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"Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded."

   -- William James (1902), The Varieties of Religious Experience

About the Program

This certificate program is housed in the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research (CPTR). The Center also provides diverse public education about psychedelic research and the use of psychedelics in psychotherapy from the past decades, as well as teaching on topics such as creativity enhancement, consciousness studies, comparative mysticism, well-being enrichment, and harm reduction. Since 2015, the Center has presented lectures and readings by experts on psychedelic medicines.

The Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research Certificate Program serves a growing need for the training of skilled therapists and researchers who will ideally seek advanced training for future FDA-approved psychedelic-assisted and entactogen-assisted psychotherapy research and clinical work. We use the term "psychedelic" to refer to both the classic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca, etc.) and to those drugs specifically termed "entactogens," also known as "empathogens" (MDMA, MDA, etc.). Enrollees are professionals in specific licensed mental health, medical and legal professions, as well as eligible ordained or commissioned clergy and chaplains.

The roots of this certificate are in the work of scholars and researchers on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies, transpersonal psychology, consciousness studies, psychoanalysis, comparative mysticism, cultural anthropology, and Indigenous plant medicine practices. While this certificate program emphasizes the therapeutic models of psychedelic research, we address the philosophy and theory from these other scholarly traditions as well.

CIIS has an outstanding reputation of over 50 years in graduate education that integrates consciousness studies and psychology, including psychedelic studies. The format of instruction and curriculum has been developed by an esteemed team led by Dr. Janis Phelps, Director of the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research, in collaboration with many clinicians and researchers in the field. As a Heffter Research Institute trustee and the former CIIS Dean of Faculty for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Phelps is well positioned to lead a multidisciplinary team of international expert teachers.

Read about the history of the development of the Certificate in CIIS Today.

See the excellent NBC News Story profiling the Center's certificate program, linked to the image below. NBC News gave us many accolades for our achievements in the program.


Philosophy and Goals of the Certificate

Consistent with the holistic ideals of CIIS, this certificate strives to encompass all aspects of learning: intellectual/didactic, personal/experiential, and applied. The research and therapy training is conducted with learning processes embedded in self-reflection, community-building, embodied ways of knowing, and mentoring. Trainees learn a wide variety of necessary skills and knowledge bases, ranging from pharmacology of psychedelics to research design to psychedelic therapist competencies to the history of use of psychoactive plants across the globe to cultural competencies for working with diverse clients. The program thoroughly covers clinical work with MDMA and psilocybin (the two medicines furthest along in the FDA drug development process) with additional coursework on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (FDA-approved for specific clinical syndromes).

In order to accomplish such a holistic enterprise, the program values and implements the deconstruction of various perspectives and cultural viewpoints, along with didactic and experiential learning with teachers representing diverse specializations. The global wisdom traditions related to alterations of consciousness (meditation, yoga, fasting, solo wilderness retreats, healing methods, etc.) play a role in the theoretical underpinnings of the curriculum, as well as being directly enacted as part of the personal/experiential aspect of the training. Two core elements for our classes are diversity, inclusion, and belonging as well as navigating the challenges of non-profit and corporate influences in the field. We co-create a culture of belonging throughout the program for all trainees in order to foster safety, empathy, connection, and risk-taking. With special attention given to skill development as a psychedelic-assisted therapist, trainees will increase their cultural competencies and cultural humility, including the capacity for addressing microaggressions and implicit biases. Due to our robust commitment to an inclusive program environment, we conduct focus groups with under-represented recent graduates to assess progress regarding all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our program.

Our scope of inquiry has the breadth and depth necessary for a graduate to have a sufficient understanding of the field’s empirical research methods and outcomes, the key clinical competencies, and ways to situate themself in the constantly evolving streams of non-profit and for-profit organizations, and decriminalization movements. Our trainees have access to experts in the psychedelic field and group mentoring that enables them to create professional connections not otherwise available among the influencers in this arena. In terms of personal connections and building opportunities, trainees are welcomed into affinity and special interest groups among their peers and join an engaging, active Alumni Association when they graduate.

It is important to note that at no time does the program promote or require the use of psychedelic drugs in any manner. Trainees taking the certificate will learn about the competencies required of psychotherapists, medical practitioners, and clergy in federally approved medical treatment and psychedelic research. Applicants offered admission will sign an Integrity Agreement and a Beloved Community Agreement. These agreements reflect our commitment to professional ethical and legal standards and a classroom environment that is safe and inclusive.

