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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 CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research. 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. Book readings and lectures by scholars of psychedelic medicines have been presented since 2015.

The Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research Certificate Program serves a growing need for the training of skilled therapist researchers who will ideally seek advanced training for future FDA-approved psychedelic-assisted and entactogen-assisted psychotherapy research. We use the term "psychedelic" to refer to both the classic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca, etc.) and to those drugs specifically termed "entactogens" and also known as "empathogens" (MDMA, MDA, etc.). Enrollees are professionals in specific licensed mental health and medical 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, and cultural anthropology. 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 Heffter Research Institute trustee and 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.


Exciting Updates for the 2022 Class

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 will help the Center meet the rapidly growing demand for psychedelic therapists by training 1,125 graduates over the next three years. In addition to expanding our course curriculum and online offerings, the grant will also support the addition of new training sites in the coming years 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 forming a national speakers bureau, public education, continuing education for licensed professionals, and an online directory of program graduates.

After expanding our programming to include two cohorts of students in 2021, our Center is scaling the certificate training in 2022 to three cohorts of students who are mental health and medical professionals or ordained clergy. We will continue to offer hybrid cohort options with classes in both Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA. We are excited to offer an entirely online cohort, which will be open 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.

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 150 trainees per hybrid cohort and 75 students 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. Both the engaging hybrid online-residential classes and the online-only 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 have chosen to offer an online-only 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 has limited spaces and is only open to licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses.


Philosophy and Goals of the Certificate

Consistent with CIIS ideals, 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. Students 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.

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 the 2022 class will be topics on diversity, inclusion, and belonging as well as situating trainees with knowledge of the wide array of job opportunities in the field. We will co-create a culture of belonging throughout the program for all trainees in order to foster empathy, connection, and risk taking.

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 themselves 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 in-depth 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. Students taking the Certificate will learn about the competencies required of therapist guides in federally approved medical treatment and psychedelic research. An exception to this can be if a student chooses to get optional training in a ketamine clinic, which may involve an opportunity to experience ketamine on a case-by-case basis.

Full 2022 Information Packet about the Certificate: Download the 2022 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 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, and Anne St. Goar (Boston Psychedelic Research Group); 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), and other substantial donors. We thank these generous donors for their support of the Center.


Planned 2022 Certificate Teachers:

Many leading scholars, psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists from Johns Hopkins University, New York University, UCLA, 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 (Psychedelic Society of Western New York)
  • Dr. Brian Anderson (UC San Francisco)
  • Sizwe Andrews-Abakah and Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah, MPH (Spearitwurx)
  • Dr. Anthony Back (University of Washington)
  • Dr. Anthony Bossis (New York University)
  • Dr. Susana Bustos (CIIS)
  • Karen Cooper, RN (MAPS Ft. Collins, Colorado)
  • Mary Cosimano, MSW (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Dr. Nicholas Cozzi (University of Wisconsin)
  • Dawn Davis, MA (U. of Idaho and Indigenous Program for STEM)
  • Dr. Rick Doblin (MAPS)
  • Amy Emerson (MAPS)
  • Dr. George Greer (Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Charles Grob (UCLA, Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Jeffrey Guss (New York University)
  • Diane Haug, LPC
  • Patricia James (Cheyenne Pipe Carrier)
  • Emma Knighton, MA, LMHC
  • Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder (Nierika Institute)
  • Dr. Maria Mangini (Holy Names University and CIIS)
  • Dr. Keith McCoy (State of North Carolina)
  • Dr. Natalie Metz (CIIS)
  • Dr. Michael Mithoefer (MAPS)
  • Annie Mithoefer, RN (MAPS)
  • Dr. David Nichols (Heffter Co-founder)
  • Dr. Janis Phelps (CIIS)
  • Dr. David Presti (UC Berkeley)
  • Dr. Charles Raison (Usona Institute)
  • Dr. William Richards (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Dr. Ben Sessa (Imperial College)
  • Dick Simon (YPO Psychedelic Group, BPRG)
  • Dr. Robert Strayhan (Unity Health)
  • Shirley Strong, MEd, MA (CIIS)
  • Dr. Malynn Utzinger (Usona Institute)
  • Dr. Monnica Williams (U. of Ottawa)
  • Dr. Berra Yazar-Klosinski (MAPS)
  • Dr. Rachel Yehuda (Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Bronx V.A.)
  • Other scholars and teachers TBD


Format of the Certificate Program

Hybrid Online and Residential Format

For all cohorts, the 2022 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, mentor consultations, and online video instruction. Applicants will choose their preferred cohort at time of application: San Francisco, Boston, or Online-only. The Online-only cohort will participate in the Boston class dates 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 2022 schedule below.

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

Hybrid Online and Residential 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 six total weekends; two 4-day in-person weekends, a 6-day in-person training, and three 2-day online weekends. One spring 2022 weekend will be in-person in order to experience Holotropic Breathwork during part of that course meeting. There will be a 6-day in-person training in the summer, and the final meeting in the fall will also be held in-person. The in-person weekends will be conducted at a comfortable conference hotel.

