Updated: Nov 7
Disclaimer: Psychedelics are largely illegal substances across the world, and we do not encourage or condone their use where it is against the law. However, we accept that illicit drug use occurs and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this article is designed to enhance the safety of those who decide to use these substances. Psychedelics at the very least should be respected. For the best guidance, consider seeking out legal psychedelic therapy centres. Author: Resident Writer, Alexander Allen. A trip sitter plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe and positive psychedelic experience. This guide outlines the responsibilities, ethics, and qualities of a good trip sitter, along with some specific tips for different substances. Here is our guide to trip sitting. Enjoy.
The Role of a Trip Sitter
A trip sitter is a sober companion for individuals undergoing a psychedelic experience. Their primary responsibilities include providing a calm, supportive presence, ensuring safety, and serving as a link to reality.
Trip Sitter Code of Ethics:
I’m a “sitter” — not a guide.
I’m in charge — but should only take control when completely necessary.
I talk through challenging experiences — not down.
Everything that happens or is said remains confidential.
I pass no judgment.
I practice compassionate & active listening.
I remain alert & vigilant of my surroundings.
I have knowledge about the substances being used.
I respect the boundaries of my participants.
I’m empathetic to the needs of my participants.
My participants are my sole attention — I’m not on my phone or preoccupied in any other way.
The Five Qualities of an Effective Trip Sitter
1. Understand The Substance
Research the substances being used, including dose, duration, legal status, side effects, and potential risks.
Prior experience with the substance is beneficial but not always necessary.
2. Be Familiar With The Safe Trip Guidelines
Emphasize the importance of set, setting, sitter, and substance for responsible psychedelic use.
3. Create & Maintain a Safe Space
Ensure the environment is safe, comfortable, and stress-free for the participants.
Provide necessary amenities like blankets, water, and a calm atmosphere.
Act as a liaison with the outside world when needed.
4. Remain Active & Attentive To Your Participants
Engage with the group, offer suggestions, but respect their autonomy.
Stay aware of each participant’s location, especially in busy public settings.
5. Know How To Talk Through A “Bad Trip”
Actively listen and ask open-ended questions.
Encourage participants to embrace the experience and provide physical comfort if appropriate.
Maintain a calm, reassuring presence throughout.
What to Do in a Psychedelic Crisis
Distinguish between a challenging experience and a crisis. Address extreme panic, fear, or agitation with calmness and reassurance.
Signs of a Psychedelic Crisis:
Screaming for help
Extreme panic or fear
Experience of ego death
Assess physical health, checking vital signs.
Reassure the participant that everything is okay.
Maintain a calm demeanour to prevent escalating fear.
How to Check Vital Signs
Ensure you can identify signs of potential medical emergencies.
1. Heart Rate
Normal: 50-80 beats per minute.
Danger signs: Above 160 or complaints of chest pain.
2. Blood Oxygen
Observe for cyanosis (blue tinge) around the mouth, fingernails, or eye conjunctiva.
3. Body Temperature
Normal: 98.6ºF (37ºC).
Danger signs: Above 103ºF (39.5ºC).
4. Skin Turgor (For Dehydration)
Check for skin elasticity to assess hydration levels.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Know the signs that require immediate medical attention:
Fever over 103ºF (39.5ºC)
Heart rate over 160 for an extended period
Severe lethargy or sluggishness
Protecting Your Energy as a Trip Sitter
Empathetic listening is crucial, but it's essential to shield yourself from absorbing intense emotions. Visualize an invisible shield to maintain your own emotional well-being.
Tips for Specific Substances
LSD & Magic Mushrooms:
Allow for introspection and provide support as needed.
Be attentive to potential bumps in the journey and encourage letting go.
Administer individually in a controlled setting.
Maintain proximity without interference during the experience.
Never allow usage without a trusted sitter.
Monitor and ensure safety, but respect the participant's autonomy.
Being a good trip sitter requires a combination of knowledge, empathy, and vigilance. Remember that your role is to provide support, not to guide or control the experience. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and positive journey for the participants.