Music & guided playlists for clinical and therapeutic sessions Options
#1 Posted : 8/14/2019 2:55:51 AM

DMT-Nexus member

Posts: 21
Joined: 11-Mar-2018
Last visit: 30-Nov-2019
Music plays a crucial role in psychedelic therapy. Listening to a well-planned playlist can serve as a therapeutic tool, leading the patient comfortably though emotional experiences. Clinical studies indicate that appreciation of music during a trip is a high predictor of sustained therapeutic effects.

In the 1970s, Helen Bonny and Walter Pahnke developed a template for how music is selected in psychedelic sessions. These guidelines continue to inform modern clinical playlists. Music playlists for psychedelic-assisted sessions arranged so that the sequence of musical passages synergizes with the progression of psychedelic effects. Important considerations include timing and composition length, intensity, including periods of silence or ambience, and maintaining a comfortable sense of “ebb-and-flow” to encourage the buildup and release of tension. Other important musical qualities are repetition, texture, the content of any lyrics that may be present, and nostalgic, cultural, or personal associations.

Although intense and percussive music is employed in some practices such as Holotropic Breathwork and at music festivals, some psychedelic participants may find rhythmic and driving music overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to consider personal preferences and sensory tolerance levels.

Ensure that all music is compelling, comfortable, and ends with resolution. In informal settings, users often make playlists of their favorite media, with reassuring themes such calming ambient tracks, songs with familiar associations, music from childhood, movie and videogame soundtracks, or dance music.

When using YouTube, it is recommended that patients use AdBlock Plus or similar plugins to avoid startling interruptions from advertisers.

Clinical therapy playlists

Several therapy playlists have been prepared and circulated by various institutions. These are listed below:

Imperial College of London: Psilocybin for Depression Playlist
  • Listen on Mixcloud and Spotify
  • Liner notes and track listing

    John Hopkins Psilocybin Research Playlist
  • Listen on Spotify
  • Article on the playlist at Inverse

    MAPS Music for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Listen on YouTube (adblocker recommended): set A and set B
  • Track listing at MAPS

    A Playlist for Psilocybin
  • Listen on Spotify
  • This playlist was arranged by researcher Kelan Thomas. Read an article on the playlist here

    The Psychedelic Experience
  • A 1966 audiobook narrated by Timothy Leary, based on the classic psychedelic Buddhism-inspired manual The Psychedelic Experience, co-authored by Leary, Ram Dass, and Ralph Metzner
  • Listen on YouTube (adblocker recommended)

    Traditional & ceremonial music

    Aside from clinical selections, many traditional and ceremonial songs are available online as well.

    Mushroom Ceremony of the Mazatec Indians of Mexico[
  • Listen on YouTube
  • 1956 recording of a Mazatec psilocybin ritual with María Sabina, like the one Gordon Wasser took part in when he conducted the first research on psychedelic mushrooms in modern Western society
  • Liner notes at Smithsonian Folkways

    Traditional Ayahuasca Songs (Icaros)
  • Listen on YouTube
  • Recordings of traditional icaros (chants and music) for ayahuasca ceremonies. Arranged by YouTube user David Hedlund.

    Traditional Iboga Music
  • Listen on YouTube
  • High-tempo music for stimulating experiences, such as that produced by Iboga. Arranged by YouTube user David Hedlund informed by the article “The Psychonaut’s Guide to Music For Ceremony and Meditation”, by Aubrey Marcus.

    Music for Peyote
  • Listen on YouTube
  • A playlist of traditional Native American songs intended to be used to guide peyote ceremonies. Arranged by YouTube user Kobe Bigsorrelhose.

    Additional recommendations

    These recommendations are given as contemporary suggestions based on community favorites.

    Relaxing Instrumental Music
  • Listen on YouTube

    Pop Culture Remixes
  • Listen on YouTube
  • Collection of music arrange from remixes of popular TV shows, movies, documentaries, and cartoons

    Meditative Mind: Positive Vibes Only
  • Listen on YouTube
  • This channel is dedicated to longform music that is very well suited to visionary and meditative journeys

    Works cited

  • Mendel K., Roseman, L., Kahan, K., Santos-Ribeiro, A., Orban, C., Lorenz, R., Barrett, F., et al. “LSD modulates music-induced imagery via changes in parahippocampal connectivity.” European Neuropsychopharmacology 26, no. 7 (2016): 1099-1109.
  • Barrett, F. S., Preller, K., Herdener, M., Janata, P., and Vollenweider, F.X. “Serotonin 2A receptor signaling underlies LSD-induced alteration of the neural response to dynamic changes in music.” Cerebral Cortex (2017): 1-12.
  • Kaelen, M., Giribaldi, B., Raine, J., Evans, L., Timmermann, C., Rodriguez, N., Carhart-
  • Harris, R. (2018 ). “The hidden therapist: Evidence for a central role of music in psychedelic therapy”: Correction. Psychopharmacology, 235(5), 1623.
  • Bonny, H. (2002). Music consciousness: The evolution of guided imagery and music. Dallas, TX: Barcelona Books.
  • Baldwin, M. (2018, December 7). A playlist for Psilocybin by Kelan Thomas. Chacruna. Retrieved from
  • Kaelen, Mendel. (2017). Music playlist: Psilocybin for depression (version 1.3). Imperial College of London. Retrieved from
  • Hess, P. (2017, December 4). This Is a Scientifically Determined Playlist for Tripping. Inverse. Retrieved from

    This article is a part of, a freely-licensed collection of materials covering psychedelic harm reduction and complementary therapies. If you have any suggestions or corrections to the above, please reply and start a conversation, or enquire in our chat: This article is a Free Cultural Work available for reproduction and adaptation under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license:

    Trippy glass for trippy people.
    #2 Posted : 8/14/2019 1:24:59 PM

    DMT-Nexus member


    Posts: 13508
    Joined: 19-Feb-2008
    Last visit: 06-Dec-2019
    Location: Jungle
    Thanks for sharing this list Smile
    #3 Posted : 8/14/2019 2:41:05 PM


    Moderator | Skills: Mostly harmless

    Posts: 4197
    Joined: 10-Sep-2009
    Last visit: 08-Dec-2019
    Location: Rocky mountain high
    I recently tried taking mushrooms and exploring the soundscapes of the golden record.

    Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...

    Visual diagram for the administration of dimethyltryptamine

    Visual diagram for the administration of ayahuasca
    #4 Posted : 8/16/2019 5:02:33 AM

    DMT-Nexus member

    Posts: 415
    Joined: 23-Jun-2018
    Last visit: 08-Dec-2019
    Thanks for sharing this.

    I have a psilocybin playlist that is dear to my heart... Axis: Bold as Love.
    olympus mon wrote:
    You need to hit it with intention to get where you want to be!

    "We have arrived at truth, and now we find truth is a mystery- a play of joy, creation, and energy. This is source. This is the mystic touchstone that heals and renews. This is the beginning again. This is entheogenic." -Nicholas Sand
    Users browsing this forum

    DMT-Nexus theme created by The Traveler
    This page was generated in 0.058 seconds.