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NUMINOUS adj. /ˈnuːmɪnəs/ A term derived from the Latin numen, meaning "arousing spiritual emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring."

Research Title:

How does the Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapeutic model support clients in the integration of their psychedelic experiences? An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of client’s testimonies

Principal investigator:
Sophie Sarrassat

About the researcher:

Sophie is an integrative counsellor/psychotherapist (University of East London, PGDip/MA) & Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) practitioner (UK IFS institute, Levels 1 & 2). This qualitative research study was self-funded and part of her MA curriculum in Applied Psychology Research at the University of East London.

Read more about her here. 

University of East London, UK

Research abstract

The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model offers means to navigate protective and vulnerable psychic inner systems and is sometimes chosen as the psychotherapeutic component in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. An increasing number of individuals seeks psychedelics and therapists have an ethical duty to attempt to reduce harms and maximise benefits from these experiences. This qualitative, exploratory study aimed to understand, in greater depth, the extent to which the IFS model can support clients in the integration of their psychedelic experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with individuals who engaged with psychedelics and attended psychotherapy, IFS or other modalities, as part of their integration, and their verbatim transcripts were analysed using used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Psychedelic integration was described by participants as a transformational process that begins with preparation, takes time, needs space and attention, and is, at times, challenging. They described IFS as a transformational process too, namely a pathway towards, and shed light on the specificities that make this modality not just a talking therapy. This study provided initial insights into ways IFS therapy can support psychedelic integration. In particular, IFS offers a language to make meaning of the experience, tailored interventions to revisit and work through its content and ways to address difficulties encountered during the process.


This study was self-founded. It is now completed and Sophie has now passed with Merit her MA. She is now looking to publish her findings in a peer-reviewed, open access, journal.

The Journal of Psychedelic Studies has a publishing fee of about 1000£, and this fundraising aims to cover this cost. f you’d like to support this project, kindly consider making a donation here. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Should you like further information or have any questions about this research, you can contact Sophie using the following email address:

NB: While Numinous Ways does not levy any charges on you or the author, please note that PayPal transactions might incur some fees.

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