Updates for the 2023-2024 Classes

In 2021, the Center received a $1.0 million grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to support the expansion of our certificate program. The Foundation’s generous gift has helped the Center meet the rapidly growing demand for psychedelic therapist training and education. In addition to expanding our course curriculum and online offerings, the grant has supported and will continue to support the addition of new training sites, with Boston as the first additional location, which began in 2021. It is also the goal for the Center to build the infrastructure for the field of psychedelic therapy by providing public education, continuing education for licensed professionals, and building a public resource of publications and presentations of graduates and faculty.  In 2022, the Center received another substantial grant from the Turnbull Family Foundation, the Evolve Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with the goal of allowing us to expand by sharing our curriculum and recorded videos of prominent teachers with other universities who are beginning to offer certificate programs.  

After expanding our programming to include three cohorts of trainees in 2022, our Center is continuing the certificate training for three cohorts of trainees who are mental health, medical or legal professionals or ordained clergy. We will continue to offer hybrid cohort options with classes in both Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. The third offering is again an entirely online cohort, which will be open only to licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses. This online cohort will allow greater accessibility to the certificate program for these clinicians both nationally and internationally. This CIIS certificate curriculum is approved as a psilocybin training program by the Oregon Health Authority (Training Program ID #TP-ce7dd84c). In order to receive full certification, CIIS is actively pursuing the additional requirements of the other Oregon regulatory agencies working with OHA. If you are interested in receiving email updates about our status in Oregon, please enter your email address here.

Because of our great success and significantly increased demand for admissions into this program, we are expanding the size of our program with an expected approximately 150 trainees per hybrid cohort and 100 trainees in the online cohort. The outstanding certificate program has been continuously fine-tuned based on our program evaluations from the past six years. Of note, issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the field of psychedelic medicines have continued to develop as a strong presence in the program with an increased number of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ teachers, mentors, and trainees for all cohorts. Both the engaging hybrid online and in-person classes and the online classes will be conducted during an eight-month period.

With the success of our online classes for our hybrid programs in both Boston and San Francisco, we will again offer an online cohort due to key opportunities offered by a virtual program. With an increasing number of trainees joining us from around the United States and twelve countries internationally, an online program for specific psychotherapists will enhance accessibility globally while offering an excellent learning experience. Trainees in the online cohort will receive equivalent instruction to the hybrid cohorts and will complete essential role plays virtually. This online program is only open to licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses.

Full 2023-2024 Information Packet about the Certificate: Download the 2023-2024 Information Packet

Institutional Partners and Acknowledgements

Many renowned researchers and scholars have advised and supported the development of this certificate program at CIIS. They represent the prominent U.S. and Canadian research centers that are funded by the Heffter Research Institute, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP) and the Usona Institute.

Please see the full list of our esteemed Council of Advisors and primary teachers for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research.

We would like to publicly thank the following key thinkers and researchers for their significant contributions to the development of this certificate training and education program. Thank you to Ron Beller (PSFC); Anthony Bossis and Jeffrey Guss (NYU); Nicholas Cozzi (U. of Wisconsin); Rick Doblin, Amy Emerson, Michael Mithoefer, Annie Mithoefer, and Shannon Clare Carlin (MAPS); George Greer and David Nichols (Heffter); Roland Griffiths, Mary Cosimano, and William Richards (Johns Hopkins U.); Charles Grob (UCLA and Heffter); Stanislav Grof; Diane Haug; Robert Jesse (CSP and Usona); Bill Melton and Meihong Xu (CIIS Trustee); the late Ralph Metzner; Ron Mis, Dick Simon, Anne St. Goar, and Sherry Rais (Boston Psychedelic Research Group); Robert Strayhan (Unity Health); and Shirley Strong (Former CIIS Dean of Diversity). Their tireless, consistently inspired, and wise counsel on multiple levels of the Center’s program has helped refine and scale the excellent programs we are delivering.

We would also like to acknowledge our major donors to date: Betsy Gordon (Betsy Gordon Foundation, CIIS trustee and emerita Heffter trustee); Dr. Wendy Feng (Stanford; 2016 Certificate Graduate); Valerie Janssens (2020 Certificate Graduate); Adele Getty and Michael Williams (Limina Foundation); George Sarlo (George Sarlo Foundation); Steve and Alex Cohen (Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation); Threshold Foundation; Carey and Claudia Turnbull (Turnbull Family Foundation), Evolve Foundation,  and other substantial donors. We thank these generous donors for their support of the Center.

