America, currently hosted and managed by Erowid at EcstasyData.org. We neither condone nor condemn drug use. Rather, we provide a non-judgmental perspective to help support people who use drugs in making informed decisions about their health and safety.
Our Initiatives and Services
- Provide safe spaces to engage in conversations about health, drug use, and personal safety;
- Provide free water and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and heatstroke;
Provide free safe sex tools to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs;
- Provide free ear plugs to prevent hearing loss;
- Provide honest, fact-based, unbiased information on drug effects and potential harms to empower users to make informed decisions;
- Offer a nonjudgmental first-point of contact to risky or challenging situations;
- Offer drug checking services to prevent overdose and death; and
- Work with promoters and local stakeholders to advocate for safety first approaches.
Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. We 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. We also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.
We imagine a world where people treat psychoactives with respect and awareness; where people work together to collect and share knowledge in ways that strengthen their understanding of themselves and provide insight into the complex choices faced by individuals and societies alike. We believe that truth, accuracy, and integrity in publishing information about psychoactives will lead to healthier and more balanced choices, behaviors, and policies around all psychoactive medications, entheogens, herbs, and recreational drugs. Erowid’s vision is to facilitate and create resources that are part of the evolution towards this goal.
Bluelight is an international, online, harm-reduction community committed to reducing the harms associated with drug use.
Bluelight neither condemns nor condones the use of drugs. Rather, we accept that drug use will always exist irrespective of legal status or societal norms. While there is no truly safe way to use drugs, we understand that prohibition and abstinence are not realistic or desirable solutions for everyone, nor have they been adequate in addressing the serious public health concerns associated with drug use.
While there is no universal definition of drug-related harm reduction, Bluelight believes that through frank and open discussion we are able to deliver accurate information, eliminate misinformation and empower individuals to make wiser, more responsible choices.
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. We 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. These forums invite visitors to discuss addiction and sobriety in a non-judgmental setting, share recovery resources and encourage members to seek help. We believe there are various roads to recovery, including 12-step programs such as Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous and alternatives such as SMART Recovery.
PsychonautWiki is a community-driven online encyclopedia that aims to document the field of psychonautics in a comprehensive, scientifically-grounded manner. Our primary motivations include:
documenting all aspects of psychonautic theory and practice (including meditation, lucid dreaming, psychoactive substance use, sensory deprivation, ritual, etc.) from an evidence-based, academic perspective
providing accessible education, encouraging safe practices, and reforming cultural taboos around the responsible use of psychoactive substances, utilizing both expert and crowd-based sources
promoting a culture of free thought and personal autonomy by safeguarding the information needed to make informed decisions over altering one’s body and consciousness
We are TripSit – Our mission is to provide open discussion of harm reduction techniques and positive support. We promote the use of harm reduction tools such as test kits, and offer guidance and support with regards to harm reduction when using drugs. We encourage discussion of scientific, medical, philosophical understandings, and many of us can provide advice based on life experiences, an invaluable asset for someone who may be experiencing a similar issue. We are eager, willing, and prepared to guide or ‘tripsit’ users who may be having a hard time while under the influence of drugs.
Our experienced team understands the good and bad side of drugs and we understand that individuals will use drugs regardless of their current legality. Its for that reasons that we are here to help by reducing the risks associated with reckless or uninformed consumption of drugs in all environments while providing support and assistance to those who need it. Whether you need someone to talk to, advice on safe dosage, a simple water bottle, or supportive techniques for recovery we are here for you.
Our network is comprised of an IRC chat team dedicated to 24/7 live support from quick information to a friendly guide through difficult experience. We also offer a drug-information wiki for those seeking quick information and a live radio service for those seeking musical company.
Overall, the TripSit team is here to help you stay safe as possible if you choose to use substances. Even though we are not trained professionals, we are unpaid volunteers that take the time out of our day to support people in need. We are here for you. Whether you need information, someone to answer questions without judgement, a testing kit, or just a place to hang out and talk with friends we hope to be there.
We live in a day and age where the influence of drugs is as present in our lives as it has ever been and we strongly believe that there is a need to ensure that people have the same ease-of-access to the information and supplies needed to stay safe. So, from all of us here at TripSit: Stay safe, and learn.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is the largest global youth-led network dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. At its heart, SSDP is a grassroots organization, led by a Board of Directors primarily elected by and from our student and youth members. We bring young people of all political and ideological orientations together to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policy. We create change by providing a platform where members collaborate, communicate, share resources with, and coach each other to generate policy change, deliver honest drug education, and promote harm reduction. Founded in 1998, SSDP is comprised of thousands of members in hundreds of communities around the globe.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact of drug misuse on our communities, but who also know that the “War on Drugs” is failing our generation and our society.
SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future. SSDP does this while fighting back against counterproductive policies – in particular, those that directly harm students and youth.
- Shared power and authority
- Youth-controlled agenda
- Collaboration and partnership
- Constituent-specific strategies
- Diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism
SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use. Instead, we respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being. We promote youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy. SSDP respects the diverse experiences and identities of our constituents. We develop leaders who advocate for policy changes based on justice, liberty, compassion, and reason.
SSDP is comprised of youth-led chapters across the globe. Any young person can start a chapter on their campus or in their community. While SSDP has a variety of campaigns and actions anyone can support, chapters are encouraged to address the most urgent issues in their communities. Annually, SSDP members convene for a global conference where young people acquire essential community organizing and activist knowledge and skills, forge bonds to support lifelong advocacy, and govern the organization through voting on resolutions and electing student Directors of the Board, who fill two-thirds of the seats on the board.
Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
The Drug Policy Alliance envisions a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others, and in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more.
Our mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.
A Broad Coalition
Our supporters are individuals who believe the war on drugs must end. Together we work to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Our Values & Priorities
- Extensively reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy, so that people are no longer punished for what they put into their bodies
- Advocating for responsible and equitable legal regulation of marijuana to reduce the harms caused by prohibition and bring in new sources of tax revenue
- Promoting health–centered drug policies by advocating for services such as treatment on demand, supervised consumption services, drug maintenance therapies, and syringe access programs
- Empowering youth, parents and educators with honest, reality-based drug education that moves beyond inaccurate, fear-based messages and zero-tolerance policies