For all 2022 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 2022 and applicants to the hybrid cohorts should plan accordingly. See more information about CIIS’ response to COVID-19 here: https://www.ciis.edu/covid19.

Online-only Format

We are excited to offer an Online-only cohort beginning in 2022. 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 2023, we may allow other professionals to join the Online-only cohort, but for 2022 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-only cohort includes 6 total weekends, all conducted virtually via Zoom. The two 4-day weekends and the 6-day training will include the Boston hybrid cohort trainees, and three 2-day weekends will be held with both 2022 hybrid classes. Online trainees will be supported by teaching assistants and will participate at a distance, doing the experiential learning modules via video conference break-out rooms. See the full schedule below.

Innovative Curriculum and Learning Environment

The learning environment is in the form of lectures, small group discussion, review of therapy session recordings, mentoring experiences, and experiential learning (e.g., Holotropic Breathwork, role-play, guided imagery, expressive arts, and journaling). Classes begin in April 2022 for all cohorts and end in October 2022 for San Francisco and in November 2022 for Boston and the Online-only cohorts. The 6-day training will be in the summer on two separate long weekends: one near Boston and one near San Francisco. The Online cohort will virtually join the Boston cohort weekends. Arrangements and costs for all personal travel, lodging, and food are the responsibility of trainees in both hybrid cohorts. CIIS will reserve room blocks at a lower cost, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first class meeting in April for all cohorts will include either an experiential Holotropic Breathwork session or experiential therapy role plays. The hybrid cohorts will participate in a Saturday session of Holotropic Breathwork with Diane Haug who is a lead international teacher of the Grof Legacy Training. On that Saturday, the Online-only cohort will participate in guided therapy role plays with expert instructors.

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 day for more intimate small group discussions within a Home Group. These Home Groups are comprised of 7-9 trainees 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 2022 textbook list.

Trainees work with a distinguished mentor who has experience in psychedelic-assisted and/or entactogen-assisted psychotherapy research or in related areas of clinical expertise. Our mentors are licensed clinicians and well-known researchers with expertise in the area of psychedelic studies, and many have expertise in issues of diversity, inclusion and belonging. The mentors meet with a small group of mentees regularly and once 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, trainees will write a final paper, several of which have been published by our graduates in peer refereed journals, or complete a final project.

At mid-year and at the end of the training, students and mentors complete several learning assessments. Trainees will complete a self-assessment of progress in the program, as well as an anonymous program evaluation in September, 2022 and February, 2023. Mentors will complete a year-end assessment of their mentees’ progress and an anonymous program evaluation. The Center staff utilize these reports to improves the program’s content and learning processes. We hold this research on trainee and program outcomes as essential for setting high academic standards in the continued evolution in the training psychedelic therapists and researchers.

Exceptional Collaboration with MAPS

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is currently requiring a 100-hour training for all eligible allied health professionals and clergy who wish to be permitted by MAPS to provide MDMA-assisted therapy after the FDA re-scheduling of MDMA. Since 2016, CIIS and MAPS have collaborated in organizing an opportunity for graduates of the CIIS program to efficiently complete MAPS therapist training. The 100 hours of the current MAPS training program are outlined here.

Notably, CIIS trainees will have completed approximately half of the training required by MAPS to conduct MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in approved clinical settings. This means that our graduates are more readily able to finish their MAPS training. MAPS has generously granted this key benefit for CIIS graduates in which they save approximately half of the cost of the full MAPS training. The 6-day summer trainings are collaboratively organized by CIIS and MAPS, and taught by the lead MAPS trainers, Michael Mithoefer, MD, and Annie Mithoefer, RN.

Individualized Offerings Beyond the Classroom

The certificate program provides students with an exemplary experience by offering additional opportunities for elective individualized learning and networking. Students may select from a multiplicity of options: supplementary workshop offerings, didactic and/or experiential trainings, as well as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy training. These offerings also provide occasions for students to deepen their understanding of that expert’s work and field and acquaint themselves with more influential mentors and teachers. Opportunities for training in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will be offered through affiliated, highly skilled instructors and will have a separate fee. Students may receive credit for many of these varied offerings.

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 dropdown above for previous year class schedules from 2016, 2017, 20182019, 2020, 2021 Boston, and 2021 San Francisco.


Schedule for Boston, San Francisco, and Online 2022 Cohorts

The hybrid cohorts in Boston and San Francisco will meet both online and in-person throughout the program. The Online-only cohort of licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses meets on the Boston cohort schedule via video conference. During half of the classes, all three cohorts meet together for concurrent instruction via online video conference with their teachers. The other half of the classes are in-person instruction for the Boston and San Francisco cohorts, with the Online-only trainees attending the in-person Boston classes via video conference. Online trainees will be supported by teaching assistants and will participate at a distance, doing the experiential learning modules via video conference break-out rooms.

For the Boston and San Francisco cohorts, all hybrid trainees attend only the sessions scheduled for their cohort. The in-person schedule for the hybrid Boston and San Francisco classes are created for and attended by each cohort separately. The Online-only trainees must attend their designated schedule, which is the same as the Boston hybrid schedule. See Format of the Certificate Program section above for more information and refer below for specific dates for each cohort.