Planned 2023-2024 Certificate Teachers:

Many leading scholars, psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists from Johns Hopkins University, New York University, UCLA, Imperial College, UC Berkeley, and the other institutions will be teaching in the program. Below is a list of most of our teachers, while other scholars and teachers are to be determined.

  • Dr. Kwasi Adusei (Journey Clinical)
  • Dr. Brian Anderson (UC San Francisco)
  • Sizwe Andrews-Abakah and Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah, MPH (Spearitwurx)
  • Dr. Anthony Back (University of Washington)
  • Dr. Raquel Bennett (KRIYA Institute)
  • Dr. Anthony Bossis (New York University)
  • Dr. Susana Bustos (CIIS)
  • Tina Braddock (Private Practice)
  • Dr. Clancy Cavnar (Chacruna Institute)
  • Dr. Devon Christie (UBC)
  • Karen Cooper, RN, BSN, MA (CIIS)
  • Mary Cosimano, MSW (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Dr. Nicholas Cozzi (University of Wisconsin)
  • Dr. Dawn Davis (U. of Idaho and Indigenous Program for STEM)
  • Dr. Rick Doblin (MAPS)
  • Gogo Ekhaya (Sangoma Healing)
  • Amy Emerson (MAPS PBC)
  • Dr. George Greer (Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Charles Grob (UCLA, Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Jeffrey Guss (New York University)
  • Dr. Stephen Haggarty (Harvard Medical School)
  • Diane Haug, MA, LPCC (Grof Legacy)
  • Urana Jackson, LMFT (Safe House Seven)
  • Ayize Jama-Everett, MDiv, MA, MFA (Starr King School for the Ministry)
  • Patricia James (Cheyenne Pipe Carrier)
  • Dr. Bob Koffman (Aquilino Cancer Center)
  • Dr. Bia Labate (Chacruna Institute)
  • Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder (Nierika Institute)
  • Dr. Maria Mangini (Holy Names University and CIIS)
  • Dr. Jen Matthews (UCSF)
  • Dr. Keith McCoy (State of North Carolina)
  • Dr. Natalie Metz (CIIS)
  • Dr. David Nichols (Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Kile Ortigo (Center for Existential Exploration)
  • Dr. Janis Phelps (CIIS and Heffter)
  • Dr. David Presti (UC Berkeley)
  • Dr. Charles Raison (Usona Institute)
  • Dr. Brian Richards (Aquilino Cancer Center)
  • Dr. William Richards (JHU and Aquilino Center)
  • Mary Sanders, LCSW (EMPATH Center)
  • Dr. Ben Sessa (Imperial College)
  • Dr. Zach Skiles (Portland VA Hospital, Social Neuroscience and Psychotherapy Lab)
  • Dr. Robert Strayhan (Unity Health)
  • Shirley Strong, MEd, MA (CIIS)
  • Dr. Malynn Utzinger (Usona Institute)
  • Courtney Watson, LMFT (Doorway Therapeutic Services)
  • Chanda Williams, MA (UCSF)
  • Dr. Monnica Williams (U. of Ottawa)
  • Dr. Berra Yazar-Klosinski (MAPS PBC)
  • Dr. Rachel Yehuda (Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Bronx VA)
  • Other scholars and teachers TBD

Format of the Certificate Program

For all cohorts, the 2023-2024 curriculum entails 150 total hours of instruction, including 120 hours of in-class learning (online and/or in-person) and 30 hours of individualized learning and mentor consultations. Applicants will choose their preferred cohort at time of application: San Francisco, Boston, or Online. The Online cohort will participate in the Boston class dates and times virtually for the training weekends. The San Francisco program is hybrid only. All applicants commit to the timing and type of the cohort to which they are admitted. See the exact 2023-2024 schedule below.

There are some people whose states do not authorize enrollment at out of state universities.  For a list of states for which CIIS has not received permission to enroll their residents, please refer below for more details. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept applicants who reside in these states. 

We are actively watching for fluctuations of guidelines from the CDC and university administration in terms of the development of COVID-19 variants. We reserve the right to move any planned in-person classes to online for the safety of all involved.

