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    Marc Aixalà mistake integration error integración

    “The most common mistake in integration is the therapist trying to impose their paradigm onto the client”

    ICEERS | 31 May 2024

    After a decade of experience at the ICEERS Support Center and supporting over 1,000 cases following difficult psychedelic experiences, Marc B. Aixalà has become a global reference in the field of psychedelic integration. This trajectory is a new milestone for the ICEERS Integration Training, which is celebrating its second edition this year and is being offered in Spanish for the first time.

    What is the difference between integration and psychotherapy?

    In the model that I developed, it’s important to distinguish integration and psychotherapy. There are many psychotherapy schools. Most of them have an open-ended approach. We know when we begin the intervention, but there’s not a clear end to it. 

    For me, integration has to do with helping people recover the sense of control over their own inner processes. Therefore, integration is something that is aimed to be finished in a reasonable time. There are a limited number of sessions and a limited time in which integration should happen. So those differences and how to practice integration in this limited time and number of sessions is one of the scopes of the training that we’re presenting.


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    What is the most common mistake in integration?

    In my opinion, the most common mistake that happens during integration is that the therapist tries to impose their paradigm onto the client. Many times as therapists we feel that we need to educate, to explain things to our clients. Therefore, we try to interpret their experiences or teach them how to interpret them. That is a big mistake.

    As therapists, we should have an open approach. We should try to learn the paradigm of our clients. Instead of imposing anything, we should fully learn and try to understand how our clients are seeing reality and work from their perspective to create a meaningful integration of their experiences.

    What are the risks of not integrating our psychedelic experiences?

    There are several risks of not integrating properly. The main one is that the experience fades away. If we don’t do any sort of integration, it becomes a distant memory that has no transcendence and no implications for our life.

    Another risk is what is called “ego inflation.” Through our psychedelic experiences, instead of becoming more compassionate, more humble and softer, what we become is more narcissistic and egotistic. We somehow think that we are better than other people because of the experiences that we have.

    A third risk of not integrating our experiences has to do with what is called “spiritual bypassing.” We use spiritual experiences to avoid certain topics in our lives that are painful. They can be relationships, responsibilities that we have in dealing with the family or with work, or things that happened in our biography. So we use these experiences to escape from having to face these difficult emotions.

    The last risk is the potential that these experiences have to make us attached to them. We feel that we need to have another experience in nonordinary states of consciousness after another, we need to go into more experiences so we feel that we’re moving and we are evolving in our personal path.

    What can we do to extend the benefit of a psychedelic experience?

    That is the million-dollar question. Since the early days of psychedelic therapy, they saw that the psychedelic afterglow tends to fade away with time. It is a natural process to experience some fading of the experience.

    Maybe the first thing we can do is to accept that that’s a natural process and that’s the way that things are. But that being said, there are certain things that we can do to remain more in touch with the experience and to ground and embody these insights. Some of these techniques have to do with just bringing attention to our own internal processes. Some other techniques have to do with actually taking action, making decisions, and doing something in our daily lives that is a sign that the experience has been integrated.

    In the course that we are offering, we will talk about many of these techniques. I hope that if you are interested in this course you will find more answers there.

    What are the three most common misconceptions about integration?

    I’d say that first of all is to confuse integration with psychotherapy and to think that integration needs to be a long and hard process. Many times integration can be an intervention that is limited in time. Some objectives are achieved and somehow we again have the sense of control in our own process and we can continue integration on our own.

    The second misconception is not to take into account the importance of integration and to think that having more psychedelic experiences, drinking more ayahuasca, and going again and again into experiences is all that is needed to continue in our path and embody these insights.

    The third misconception is about who does the integration. We could think of it as the therapist integrating the client’s experience. But that’s not the case. When you need to understand that ultimately it is each of us, each person, does their own integration. Therapists or integration therapy can be helpful in some stages. But integration goes on and it’s each individual that has to find meaning in their experience.

    In what cases can an improper integration harm a participant?

    This is a very important question. As therapists, facilitators, and shamans… we have the potential for a lot of impact on our participants or clients. Research has shown that we are very vulnerable, open, and suggestible after a psychedelic experience. Any comment, interpretation, advice, or anything that someone in a position of authority like a therapist or facilitator might say to a participant can have a profound impact.

    Therefore, it is an exercise in responsibility to pay attention to this early stages of integration. This includes what we say and do to our participants after psychedelic experiences, taking into account that they are very suggestible.

    Can I lose my ego after a psychedelic experience?

    A lot has been said about ego, ego death, and losing our ego in relation to psychedelic experiences. It is important though to understand: What do we mean by ego in this context?

    There are different schools and ways of understanding what ego is. For example, the Jungian concept of the ego is different from the Freudian concept of the ego. Therefore when we talk about losing our ego, we really need to specify more about what we mean by that.

    In the integration training that we offer, we talk about different things that can happen to our egos. This can be having a threatening experience of losing the ego during a psychedelic experience. It could also be that our ego is reinforced during a psychedelic experience and we go into ego inflation.

    Psychedelic substances can have an impact on our perception of ego, and it can go in any direction. But it’s really important to understand what ego means in this context.

    What are the risks of integrating a psychedelic experience from an alien worldview?

    Nowadays we travel to Indigenous cultures to have ayahuasca experiences or to participate in San Pedro rituals. These things do not belong to our Western mindset, or culture. So often there can be a conflict when we try to integrate these experiences from our different paradigms. Maybe the interpretation from a shamanic perspective will not be compatible with the interpretation from a Western approach. Many times people suffer from this clash of paradigms. Therefore in integration, we need to provide a context in which we can build a different reality, where we can build a wider perspective that would make these two things compatible with each other.

    False memories, myth, or reality?

    This is maybe one of the hardest debates in psychology since the early days of psychology for more than 100 years. . A lot has been said. There are usually very difficult conversations about whether these memories are real or not. But this question is not so useful. It’s not too useful to talk about if it’s true or not. What we find in the work of integration is that what is important is to support people ing finding an internal resolution to this conflict.

    Therefore, we as integration therapists should not take a side, but rather provide the context and the tools so people can do an inner inquiry to find the resolution of this conflict.


    Registrations for ICEERS Integration Training are open. Limited spots are available. Secure yours at:


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