Psychedelic Therapy Playlists

Ever wondered if there’s the best playlist for psychedelic therapy? Well, there’s no almighty playlist, as there are many factors to consider. Also, there’s no sole rule for creating the best playlist for psychedelic therapy. A major reason for this is that the experience that accompanies psychedelic therapy is unique for everyone. Therefore, music that can counter the therapeutic influence of a therapy for an individual may support the outcome for another person.

Research shows that music is important to resonate with an individual’s inner experience. When this happens, it enhances the therapeutic process and success. Therefore, the important thing when choosing a playlist is to ensure that it reflects therapeutic intentions and individual needs.

Playlists for Psychedelic Therapy that are Scientifically Approved

In past and recent times, music has been widely applied together with altered states of consciousness and in psychedelic therapy.

Arranging music in playlists provides adequate support for psychedelic therapy. This is an approach that has been in application since the mid-20th century. It’s a valuable approach for both the research and therapy communities today.

Some playlists are considered perfect because they feature carefully selected music that aligns with key phases of a psychedelic trip. Music lovers, care-seekers, and care providers consider playlists a vital auditory artifact for psychedelic therapy.

A reputable name when it comes to playlists for psychedelic therapy is Mendel Kaelen. In 2016, he created playlists used in clinical trials with different substances at the MAPS MDMA-assisted therapy trial for PTSD and psilocybin trial for depression. Today, his playlist is continuously applied in retreat centers, private homes, and clinical spaces.

Playlists are a relevant and important medium that lives an imprint on our hearts. It’s a main defining factor of the modern music history of psychedelic therapy today. There are so many other interesting things about playlists. However, it’s important to note that they are not always fluid, profoundly personal, or highly dynamic for everyone during a psychedelic session.

Live Music for Psychedelic Therapy

In many contemporary and indigenous rituals today, there’s a cultural and traditional use of psychedelics and music. Many music-makers and Shamans use different instruments, songs, and voices to enhance psychedelic therapies.

This approach is an ancient technique that continues to evolve. Basically, it’s supportive, intentional, and responsive for altered states of consciousness. Playlists offer a constant and predetermined music journey. Personalizing music according to individual preference or cultural context is difficult. The easy way to do this is by creating a unique musical journey for the individual, which is where a playlist comes in handy.

Choosing Music for Psychedelic Therapy

Limitations of Playlists for Psychedelic Therapy

While playlists offer many benefits, it’s worth noting that they have a few limitations, particularly in their stop-start and pre-planned approach. The effect of this is that it introduces jarring and disruptive effects between songs. It’s also not easy to alter the trajectory of a playlist.

This is a key reason why there’s a shift from live-guided methods to more standardized playlists for psychedelic therapies. Another reason for this is that it’s not so easy to stay focused on evolving or ongoing emotional states. A great level of this flexibility is required for treatment success, and with that, the possibility of counter-therapeutic experiences becomes greater.

A Shift from Playlists to Personalization

The limitations highlighted above were the observations from different research work. Fortunately, these limitations also serve as a source of inspiration to provide options with more personalization to meet every individual need.

Playlists generally started right from the 1960s, during the psychedelic research era, particularly when interest in set and setting started developing. There are so many historical accounts of the use of playlists in the past, and here’s an overview of some.

  • During the late 1960s, Helen Bonny, a music therapist, started her work to determine the function and role of music in psychedelic therapy. Today, this accounts for one of the major advancements in the field of psychedelic therapy. Her contributions also include the selection of playlists to suit individual psychedelic journeys.
  • There have been a couple of collaborative works to further contribute to the use of playlists in psychedelic therapy.
  • With the resurgence of Westen Psychedelic research, further interest in the use of music in psychedelic therapy increased. It’s now going beyond the walls of the therapy room and now into the mind of many users.
  • Today, the landscape of contemporary music has evolved, and modern iterations are now widely applied in introducing different musical styles. This includes overtone, instrumental, and classic music.

Importance of Music During Psychedelic Therapy

Music can provide support for the psychedelic experience or undermine the experience. It plays a role in influencing the outcome of the patient and allows the patient to appreciate the personalized approach. Research shows that if some music is not aligned with the genre preference of an individual, it can cause a counter-therapeutic experience.

Another thing to note is that personalized music experiences can help to increase support and resonance of a person’s ability to open up. This also makes it easier for users to accept the experience they get, which is vital for their therapeutic process.

The bottom line is that playlists have a vital role to play in psychedelic therapy. However, the important thing is to ensure that the selection of playlists is personalized according to individual needs and preferences.


Using a playlist for psychedelic therapy offers many benefits. It’s now an inspiration for research into music’s application, function, and role in psychedelic therapy. Today, there are now many other playlists specific to psychedelic substances. For example, here’s one that’s tailored for ketamine therapy.

As mentioned earlier, there’s no size-fit strategy for choosing the music for your playlist. The main thing is to ensure that it’s tailored to the individual needs, preferences, and type of psychedelic experience they desire.

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