Image of an agave. The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA, expands Training to Boston
Campus News

The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at CIIS Expands Training to Boston

The Center will more than double in size by adding a new training location in Boston

October 27, 2020
  • To meet the growing demand for clinical training in psychedelic-assisted therapies, the San Francisco-based Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research certificate program at CIIS will grow from 80 to 200 trainees in 2021.

  • New Boston-based trainings will be more accessible to applicants from the East Coast, Europe, and Africa.

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research (CPTR) at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) announced that it will more than double the size of its trailblazing Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research by adding a new training location in Boston. The certificate program will more than double from 80 to 200 trainees in response to the growing need for therapists and researchers skilled in the principles and practices of psychedelic therapy. The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is the first academic post-graduate certification program in the U.S. focused on psychedelic therapy.

Psychedelics are quickly being integrated into mental health care, with ketamine already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression; and with regulatory approvals en route for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Clinical trials are also expanding into the therapeutic use of 5-MeO-DMT, LSD, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and numerous related natural and proprietary compounds. 

“There is a greater need now than ever for therapists trained in the core principles of psychedelic-assisted therapy, which is why we’re more than doubling the capacity of our first-of-its-kind training program in 2021,” said Janis Phelps, PhD, founder and director of CTPR at CIIS. “As legal restrictions evolve and research expands into the beneficial uses of psychedelics for mental health and community wellness, professional opportunities in the field will continue to expand.”

More than 30 top scholars, psychiatrists, psychologists, and scientists from leading research institutions have partnered with CPTR to teach in the 2021 certificate program, including: 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.

Since its founding in 2015, CPTR has trained more than 300 licensed professionals and clergy. CIIS’ outstanding reputation of over 50 years of graduate education and collaborations with leading universities and scientists have made it a globally recognized leader in training a new generation of psychedelic therapists and researchers. 

The certificate is designed for advanced professionals, including licensed mental health and medical practitioners, as well as ordained or commissioned clergy and chaplains. These post-graduate students learn a wide variety of necessary skills and knowledge bases, ranging from psychedelic pharmacology and the cultural histories of psychoactive plants to research design and specific therapist competencies. 

Program graduates gain the knowledge and professional connections to prepare them for a successful career in psychedelic therapy or research. Graduates may have the opportunity to work in upcoming Expanded Access (Compassionate Use) clinical research programs. Importantly, the program will also give clinicians and clergy the skills to provide enhanced integration support for individuals who have used psychedelics in therapeutic or ceremonial settings, or similar practices such as breathwork.

Boston has become an emerging hub of psychedelic research, and the new Boston cohort will make the program more accessible for clinicians and clergy on the East Coast, as well as in Europe and Africa. The 2021 certificate program will include advisors, teachers, and mentors from both the 500-member Boston Psychedelic Research Group (BPRG) and the new Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics (CNP) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Another cohort will be based in San Francisco, as in prior years.

“As a graduate of the CPTR (class of 2016), I gained many of the skills I’ve needed to provide psychedelic therapy in an FDA-regulated clinical trial and build support for psychedelic therapy in my professional community,” said Anne St. Goar, MD. Dr. St. Goar went on to found BPRG, serves on the Advisory Council for the CNP at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is working on Phase 3 MDMA research sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). “I cannot overstate how excited I am that the training program is more than doubling in size and coming to Boston, a city which is quickly becoming an international hub in the psychedelic research world.” 

While the certificate has always been a hybrid program, because of COVID-19 all Spring 2021 classes will be held online. For both cohorts, the 2021 certificate program will take place over eight months, including four online weekends in the Spring semester; and a five-day in-person retreat and two weekends (one online and one in person) in the Fall. The in-person retreats for the Boston and San Francisco cohorts will take place at local conference or retreat centers. 

The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research does not promote or require the use of psychedelic drugs in any manner. Instead, students will learn the necessary competencies for therapists participating in federally approved medical treatment and psychedelic research.

Eligibility is strictly limited to specific licensed medical and mental health professionals, counseling attorneys, ordained clergy, and commissioned chaplains. The program especially encourages applications from eligible individuals who identify as people of color, LGBTQ+, military veterans, and/or who serve marginalized or under-represented populations.

Find more information and learn how to apply for the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research.