Virdi, J. (2023). An interpretative phenomenological analysis investigation of self-care practices amongst psychedelic peer-support providers [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

This research provides an in-depth exploration into the personal self-care practices and psychospiritual hygiene of volunteers in the field of psychedelic peer support/harm reduction (PPS/HR). Utilising Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the study investigated the experiences and challenges faced by seven diverse volunteers, each with a minimum of two years of experience in PPS/HR. Key findings encompassed five Group Experiential Themes (GETs), detailing the external and internal challenges associated with PPS/HR, inner resourcing factors, and general as well as session-specific self-care practices. The study provided crucial insights into the physical safety concerns, session-related anxiety, and the personal significance volunteers find in their roles. Emphasising the necessity for comprehensive volunteer support strategies, the research underscored the importance of ensuring adequate staffing, facilitating regular breaks, providing sufficient medical support, and the vital role of community and debriefing in supporting volunteers during and post-shift. As the field of psychedelic care continues to evolve, the study’s findings suggest the need to incorporate these experiences to enhance psychospiritual wellbeing in the field of PPS/HR, and crisis-line services more broadly, potentially leading to better strategies to mitigate risks of compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatisation and promoting compassion satisfaction and vicarious resilience in this demanding yet rewarding field.

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