A psychedelic journey can be a defining moment in a person’s life. They can discover more about themselves, transcend their ego, and find one-ness with the world around them. Because this can be quite overwhelming, many people like to have a trip sitter by their side. Some people choose to have one for their first trip, to help them feel comfortable in a new experience. Others like to have them for every trip they make. Some choose not to have one at all! It’s all down to personal preference. But what is a ‘trip sitter’? And if you are asked to be one, how can you do the best job possible?
What is a Trip Sitter?
So— a trip sitter. Imagine it as the psychedelic version of a designated driver. (Though of course if you are planning on going anywhere while tripping, you should have an actual designated driver too!) The trip sitter remains sober while you go on your trip. They are not there to be a spiritual guide, unless that is specifically what you want. Rather, they are there to provide a comforting presence, so you can relax and fully immerse yourself in your trip. Ideally a trip sitter has experience with the psychedelic that is being taken, so they fully understand what the tripper is going through.
However, this is not essential; some good research on the subject should suffice. It helps if the trip sitter is a good friend of the tripper— meaning they know their history, likes and dislikes. Also, of course, just to provide a friendly face! If someone asks you to be their trip sitter, take it as a big compliment. They have essentially chosen you to be their psychedelic Maid of Honour! So, if you have been asked, or simply want to know more, check out our guide on how to be a trip sitter!
Before The Trip
Let the tripper decide the environment they will find most comfortable for their experience. Outside in nature is ideal, but probably best for summer only, as a psychedelic trip can last for quite a long time. If staying inside, set up a cosy space, perhaps with cushions, blankets and some pot plants. Discuss carefully what the tripper wants from you before you start. Put boundaries in place, and decide what they want you to do incase of a negative experience. Make sure you have both set aside enough time for the trip. As mushroom trips generally last around 6 hours, and LSD up to 12, it is good to keep an entire day free. If you have to cut your time short, the tripper may become upset. Finally, it is always good to have a ‘back-up sitter’ or someone that you have made aware of your plans, in case you need assistance.
During the Trip
In many cases the tripper will retreat into their own world. This means all you need to do is remain as a comforting presence. Stay quiet unless they talk to you directly. If they do, respond positively, smile and give them eye contact. During this time, if you are not needed, you can read a book, eat when you get hungry. The tripper will probably sense if you are uncomfortable, so it’s important to take care of yourself too. It’s best to avoid checking your phone, as you are there primarily for the person tripping.
How To Help
Do not keep asking if they feel OK or if the trip has kicked in yet. This will just make them anxious. If it does seem that they are having a negative experience, you can ask if there is anything you can do for them. Remind them if necessary that they have taken a psychedelic, they are safe, and the experience won’t last forever. However, don’t tell them it’s ‘just the drugs talking’, this is patronising— you are a trip sitter, not a babysitter.
A change of environment (with their permission) can work wonders. Putting on some (pre decided) music or going into another room, even turning on a lamp, can redirect their attention and energy positively. You could also try calming breathing exercises or singing together. Singing releases dopamine which will lift their mood.
After the Trip
The trip may be coming to an end, but your role is as important as ever! If the tripper wants, you can gently discuss their experience. Let them tell you themselves, as they are still processing, and won’t want to be interrogated, even if you have the best intentions. If you’ve been inside, maybe it’s nice to go for a walk outside. Alternatively, you could watch a film or TV show of their choosing, something light and relaxing. They are likely to be hungry so perhaps you can cook or order some takeout for you both. A slice of pizza is a good reward for a long day tripping or sitting.
It is usual to be tired after a psychedelic journey. If you are not staying over, wait until they have fallen asleep before leaving, and make sure you are available to chat on the phone the next day. If you are staying over, go to bed once you know they have fallen asleep. In the morning, over breakfast, you can talk further about their experience.
*Prepare a comfortable environment
*Set aside a whole day (at least)
*Be supportive and pay attention to their needs
*Have water and snacks for them nearby
*Have a plan in place incase of a negative experience
*Look after yourself too!
*Speak too much
*Be patronising or get annoyed
*Leave before the trip is over
*Keep checking your phone
So Now You Know!
We hope this has taught you all you need to know about how to be a trip sitter. Hopefully you will have done such a good job, they will offer to return the favour!