Hybrid Online and In-Person Format for the Boston and San Francisco Cohorts

For both the Boston and San Francisco based cohorts, the certificate program course schedule will be comprised of seven total weekends; two 4-day in-person weekends, a 6-day in-person retreat, two 2-day online weekends, and two 1-day online weekends. One fall 2023-2024 weekend will be in-person, there will be a 6-day in-person retreat in the fall, and the final meeting in the spring will also be held in-person. The in-person weekends will be conducted at a comfortable conference hotel. Hybrid cohort trainees are required to attend the in-person class weekend meetings.

For all 2023-2024 in-person classes, the Center will follow CIIS administrative and CDC guidance regarding COVID-19. Currently, the CIIS Vaccine Mandate requires all persons on campus and at conference centers to verify vaccination or request a medical or religious exception. We anticipate CIIS will continue to mandate vaccines in 2023-2024 and applicants to the hybrid cohorts should plan accordingly. See more information about CIIS’ response to COVID-19 here:

Online Format

We will again offer an Online cohort in 2023-2024. We have limited the composition of this cohort to licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses. These licensed professionals have the necessary and sufficient supervised clinical and psychotherapeutic background in order to complete the required role-plays online. In 2024-2025, we may allow other professionals to join the Online cohort, but for 2023-2024 this cohort is limited to these specific professional groups (see below for specific professions eligible for this cohort).

As with the hybrid cohorts, the Online cohort includes 7 total weekends, all conducted virtually via Zoom. There will be two 4-day weekends, a 6-day retreat, two 2-day weekends, and two 1-day weekends. All classes will be held concurrently with the 2023-2024 hybrid weekends. Online trainees will participate at a distance, doing the experiential learning modules via video conference breakout rooms. See the full schedule below.

Innovative Curriculum and Learning Environment

The learning environment is in the form of lectures, small group discussions, review of therapy sessions recordings, mentoring experiences, and experiential learning (e.g., role-play, guided imagery, expressive arts, and writing projects). The curriculum emphasizes coursework on the use of MDMA and psilocybin in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The program will discuss competencies for other medicines such as ayahuasca, ibogaine, LSD, and cannabis. Given the current legal uses of ketamine, additional didactic coursework on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will be included. If particularly interested in ketamine, our students have sought full training elsewhere with a practicum in this medicine.

Classes begin in September 2023 for all cohorts and end in April 2024. The 6-day retreat will be in the fall. Arrangements and costs for all personal travel, lodging, and food are the responsibility of students in the hybrid cohorts. CIIS will reserve room blocks at a lower cost, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

An engaging feature of the program is the use of frequent flip classes, an innovative online learning pedagogy. In this type of class, students preview a recorded lecture or presentation before the class weekend and bring questions and comments to the class meetings. During an extended discussion period, the teacher is then able to provide deeper discourse into the topics at hand during class. The training program includes opportunities each class weekend for more intimate small group discussions within a Home Group. These Home Groups are comprised of 7-9 students who co-create a learning pod together for the entire certificate training. Book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles are assigned by our teachers for each class. Throughout the program, prominent readings are required and recommended as foundational learning for this field. For a sneak peek, see the  2023-2024 textbook list.

Students work with a distinguished mentor who has experience in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy research or in related areas of clinical expertise. Our mentors are licensed clinicians and well-known researchers with knowledge in the area of psychedelic studies, and many have expertise in issues of diversity, inclusion and belonging. One third of our mentors identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+. The mentors meet with a small group of mentees regularly in groups and individually during the program. Professional development discussions, assessments, and confidential integration of learning will occur in mentoring. As part of the culmination of the training, under the supervision of the mentors, students will submit a final project or write a final paper. Several of our graduates have had their final paper published in peer refereed journals.

At mid-year and at the end of the training, students and mentors complete several learning assessments. Students will complete a self-assessment of progress in the program, as well as an anonymous program evaluation in January 2024 and May 2024. Mentors will complete a year-end assessment of their mentees’ progress and an anonymous program evaluation. The Center staff utilize these reports to improve the program’s content and learning processes. We hold this research on student and program outcomes as essential for setting high academic standards in the continued evolution in the training of psychedelic therapists and researchers.

Working with MAPS PBC

Working with Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), CIIS offers education intended to raise awareness about the inner-directed therapeutic approach and treatment modality delivered in MAPS-sponsored clinical trials investigating MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD. The MDMA-assisted therapy curriculum incorporated into the CIIS Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research includes online asynchronous coursework and a week-long synchronous educational retreat, delivered by MDMA-assisted therapy teachers. Since 2016, CIIS and MAPS PBC have worked together in providing education on MDMA-assisted therapy.

