Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a rapidly growing field that offers profound insights into the human psyche and has the potential for transformative healing experiences. Central to this journey are the concepts of expectations and intentions, two distinct but interconnected aspects of the psychedelic experience. We will explore the difference between expectations and intentions in the context of psychedelic-assisted therapy and how understanding this difference can enhance the therapeutic process.

Expectations: Potential Prelude to Disappointment

Expectations are the preconceived notions, beliefs, and assumptions we bring into any experience, including psychedelic journeys. In the realm of psychedelic-assisted therapy, expectations can be both subtle and powerful. Often influenced by societal narratives, media portrayals, and anecdotal reports, individuals may enter a psychedelic session with specific ideas of what they hope to achieve or encounter. These expectations can range from visions of grand epiphanies to seeking immediate relief from emotional pain.

The issue with expectations in psychedelic-assisted therapy is that they can set the stage for disappointment and hinder the therapeutic process. When an individual’s experience doesn't align with their expectations, it can lead to frustration, confusion, or anxiety. For instance, if someone expects a mystical experience but encounters challenging emotions instead, they might feel let down. This disappointment can become a barrier to the deeper healing potential of the psychedelic journey.

Intentions: The Compass for Healing

On the other hand, intentions are the conscious and purposeful goals set by the individual before embarking on a psychedelic journey. Unlike expectations, intentions are not rigid or outcome-focused. Instead, they serve as a compass that guides the experience towards personal growth and healing.

Intentions in psychedelic therapy typically revolve around emotional healing, self-discovery, or personal growth. They encourage individuals to remain open to whatever arises during the session, without demanding a particular outcome. This flexibility allows for a more profound and authentic exploration of one's inner landscape.

The Power of Letting Go

The critical difference between expectations and intentions lies in their relationship with control. Expectations often seek to control the outcome, demanding specific experiences or insights. Intentions, conversely, invite surrender and acceptance of the unknown. This shift in perspective can be transformative in psychedelic therapy.

By letting go of rigid expectations and embracing intentions that prioritize healing and self-discovery, individuals create a safer psychological space for the journey. This openness enables the psyche to reveal what is most needed for healing, even if it means confronting difficult emotions or past traumas.

Navigating the Psychedelic Journey

To maximize the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy, it's essential to strike a balance between expectations and intentions:

·      Set clear intentions: Before your session, take time to reflect on your intentions for the journey. What do you hope to learn, heal, or discover about yourself? Keep these intentions flexible and focused on growth.

·      Acknowledge expectations: Be aware of any expectations you may have and try to release them. Understand that the psychedelic experience is highly individual and may not conform to preconceived notions.

·      Embrace surrender: Trust the process and surrender to the experience. Letting go of the need to control or direct the journey can open doors to unexpected and transformative insights.

·      Integration is key: After the psychedelic experience, spend time integrating what you've learned into your daily life. This step is crucial for long-lasting healing and personal growth. Learn about the integration steps in Intero’s psychedelic-assisted therapy process here.


In the realm of psychedelic-assisted therapy, the difference between expectations and intentions is pivotal. Expectations can lead to disappointment and hinder healing, while intentions provide a compass for personal growth and transformation. By setting clear intentions, letting go of expectations, and embracing the journey with surrender, individuals can unlock the full therapeutic potential of psychedelics and embark on a path of profound self-discovery and healing.


Interested in getting started onthis path? Tell us about yourself and one of our client specialists will connect with you to see if psychedelic-assisted therapy is right for you and discuss next steps.