The 6 Downsides of a Solo Psychedelic Session (Versus One-on-one Coaching)

In our last post, I explored the many potential upsides of doing a solo psychedelic trip. However, along with the benefits, the DIY alone format has drawbacks and limitations.

While solo psychedelic sessions can empower some first-timers, tripping alone also comes with significant risks and downsides to weigh carefully. Lacking an expert guide leaves you without crucial physical, emotional, and integrative support.

Ultimately, the absence of guidance puts greater responsibility on the novice user’s shoulders. Before attempting a solo trip, reflect honestly on your competencies and support system. An unskilled lone traveller can get irretrievably lost.

1. Increased Pre-Trip Anxiety

The very prospect of being self-reliant during an intense psychedelic ride can breed more significant pre-trip anxiety compared to having secure guidance.

Knowing you have an expert companion provides comfort going into the experience. Facing the unknown alone is inherently more stressful.

As a first-timer, reassurance that someone qualified is there if needed relieves enormous amounts of pressure. Lacking this safety net alone can overwhelm you before you even begin.

The stress of solo independence may distract from effectively setting intent or allowing the drug’s effects to unfold organically. Support alleviates concerns.

2. No Physical Support If Needed

A major downside of journeying alone is having no one present to provide physical support should it become necessary during the experience. Psychedelics can tax the body and make you feel quite unwell at times.

If urgent needs like hydration, food, blanket provision or medical response arise, you alone are responsible for addressing them. While rare, crises like allergic reactions can also occur. Having someone there could be lifesaving.

Trip sitters can assist with gentle touch, hydration support, soothing nature sounds or any other helpful interventions. Having no one to rely on physically could put you in grave danger in a worst-case scenario solo journey.

3. Harder to Avoid Risky Behaviour

Another key downside of solo psychedelic use is having no guide to stop you from potentially engaging in risky behaviour while under the influence.

Psychedelic effects reduce inhibitions and judgment. Alone, you may be more likely to disregard set and setting protocols like leaving a safe space or mixing other substances.

With no voice of reason beside you, simple wisdom like not driving, operating machinery, or approaching ledges/heights may fall aside. A guide acts as a safety barrier against poor choices.

And with no one monitoring dosage, you increase the chances of accidentally over-consuming during the trip. Left to your own devices, risky behaviour surges without a vigilant sitter.

4. No Emotional Reassurance

Additionally, handling challenging emotions like fear or anxiety without support can be much more difficult when journeying solo.

As psychedelics magnify inner states, distress can spiral out of control without an anchor. Guides talk you through turbulence with compassionate wisdom when panic sets in.

Having no one to calm your mind during moments of confusion makes descending into paranoid thinking more likely. Emotional challenges feel insurmountable alone.

The mere presence of a guide reminds you the intensity is temporary. But challenging moments alone can feel eternal. Their reassurance is critical, especially for first-timers.

5. No Integration Assistance

Furthermore, without a guide, you alone are responsible for making sense of psychedelic insights and applying them after the acute effects subside. Integration poses challenges.

The disoriented state post-trip makes it hard to contextualize and retain takeaways. Your thinking remains muddied without expert analysis.

Guides discuss your experience to help decipher meaning. They provide frameworks to interpret it constructively. Lacking this, integration becomes a vague chore, increasing the chance lessons get lost.

Self-work and journaling have value, but guidance accelerates the integration process exponentially. A sitter’s objectivity aids in translating trips into everyday growth.

6. Feeling Overconfident Afterwards

A final post-trip risk of initial solo forays is falsely feeling invincible and overestimating your abilities to handle psychedelics wisely on your own going forward.

Navigating one session solo can give the impression you are primed for complete independence. But true competency takes multiple carefully guided journeys.

Premature confidence derails seeking the support needed for subsequent trips. Each experience is different; lasting expertise is built slowly. Patience prevents recklessness.

Basking in first-time self-sufficiency, one may neglect the daunting self-reflection and integration required to maximize learning. Stay humble about solo skills.

Recap of Psychedelic Solo Session Risks

While solo psychedelic trips can be rewarding for some, the lack of expert physical care, emotional support and integration assistance poses serious risks for first-timers.

The absence of a guide places much greater responsibility on your shoulders that most novices are unprepared to handle. Without proper structures, the journey can quickly go astray.

Before attempting independence, reflect deeply on your competencies, maturity, preparedness and post-trip support system. Many initially underestimate the value guides provide.

While more affordable and customizable, solo trips may quickly become nightmarish without adequate self-knowledge. Proceed with meticulous care when journeying alone as a beginner.


Lotte and Floris are the two guides for FLO Coaching. We combine our years of coaching & therapy to help people experience a (first) guided psychedelic trip.

We uniquely focus on preparation and integration to provide long-term positive changes in mind and behaviour.

Assistance is provided by Max and Saar, though our dogs haven't yet learned to write for the blog 🐾