Welcome to the trip of your life: the rise of underground LSD guides
Some Americans searching for alternative paths to healing have turned to psychedelics. But how does one forge a career as a guide when the substances are illegal?
Steve has cops in his family, so he doesnâ€™t tell many people about his work as an underground psychedelic guide. The work takes up a significant amount of his time â€“ around once a week, heâ€™ll meet a client in their home or in a rented home, dose them with MDMA or hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms, and sit with them while they trip for up to 10 hours â€“ but he doesnâ€™t tell his siblings, parents or roommates about it, nor his fellow psychology PhD students.
They would probably never guess, either: Steve doesnâ€™t display any signs of involvement with a stigmatized counterculture that many Americans still associate with its flamboyant 1960s figureheads. Heâ€™s a bespectacled, soft-spoken former business school student who plays in a brass band and works part-time as an over-the-phone mental health counselor. After one glass of wine, he says: â€œWhoa, Iâ€™m feeling a little drunk.â€