Since 2016, CIIS and MAPS PBC have worked together in providing education on MDMA-assisted therapy. The MDMA-assisted therapy education delivered in the CIIS certificate program is intended to provide foundational information on the inner-directed therapeutic approach practiced in MAPS PBC clinical trials. The asynchronous and live MDMA-assisted therapy education content incorporated into the CIIS Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research program is consistent with the education content offered by MAPS PBC in 2023. 

While MAPS PBC is working on the New Drug Application to the FDA, there are no guarantees about the approval of MDMA-assisted therapy or what specific requirements will be for therapists wishing to deliver the treatment. It is likely that there will be a training requirement and that therapists and other qualified professionals who have previously participated in education programs with MAPS PBC, or through an institution such as CIIS working with MAPS PBC, will need to complete some supplementary training, while therapists who have not previously participated will need to complete the entire program. As part of these training requirements MAPS PBC continues to plan for all therapists to complete a required number of hours of experience delivering MDMA-assisted therapy and receiving consultation from a qualified MPBC Training Consultant.

Optional Workshop Offerings

The certificate program provides students with an exemplary experience by offering additional opportunities for elective individualized learning and networking. Each year there are several workshops which have included focused teaching on issues of accessibility, diversity and inclusion in the field; psychedelic session music; integration techniques; and strategies of creating regional psychedelic sciences groups. These are incredible opportunities to study with experts in the field in smaller-sized groups of practitioners.

See the menu above for previous year class schedules from 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Boston, 2021 San Francisco, 2022 Boston and Online, and 2022 San Francisco.

Schedule for Boston, San Francisco, and Online 2023-2024 Cohorts

The hybrid cohorts in Boston and San Francisco will meet both online and in-person throughout the program. The Online cohort of licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses meets on the hybrid cohort schedule via video conference. All three cohorts meet together for concurrent instruction with their teachers. Half of the classes are in-person instruction for the Boston and San Francisco cohorts, with the Online trainees attending the classes via video conference. The other half of the classes are delivered via online video conference for all cohorts. Online trainees will participate at a distance, doing the experiential learning modules via video conference breakout rooms. Once the program begins, trainees will remain with their chosen cohort.

See the Format of the Certificate Program section above for more information and refer below for specific dates for each cohort.


September 28 th, 29 th, 30 th, & October 1 st Welcome In-Person Weekend
October 28  th & 29 th Weekend Online
November 30 th to December 5 th Retreat Week 
January 6  th  Day Online
February 3  rd & 4  th Weekend Online
March 9  th  Day Online
April 4  th, 5  th, 6 th & 7  th Closing In-Person Weekend

Schedule for the Online Weekends:

Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT/ 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET and/or
Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT/ 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Boston Cohort Schedule for the In-Person Weekends and Training:

The in-person Boston weekend sessions will meet during these times:

Thursdays, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET
Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET

San Francisco Cohort Schedule for the In-Person Weekends and Training:

The in-person Boston weekend sessions will meet during these times:

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT

6-Day In-Person Retreat Week:

Begins at 2 p.m. local time on Thurday, November 30  th and ends at 12 p.m. local time on Tuesday, December 5 th.
With experienced MDMA-assisted therapy teachers.


September 28 th, 29 th, 30 th, & October 1 st Welcome Weekend Online
October 28  th & 29 th Weekend Online
November 30 th to December 5 th Retreat Week 
January 6  th  Day Online
February 3  rd & 4  th Weekend Online
March 9  th  Day Online
April 4  th, 5  th, 6 th & 7  th Closing Weekend Online

Online Schedule for the October, January, February, and March Weekends:

Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET and/or
Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Online Schedule for the September and April Weekends Training:

The Online weekend sessions will meet during these times:

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET
Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET

6-Day Online Retreat:

Begins at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, November 30 th and ends at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 5 th.
With experienced MDMA-assisted therapy teachers.

image of Flammarion

Who Can Apply?

See the Apply page for further details on in-depth eligibility criteria, application materials and information concerning continuing education.

