the Essence of Synthesis
Our commitment is knowing and communicating as much as we can about what is going on psychologically, emotionally, and physically at every stage of the psilocybin journeying process, in order for our team to guarantee safety and curate a safe, comfortable, and welcoming space where all your needs are met, and you can totally focus on your personal journey.
Ratings you can rely on:
the statistics behind Synthesis
The delighted testimonials of our guests speak for themselves. But they are also underscored by professionally-gathered data in cooperation with the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College, London. All our guests are given the opportunity to complete the same questionnaires that the Imperial College team use in their scientific studies on psilocybin – allowing us to analyze the outcomes of attending Synthesis with the highest clinical standards.
We are delighted to report that our guests’ long-term results echo the positive findings on psilocybin from clinical studies. At four weeks after attending Synthesis, our guests experience a huge reduction in depressive symptoms; scores on a test for depression are almost half what they were before the retreat. Fear and stress levels decrease across the board, and feelings of connectedness more than double, among Synthesis participants. (Explore these results in more detail.)
We are the world’s first psychedelic retreat to be able to make claims for the effectiveness of our programme, based on scientific findings. But, even though our data speaks volumes about the quality of the Synthesis retreats, this does not render us a psychedelic-assisted therapeutic clinic. Crucially, it is important to note that although our participants generally display an increase in positive mood, Synthesis does not claim to treat depression.
This current limitation is an inherent aspect of our commitment to working within our means to provide a service we believe in, and to take our guests on a journey which ‒ at no point ‒ veers beyond the scope of our expertise. Synthesis is an oasis where it is possible to bring about emotional healing, but we are not a therapeutic or medical clinic.
We always consider each and every application individually, and recommend signing up and going through our health check.
If you are keen to undergo psychotherapy with psilocybin as a treatment for depression in a safe, legal setting, you can apply to take part in a clinical trial near you.
Synthesis draws its core principles
from the latest clinical research
Synthesis follows and builds on the tried-and-tested guidelines used in clinical psychedelic studies, as well as absorbing the latest academic literature on the preparation and integration of psychedelic experiences. We seek to imbue our retreats with the greatest possible infusion of established clinical practices that reap positive results. Our pre-psilocybin ‘flight instructions,’ for example, are modelled on the best practice guidelines for psychedelic voyages devised by the Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit.
With each retreat we host, we add to the foundations of scientific learning on which we base our model, staying abreast of the latest developments in the fields of psychedelic science and medicine, and in direct communication with clinical practitioners. Fittingly, the overarching design of our retreats is underpinned with the four core values of medical ethics. Namely - autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence.
1. Autonomy with Support: You have control over your Synthesis experience
The freedom to alter your consciousness, and to do so without coercion or outside manipulation, is a basic right that Synthesis believes in wholeheartedly. At every stage, you must be free to make decisions about what is best for you, personally.
At Synthesis, we encourage you to approach the prospect of joining us for your personal psilocybin journey with clear eyes. Only you can decide when it is the right time for you to set out on a psychedelic voyage of self-discovery and transformation. This is a psychedelic induction for the critically thinking and intellectually curious; those whose inclination is to jump straight in without careful consideration need to do some more research.
Once you have made your decision, if you decide that Synthesis is right for you, our preparation programme is focused on ensuring that you approach your upcoming spiritual journey with the same autonomy with which you applied for it.
In the spirit of cognitive freedom, we want you to make the process of consciousness alteration which you embark on at Synthesis totally your own. For this reason, we provide you with a preparation programme to undertake in the weeks before your retreat. Complete with suggested a reading list including the pivotal text for the mainstreaming of psychedelics from 2018 ‒ Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind ‒ and a watchlist featuring wisdom from clinical psychologist Dr. Roland Griffiths and physician and bestselling author Dr. Gabor Maté ‒ our preparation suggestions are designed to help you:
Learn more about psychedelic psychology, psychedelic science, and the value of shamanistic perspectives.
