By CIIS Staff March 17, 2021

Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies Faculty William Richards, Janis Phelps, and Anthony Bossis, PhD and bestselling journalist Michael Pollan. CPTR faculty William Richards, PhD (Johns Hopkins); Janis Phelps, PhD (CPTR Director); and Anthony Bossis, PhD (New York University); and bestselling journalist Michael Pollan (UC Berkeley).

  • Grant is the largest foundation gift that the California Institute of Integral Studies has received in its 50-year history
  • Grant will allow the training to expand to meet growing demand for psychedelic therapists
  • CIIS provides the first and largest academic training for mental health professionals to provide therapy with both psilocybin and MDMA

SAN FRANCISCO—Today, the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research (CPTR) at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) announced that it has received a $1.0 million grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation (the Foundation) to support the expansion of its internationally acclaimed Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research program.

The Foundation’s generous gift will help CIIS meet the rapidly growing demand for psychedelic therapists by training 1,125 graduates over the next three years. In addition to expanding CPTR’s course curriculum and online offerings, the grant will also support the addition of new training sites in Boston and other locations.

“We are excited to support CIIS in training more health professionals on psychedelic-assisted therapies that can help patients suffering from mental health conditions,” said Alex Cohen, President, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

Since its founding in 2015, CPTR has trained more than 300 medical and mental health professionals and clergy. However, this number is drastically below what is needed given the current mental health crisis in the United States, known to be accelerating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Training practitioners in the skilled use of psychedelic-assisted therapies is essential to expanding access to treatment for patients with PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, and other conditions,” said Janis Phelps, PhD, CPTR Director. “This grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation will catapult our efforts to give the next generation of psychedelic therapists the tools they need to contribute to a healthier, happier world.”

CIIS’ outstanding reputation of over 50 years of graduate education and collaborations with leading scientists has made it a globally recognized leader in training psychedelic therapists and researchers. With ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, ibogaine, ayahuasca, and related compounds soon to be added to practitioners’ toolkits, there is an urgent need for clinicians with the skills, scientific knowledge, and professional resources to provide safe and effective psychedelic therapy.

The grant will also position CIIS to build the infrastructure for the field of psychedelic therapy by forming a national speakers bureau, public education, continuing education for licensed professionals, and an online directory of program graduates.

More than 30 psychiatry, psychology, and palliative care experts leading research institutions have partnered with CIIS to teach in the 2021 certificate program. This includes researchers and clinicians from Johns Hopkins University, New York University, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, UCLA, University of Wisconsin, University of Idaho, Mount Sinai Medical Center, University of Ottawa, Imperial College London, Heffter Research Institute, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Usona Institute, and others.

The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research does not promote or require the use of psychedelic drugs in any manner. Instead, students learn the necessary competencies for therapists participating in federally approved medical treatment and psychedelic research. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind training program at the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research.

About CIIS

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is an internationally recognized leader in integral education, and offers the first academic post-graduate certification program in the U.S. focused on psychedelic therapy. CIIS has an enrollment of more than 1,500 students pursuing degrees in more than 25 academic programs in its schools of Consciousness and Transformation, Professional Psychology and Health, Undergraduate Studies, and American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition, CIIS hosts a vibrant art exhibition program through The Arts at CIIS, and offers a dynamic array of events through its Public Programs division, including conversations, workshops, continuing ed, and certificate programs. The University provides low-cost mental health and acupuncture services to the San Francisco Bay Area through its eight award-winning clinics. CIIS is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). To learn more, visit the CIIS homepage.

About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance, and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. The Foundation’s grants support nonprofit organizations based in the United States that either help people in need or solve complex problems. The Foundation also spearheads grassroots campaigns to encourage others to give. For more information, visit

Laura Pustarfi, PhD

News Categories, Giving at CIIS, Student News, Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research, Psychology

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