The certificate is designed for advanced professionals working in related therapeutic areas: licensed mental health clinicians, specific medical professionals, and ordained/commissioned clergy and chaplains. Licensed professionals in these specializations must have an MA/MS, MSW, BSN or higher degree in behavioral health, medicine, or mental health fields. Clergy and chaplains must be trained in a recognized program with multiple teachers within one or more of the major world religions, hold an MDiv, have completed 4 units of CPE, and be ordained or commissioned prior to application. Pre-licensed applicants are not eligible for the certificate program. Some states limit eligibility for their residents for either Hybrid or Online programs, or in some cases, both types of programs. See below about state authorizations.

Hybrid Cohort Professional Eligibility – Boston and San Francisco:

These professionals who hold the following specific advanced degrees and licensure, commissions, or ordinations may apply to the hybrid certificate programs:

  • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LAADC with MA)
  • Attorneys in counseling specialties (JD)
  • Behavioral Analysts (BCBA/BCBA-D with MA/MS or PhD)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM with MS)
  • Clinical and Counseling Psychologists (PhD/PsyD)
  • Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
  • Counseling Nutritionists (RD, RDN, CNS, or CCN with MA/MS)
  • Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)
  • Naturopathic Doctors (ND)
  • Nurse Practitioners (NP with MS)
  • Occupational Therapists (OT with MA/MS)
  • Ordained Clergy and Commissioned Chaplains (with M.Div. and 4 units of CPE)
  • Pharmacists (MS or PharmD)
  • Physical Therapists (PT with MA)
  • Physician Assistants (PA)
  • Physicians and Psychiatrists (MD/DO)
  • Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC/LPC)
  • Registered Nurses (BSN or higher)
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners (TCM with MA/MS)

State Restrictions on Hybrid Programs for Residents:

Some states restrict residents from taking hybrid training programs out of state. In these cases, such states require institutions to be authorized or exempt in order to enroll trainees residing in the state. Below is the list of states for which California universities are either considered ineligible universities and/or states for which CIIS has not applied for eligibility to enroll Hybrid trainees. The Provost’s Office is not currently planning to apply in any of these states for an exemption.

If you reside in one of these states, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply for the Hybrid certificate programs. If you do not see your state listed in this exclusion list for Hybrid trainees, you are eligible to apply.

  • Arkansas
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • North Dakota
  • Virginia

Online Cohort Professional Eligibility:

Only professionals who hold the following specific advanced degrees and licensure may apply to the Online certificate program:

  • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LAADC with MA)
  • Behavioral Analyst (BCBA/BCBA-D with MA/MS or PhD)
  • Clinical and Counseling Psychologists (PhD/PsyD)
  • Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
  • Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (NP with MS)
  • Psychiatrists (MD/DO)
  • Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC/LPC)
  • Psychiatric Registered Nurses (BSN or higher)

State Restrictions on Online Programs for Residents:

Some states restrict residents from taking Online training programs out of state. In these cases, such states require institutions to be authorized or exempt in order to enroll trainees residing in the state. Below is the list of states for which California universities are either considered ineligible universities and/or states for which CIIS has not applied for eligibility to enroll Online trainees. The Provost's Office is not currently planning to apply in any of these states for an exemption.

If you reside in one of these states, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply for the Online certificate programs. If you do not see your state listed in this exclusion list for Online trainees, you are eligible to apply.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

These are strict criteria and only people with the above degrees and credentials are eligible to apply. For these professionals, we welcome applicants with a substantial background in psychological treatment with diverse populations, and/or spiritual direction in: behavioral medicine, chronic trauma and PTSD, palliative care, hospice, psychiatry, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, oncology, mediation and resolution, and/or pain management.

The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research especially encourages applications from eligible individuals within the above list who: identify as BIPOC; identify as LGBTQIA+; are military veterans/service members; are clinical CIIS faculty, students, alumni, supervisors, adjuncts, and staff; and/or serve under-resourced and under-represented populations.

For medical professionals, clergy, chaplains, and counseling attorneys, those applicants with substantial experience in providing psychotherapy, counseling, pastoral care, mediation, and/or spiritual direction will be considered strong candidates for the certificate program.

What Can I Do with this Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research?

Three primary opportunities await you as a Certificate graduate:

1) Certificate graduates will have strong skills and knowledge at a high standard for foundational training and education. For some graduates, this has been built upon by further mentoring via specific training with Heffter, MAPS, and Usona researchers, who have already chosen these graduates as study therapists in ongoing psychedelic research projects. This is dependent on the unfolding regulatory processes, the attainment of protocol-specific training, and the available number of therapist researcher positions. As a notable outcome of this program, graduates will also be well positioned to be leaders in bringing awareness to issues of disparities and inequity in healthcare and implementation of diverse representation among researchers and study participants. We encourage trainees who are interested to seek a full training in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy that will then allow them to explore the possibilities of expanding their practice into this area of specific clinical  treatment.