Fully explore and unpack your reasons for attending our retreat, with the aid of modern techniques designed to help you discover and amplify your intentions for your important trip.
In this sense, you are in the “driver’s seat” of your transformation when you arrive at Synthesis. We are there to support you in making your own journey, writing the narrative of your own adventure, setting the groundwork for your own breakthrough; so that you can walk confidently into the ceremonial space and out beyond the ceremony.
Lastly, the sensible, harm-reducing drug policies of the Netherlands are crucial to your autonomy in choosing to ingest psilocybin. Our location is not only beautiful and welcoming, but more importantly it allows us to offer you our natural psychoactive product ‒ psilocybin truffles ‒ in a legal context. You are acting within the law by choosing to have your psychedelic voyage with Synthesis; no one is violating your cognitive freedom by prohibiting you from taking them. This means you have no need to consider legality further in relation to your time with us, which frees your mind up to focus fully on what’s really important here: your conscious evolution.
2. Justice: We’re crystal clear about what we can (and cannot) offer you
Justice means being clear about what we are offering, and making sure that we can offer it to people in a responsible and fair manner.
Although Synthesis participants often find improvements in their emotional welfare following the retreat, we cannot, and do not, claim to treat depression, or any other mental health condition.
However, Synthesis can offer specific types of experiences, in addition to our standard 3-Day retreat package, based on your individual needs. These include:
Expansion: Our most comprehensive program, Expansion is a complete 7-week program designed for profound transformation and awakening. 3 weeks of preparation, a 5-day immersive with two psilocybin sessions. The first one is a medium-high dose to fully arrive in the retreat and explore your own consciousness and the possibilities of the retreat. The second one is a high dose with a unique soundscape collaboratively designed with one of the world’s experts on resonance, mysticism, and consciousness. The retreat is followed by another 3 weeks of integration. Learn more about Expansion.
The Private Retreat. With fewer participants, each guest receives more individual attention. This is your opportunity to use psychedelics in a setting designed for maximum comfort. Your trip takes place under the careful guidance of **two dedicated facilitators just for you,** and includes pre- and post-ceremony coaching. These fundamental aspects of the retreat are modelled after the gold standard of clinical research, and are in place to enable you to relax and immerse yourself totally. The Private Retreat is a carefully crafted haven, tailored to your needs to maximise the transformational potential of psilocybin. Read more about our Private Retreats.
The Women’s Leadership Retreat. We know that true leadership is something that all women can access, with the right tools. This five-day wellness retreat is organized, curated, and facilitated by women, and involves two psilocybin ceremonies. During the retreat, you will relax, explore, learn, discover, breathe, heal, recharge and reach a state of alignment with your past, present and future selves, and the world around you. Read more about our Women’s Leadership Retreat.
Smoking Cessation Coaching Track. While we do not offer a retreat dedicated to smoking cessation, we recognize that this is an area of self-development in which psilocybin can be particularly helpful. We have therefore developed a specialized coaching track based around mindfulness, self-insight, and understanding nicotine dependence, which can be taken as an adjunct to any of our retreats. Read more about our Smoking Cessation Coaching Track.
Synthesis is an inclusive space, and we strive to improve our diversity of gender, race, background, spirituality, and sexual orientation. Our retreat cultivates a non-judgemental attitude, allowing every person to go through their own process uninhibited. We are committed to social justice, and we offer a Scholarship Program (coming soon) for people who cannot afford to attend – we set aside two places on each retreat for successful Scholarship applicants.
As we are dedicated to bringing psychedelic transformation into mainstream culture, we hope that one day psychedelics will be available to everyone who needs them; and we aim to begin that process by making sure we keep justice in mind, as we open up our retreat to everyone that we have the capacity (and expertise) to safely accommodate.
After you have visited Synthesis, we are assiduous about collecting your feedback. You have the chance to tell us in great detail about your perceptions of each facet of the retreat. We are receptive to all feedback, and the process of gathering it allows us to keep doing the things you say you like, and make any necessary changes that become apparent.
