Friday, March 24

3:00 - 4:15 p.m. Welcome and small group discussions - Namaste Hall Dr. Janis Phelps and facilitators
Ricci Coddington, guest
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. The Power of Presence, the Healing Triad, and Getting Real - Namaste Hall Karen Cooper, RN
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. Welcome Reception DJ Eckoe
(Adrian Scharfetter, 2016 CPTR graduate)

Saturday, March 25

9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Therapist Competencies and Therapeutic Processes: Science & Art Dr. William Richards
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK  

2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Film: A New Understanding

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. The Reemergence of Psychedelic Research: Implications for Living and Dying Dr. Anthony Bossis & Dr. William Richards
5:00 - 7:00 p.m. DINNER BREAK
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. The Reemergence of Psychedelic Research: Implications for Living and Dying - First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco

*Certificate trainees will be joined by the public for this presentation
Dr. Anthony Bossis & Dr. William Richards

Sunday, March 26

9:30 - 1:00 p.m. Psilocybin-Generated Mystical Experience Research: Implications for Palliative Care and Religious Studies Dr. Anthony Bossis and Katy Maddox
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The Power of Presence, the Healing Triad, and Getting Real, cont. Karen Cooper, RN

Friday, May 5

3:00 - 3:15 p.m. Welcome
Dr. Janis Phelps

3:15 - 7:00 p.m. Foundations of Neurobiology Dr. David Presti

Saturday, May 6

10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Revision and Re-Enchantment of Psychology: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research Dr. Stan Grof
1:00 - 2:15 p.m. LUNCH BREAK
2:15 - 4:30 p.m. The Neuropharmacology of Classic Psychedelics Dr. David Nichols
4:45 - 5:45 p.m. Ayahuasca Research: Integrating Scientific and Spiritual Perspectives Dr. Frank Echenhofer
5:45 - 7:15 p.m. DINNER BREAK
7:15 - 9:00 p.m. Discussion of the day
Therapist Competencies for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy
Dr. Janis Phelps

Sunday, May 7

10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Evolving Paradigms for Psychedelics in Psychotherapy and Divination Dr. Ralph Metzner
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Commercial Health Insurance and Access to Care: Paving the Way for Partnership Lia Mix
4:30 - 6:30 p.m. OPTIONAL: A Community Ecopsychology Approach to Intentions & Integration Hank Obermayer


Sunday, June 4 to Saturday, June 10

1:00 p.m., Sunday to 6:00 p.m., Saturday

Retreat Intensive

Therapist Guide Training

Michael and Annie Mithoefer

Friday, September 15

1:00 p.m. - 1:10 p.m. IONS Orientation
1:10 - 2:30 p.m. Introductions & Small Group Sharing CPTR teachers & 2016 CPTR graduates Mary McDermott, Debbie McDivitt, Denise Renye, Adrian Scharfetter, & Steven Sherman
2:30 - 2:45 p.m. BREAK
2:25 - 3:45 p.m. Holistic Support for the Voyage: Journeyers, Guides, and Beyond Dr. Natalie Metz
3:45 - 4:45 p.m. CIIS & the Re-Emergence of Psychedelics Bob Jesse
4:45 - 5:00 p.m. BREAK
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Psilocybin-Facilitated Experiences Mary Cosimano
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. DINNER & ROOM CHECK IN
7:30 - 9:00 p.m. Holotropic Breathwork Preparation Diane Haug

Saturday, September 16

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. BREAKFAST
9:00 - 12:00 p.m. Holotropic Breathwork Diane Haug
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 - 2:00 p.m. BREAK
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Holotropic Breathwork Diane Haug
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Small group sharing
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. DINNER
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. OPTIONAL: Nature as Mirror Jan Edl Stein

Sunday, September 17

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. BREAKFAST
9:00 - 10:45 a.m. Integration Diane Haug
10:45 - 11:00 a.m. BREAK
11:00 - 12:30 p.m. Q&A, discussion Diane Haug & Mary Cosimano
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Role Playing Mary Cosimano
4:15 - 5:00 p.m. Closure Dr. Janis Phelps

Friday, October 13

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Welcome and Small Group Discussions Dr. Janis Phelps
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. The Medicinal and Ecological Imperative of Psychedelics         Allan Badiner
5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Pharmacology: Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions          Dr. Nick Cozzi
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

OPTIONAL: Process Group                    

Dr. Alex Cardenas & Dr. Michelle Wang

Saturday, October 14

9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. 2016 Certificate Graduate Panel: Their Current Work in the    Field                                      Dr. Anne St. Goar, Dr. Alia Lilienstein, Meghan Kennedy, & Paul Rammer
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Implementation of the Compassionate Use Act in a Family Medical Practice: 20 Years’ Clinical Experience Dr. Maria Mangini
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Designing and Implementing a Clinical Development Program for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Amy Emerson & Dr. Berra Yazar-Klosinski
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Coming Down from the Psychedelic Power Trip Dr. Alicia Danforth
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. DINNER
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Psychedelics and Neurodiversity: Great Minds Don’t Always Trip Alike
Students will be joined by the public for this presentation
Dr. Alicia Danforth & Steve Silberman