2) Another potential opportunity is for graduates to work in expanded access clinical research programs. Expanded access is a program that allows patients to receive an investigational treatment not yet approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment outside of a clinical trial. The program is intended for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who do not have any promising treatment options and are unable to participate in ongoing clinical trials. Only sites within the U.S and U.S territories are eligible to participate in the FDA Expanded Access Program. Similar programs exist internationally such as the Canada Special Access Program and the Compassionate Use Program in Israel.  MAPS has obtained sufficient clinical information about MDMA-assisted therapy to identify a population of patients for whom expanded access may be appropriate. MAPS has received FDA authorization to establish an expanded access program for a limited group of patients who meet specific eligibility criteria. This program is managed by MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) and follows a specific protocol, which is developed in consultation with the FDA for the use of the investigational treatment. Given the current status of MDMA-assisted therapy as an investigational treatment, opportunities to practice MDMA-assisted therapy on clinical trials are currently very limited. Psilocybin researchers in the U.S. may also pursue an expanded access program once they have obtained sufficient clinical information. At CIIS we continue to work with Heffter, MAPS PBC, and Usona for our graduates to receive any of their required training in order to be key prospects for these potential opportunities.

3) A third opportunity to be gained from the certificate is an enhanced ability to serve people in our culture who have used psychedelics or other potent practices (e.g., breathwork). The general public has insufficient knowledge and support for the challenging experiences that sometimes occur and less than ideal support for the full unfolding of even positive experiences. Most clergy, therapists and medical professionals have people in their practices and communities who are not disclosing that they are using these psychoactive substances. With this training our graduates will be skilled in addressing psychological material that has arisen for clients and congregation members as the result of their personal psychedelic usage. People in our graduates' practices will be more likely to disclose and to ask for help in the integration of their psychedelically induced mystical, insightful, and/or challenging experiences knowing their clinician is trained in psychedelic-assisted therapies. Graduates might choose to make this integration work a specialization within their practices and communities.

At CIIS we are working at the forefront of these opportunities. Join us!

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What Are the Benefits of Attending the Certificate Program in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research?

By enrolling in this Certificate Program, you will:

  • Have a unique opportunity to train with many prominent psychedelic researchers and therapists internationally.

  • Be mentored in periodic professional development groups with an expert clinician or researcher in the field of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies. Our mentors are a Who’s Who of the field.

  • Develop your clinical and counseling skills to an advanced level of expertise in: creating the desired qualities of the therapeutic relationship for this specialization; embodying therapeutic presence; and understanding psychedelic research protocols and integration practices.

  • Increase your skills in cultural humility for working clinically and therapeutically with diverse clinical populations.

  • Access our influential network of cutting-edge graduates, mentors, teachers and stakeholders through personal contact and introductions, affinity groups, and upon completion of the program, our Alumni Association.

  • Specialize in your knowledge of the best therapeutic and research practices with the classic psychedelics and MDMA.

  • Gain foundational knowledge in classes on ketamine and plant medicines.

  • Enjoy the support and conviviality of a cohort of other licensed mental health, medical professionals, and ordained clergy and chaplains with whom you might practice and/or conduct research in the future.

  • Join program alumni in a specialized online community platform with forums, events, resources, and job postings.

  • Access extensive references and resources to help expand your skill base.

  • Learn to be present to the ways in which you can more deeply enhance your own personal journey of transformation, well-being, and connections with your own inner healing capacities.

  • Join an engaged, inclusive, and healing classroom atmosphere that nurtures our human capacity for aliveness and community connection, with an emphasis on diversity, inclusion and belonging.

  • Expand your scope of practice within your profession to include skills and insights from the certificate training that would allow you to more ably help people navigate through life's challenging and difficult states of consciousness.

  • May be able to earn up to 30 approved hours of applicable Continuing Education hours or credits for eligible professions for select certificate classes. (This occurred for the 2019 - 2022 cohorts.)

Click to Download the 2023-2024 Information Packet

Contact Us

CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 575-6243

We are an academic program, and we are not able to provide therapist referrals at this time.

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