3. Beneficence: Your wellbeing is our priority, in every dimension
Our dedicated and multi-talented team is on hand to support you in multifarious ways. This befits the complex nature of undertaking transformation work with a psychedelic substance.
Our guides draw their expertise from a wide variety of different disciplines, including breathwork, meditation, positive psychology, and motivational interviewing. In addition to your one-on-one preparatory and integration sessions at Synthesis, you are also welcome to book additional coaching sessions, to support you before and after your retreat with us. (Read more about our coaching team.
The retreat structure itself is drawn from best practices used in clinical trials and research, creating a framework that is designed to cradle you and promote your wellbeing at every stage of your journey. During the ceremony itself, our facilitators interact with you as needed in supportive ways. An alternative safe space is always available for those who feel the need to leave the group during the session, which happens naturally from time to time. As and when the need for privacy arises, a facilitator will always be on hand to support you through your process, drawing variously on their extensive experience as the situation demands.
In designing the retreat and setting up the programme, we draw on the medical understanding of how best to work with psilocybin wherever possible, and we are delighted to say that we’ve improved upon most clinical study settings in one crucial regard: the setting. Many researchers discuss the problems arising from their limited ability to beautify the stark hospital environments in which psychedelic studies necessarily take place. We’re delighted to say that although our practices may be derived from clinical protocols, our venue, the Lighthouse is far more aesthetically pleasing than any you’d find in the clinical arena.
The growth and positive self-knowing you attain at Synthesis is yours to carry with you into the wider world. For our part, we care as much about helping you integrate your discoveries into your future as we do about helping you make the most of the time when you are here with us.
One of our key focuses in this regard involves giving you the skills to leave the haven, and to reframe your psychedelic travels within the context of your day-to-day life. This involves specialized techniques which we will teach you, such as learning how to speak to the uninitiated about your Synthesis retreat, as well as exercises that you can do in order to recapture important moments from your trip, like journalling to specific parts of the ceremony playlist.
Online, you have the opportunity of booking further integration sessions with our coaching team. And, as a matter of course, every Synthesis attendee becomes part of our Alumni network, a private Facebook group where you can continue to share your thoughts, ask questions, and connect with the growing Synthesis family.
4. Non-maleficence: Synthesis comes with medical and legal seals of approval
From start to finish, the Synthesis programme is designed to be holistic, and never harmful. We are careful about who we select, so as to ensure that everyone who joins us at the retreat is someone who would benefit from the experience. For this purpose, we take our screening process seriously, using the same medical precautions that are currently used in the clinical studies for psilocybin for depression currently taking place in the Netherlands, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Once you arrive at Synthesis, your medical wellbeing is paramount; we strategize the safeguarding, so you don’t have to. There is a medical professional, and AED equipment, on site for the duration of the psilocybin experience, in the unprecedented event of an emergency.
In keeping with the fact that psilocybin has an incredibly high safety profile in supervised settings, no significant medical assistance has ever been required at Synthesis. The comfortable safety of the environment we create is bolstered by the attention that our sitters devote to guests; with up to seven facilitators for up to sixteen people journeying, we have the highest facilitator-to-participant ratio (that we know of) in any retreat center.
Risk averse, we differ from many other retreat centres and traditional practices in another crucial respect: it is strict company protocol not to partake in any psychoactive substances (including the truffles) at any point during the retreat. This is to ensure that, while you undergo your journey, we are entirely focussed on you and your needs, giving you true freedom to achieve transformation at Synthesis.
Synthesis co-founder Myles Katz says, “we make sure [that our guests] have no stress, or concern about the safety of what they are doing, because they are supported by world-class facilitators, medical supervision, and in a country where psilocybin truffles are legally accessible.”
Why not discover the transformational atmosphere at Synthesis for yourself?
Sign up to our retreat here.