Set and setting are two essential elements of psychedelic therapy. Set refers to your mindset and setting refers to the environment in which you embark on a psychedelic journey. The set and setting of a psychedelic experience are critical influences on the therapy’s results. Your psychedelic treatment will benefit when your set and setting are dialed in.

Set and setting encompass the following elements:

  • Personality of the patient
  • Guides that assist you during a psychedelic experience
  • Preparation
  • Expectations
  • Intention
  • Physical environment before, during, and after the psychedelic therapy session
  • Social and cultural norms

The term “set and setting” was coined by Timothy Leary, a researcher who helped popularize the use of psychedelics in the United States in the 1960s. However, long before young people in the U.S. used psychoactive compounds, the literature suggests that set and setting were important parts of the psychedelic experience in the 19th century Parisian Club des Hashischins. Indigenous peoples have emphasized hallucinogenic plant medicines as part of religious and healing ceremonies with a particular set and setting for thousands of years.

Why Are Set and Setting Important?

Set and setting can determine the course of your psychedelic experience. Set and setting can have a massive impact on your journey, whether you have a therapeutic session, a difficult trip, or both.

It’s best practice to start a psychedelic journey regarding your mindset and the setting in which you partake of psychoactive substances.