BOSTON: WEEKEND AND TRAINING DAYS AND TIMES

April 28 th, 29 th, 30 th, & May 1 st Welcome In-Person Weekend
May 21 st & 22 nd Weekend Online
August 10 th to August 15 th In-Person Training (MAPS modules) near Boston
September 10 th & 11 th Weekend Online
October 8 th & 9 th Weekend Online
November 17 th, 18 th, 19 th & 20 th Closing In-Person Weekend

The Boston Schedule for the Online Weekends:

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

The Boston Schedule for the Residential Weekends and Training:

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

Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET
Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

6-Day In-Person Training (MAPS modules) near Boston:

Begins 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 10th and ends 12 p.m. ET on Monday, August 15th.
With Expert MAPS trainers - Michael and Annie Mithoefer.


SAN FRANCISCO: WEEKEND AND TRAINING DAYS AND TIMES

April 7 th, 8 th, 9 th, & 10 th Welcome In-Person Weekend
May 21 st& 22 nd Weekend Online
June 22 nd to June 27 th In-Person Training (MAPS modules) near San Francisco
September 10 th& 11 th Weekend Online
October 8 th& 9 th Weekend Online
October 27 th, 28 th, 29 th& 30 th Closing In-Person Weekend

The Daily San Francisco Schedule for the Online Weekends:

Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT
Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT

The San Francisco Schedule for the Residential Weekends and Training:

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

Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT
Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PT
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT

6-Day In-Person Training (MAPS modules) near San Francisco:

Begins 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday, June 22nd and ends 12 p.m. PT on Monday, June 27th.
With Expert MAPS trainers - Michael and Annie Mithoefer.


ONLINE-ONLY: WEEKEND AND TRAINING DAYS AND TIMES

April 28 th, 29 th, 30 th, & May 1 st Welcome Weekend Online
May 21 st & 22 nd Weekend Online
August 10 th to August 15 th Training Online (MAPS modules)
September 10 th & 11 th Weekend Online
October 8 th & 9 th Weekend Online
November 17 th, 18 th, 19 th & 20 th Closing Weekend

The Online-only Schedule for the May, September, and October Weekends:

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

The Online-only Schedule for the April and November Weekends and August Training:

The Online-only weekend sessions will meet during these times:

Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET
Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

6-Day Training (MAPS modules) online:

Begins 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 10th and ends 12 p.m. ET on Monday, August 15th.
With Expert MAPS trainers - Michael and Annie Mithoefer.


Curricular Modules of Study:

Find all the details on the in-depth topics covered in the Certificate.

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Who Can Apply?

See the Apply page for further details on applicable credentials.

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, RN 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. In 2022, pre-licensed applicants are not eligible for the certificate program.

Boston and San Francisco Hybrid Cohort Eligibility:

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)

Online-only Cohort Eligibility:

Only professionals who hold the following specific advanced degrees and licensure may apply to the Online-only 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)

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-Assisted Therapies and Research especially encourages applications from eligible individuals within the above list who: identify as people of color; identify as LGBTQ+; are military veterans/service members; are clinical CIIS and ACTCM faculty, students, alumni, supervisors, adjuncts, and staff; and/or serve marginalized 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. 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 unjust accessibility and inequity in healthcare and implementation of diverse representation among researchers and study participants. Optional training in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will facilitate graduates in the exploration of the possibilities of expanding their practice into this area of clinical treatment.

2) Another opportunity is for graduates to work in expanded access clinical research programs. Expanded access for investigational drugs is designed for medicines that have been determined by the FDA to have sufficient efficacy and baseline safety but are not yet fully approved for the researched symptomologies. MAPS received approval from the FDA of their expanded access MDMA protocol in late 2019. The psilocybin researchers in the U.S. are a year or two away from being in a position with sufficient data to speak to the FDA about expanded access.

During expanded access, psychiatrists and some physicians will be able to prescribe psilocybin and/or MDMA for people with intractable conditions that have shown only partial response to traditional medications or for whom traditional medicines are contraindicated. Carefully trained therapist researchers will need to be present throughout the therapeutic process and conduct themselves within FDA treatment protocols. Expanded access treatment is designed for people whose medical conditions meet FDA criteria for severe chronic PTSD (for MDMA-assisted therapy) and will likely be approved for major depression, treatment-resistant depression and/or end-of-life distress (for psilocybin-assisted therapy). At CIIS we continue to work with Heffter, MAPS, 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. 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!


image of Escher artwork Concave and Convex

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 consultations with an expert clinician 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 design 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, MDMA, and optionally, ketamine.
  • 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.
  • Opportunity to join program alumni in a specialized online community platform with forums, events, resources, and job postings.
  • 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 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 certification 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 the certificate classes. (This occurred for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 cohorts.)

Click to Download the 2022 Information Packet


Need to Contact Us?

CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dr. Cathy Coleman
CPTR Admissions Manager | Certificate Manager
Email: ccoleman@ciis.edu
Phone: (415) 575-6261

Leslie Carson, MS, LPCC
Admission Project Assistant, and Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research Graduate 2017
Email: admincptr@ciis.edu
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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