Sunday, October 15

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Navigating the Path to Patient Access and Benefit George Goldsmith (Live via Zoom)
10:00 - 1:00 p.m. The Potential Role of Entheogens in the Second Half of Life Dr. Ralph Metzner
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Gifts, Gears, and Sharks: A Group Visioning Exercise Dr. Alicia Danforth
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. OPTIONAL: Finding Your Place in Community Hank Obermayer, PhD(c)

Friday, November 10

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Welcome and Small Group Discussions Dr. Janis Phelps
4:30 - 6:30 p.m. Mental Imagery Procedures Dr. William Richards
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. DINNER
7:30 - 8:30 p.m. New Developments in Psychedelic Research at UCSF Medical School Dr. Brian Anderson & Dr. Emily Williams

Saturday, November 11

9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Firsthand Report: Psychedelic Research Participant’s Experience Alison Walmsley, MAPS Boulder MDMA study participant
10:15 - 11:00 a.m. Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Approaches Dr. Paul Abramson
11:15 - 1:00 p.m. Six Decades of Insights from Psychedelic Research Dr. Stanislav Grof with Dr. Janis Phelps
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. LUNCH
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Mad Thoughts on Mushrooms: Discourse and Power in the Study of Psychedelic Consciousness Dr. Jeffrey Guss
4:15 - 6:30 p.m. Role Play of Psychedelic Sessions Dr. Jeffrey Guss
6:45 - 8:30 p.m. DINNER CELEBRATION 2017 Cohort and Teachers at a Local Restaurant

Sunday, November 12

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Theoretical Reflections and Integrative Summary: Perspectives from Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion Dr. William Richards
11:00 - 12:30 p.m. Small Group Discussions Dr. Janis Phelps, Dr. William Richards, and Dr. Jeffrey Guss
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Small Group Discussions Dr. Janis Phelps, Dr. William Richards, and Dr. Jeffrey Guss
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Graduation Ceremony All Students, Weekend Teachers and Staff
5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Graduation Festive Reception - CIIS Desai|Matta Art Gallery Graduates and Guests

Click "More" to see full 2017 class descriptions and faculty bios.

Friday, March 24 & Sunday, March 26
The Power of Presence, the Healing Triad, and Getting Real
This dynamic, interactive, experiential learning session is designed to enhance the knowledge gained from the theoretical and didactic components of the certificate program, to help you discover the strengths and limitations of your personal style, to cultivate greater self-awareness and capacity for being a healing presence, and to experience impromptu ways to support a study participant's experience.

You will be offered challenging opportunities through real-time role play with music and eyeshades to help stimulate thought and discussion, as well as to practice realistic skills and embodied learning that might be useful in an entheogen-assisted therapeutic setting. Elements of preparatory and integration sessions as well as "dose day" set and setting in a clinical research study will be explored.

We will engage in exercises related to death, loss, surrendering expectations, self-renewal, and how these might affect you and your future work in the field of research and therapy with entheogens. Dyad, small group work, and private time provides an opportunity for debriefing, reflection, feedback, and to increase compassion and trust within yourself, with each other, and with the recommended therapeutic approach for these therapies.

We will consider some of the following questions and others:
• What are some of the challenges in working within legal and institutional constraints while creating and maintaining a study with a conducive set and setting?
• What really happens in that study session room?
• How do we as researchers/ therapists/guides prepare for the unexpected and avoid adverse events?
• How is the therapist/guide approach with these medicines different from conventional therapies?
• What influences the experience of therapist, co-therapist, and study participant/client?
• How do we take care of ourselves so that we can be fully present, especially for 8+hours on dose day?

Please bring:
• Casual/comfortable clothing
• A power object (i.e., something that you might put on a ceremonial altar, or hold or look at for confidence or comfort, helps you feel love, steadiness, power - anything from a photograph or icon to a rock or teddy bear)
• Bandana or eyeshade
• Writing utensil and paper (no electronics in class, please)
• Pillow and blanket, wrap, or shawl (limited number may be available in class)
• Journal or electronic device for recording your reflections after class
• Sense of humor. Beginner's Mind. Compassion for yourself and others.

Karen M. Cooper, RN, BSN, MA, was Lead Guide and Clinical Research Nurse for the University of Wisconsin's Psilocybin Pharmacokinetic Study, and served as the study trainer with the Usona Institute. She currently enjoys serving as mentor, guest faculty, and member of the Advisory Board for the Certificate in Psychedelic Therapies and Research program at CIIS, and is the Project Manager and Co-therapist for the anticipated MAPS MDMA-assisted Phase III clinical trial at the clinical study site in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Karen's MA in Holistic Health Education at John F. Kennedy University included a focus on transpersonal and psychosomatic psychology. She is a student of meditation and yoga, and a licensed bodyworker and massage therapist. Karen finds that an eclectic nursing background working with patients ranging from prenatal and neonatal care to end-of-life hospice lends well to her love for lifelong learning of science, consciousness, psychology, society, and spirituality. Her interests include learning about Colorado native plants, herbs, and food as medicine; biking and hiking; ecstatic dance; painting; meditation; exploring the natural beauty of her new home in northern Colorado with her husband Dan Muller; and the wondrous path of being a grandma.

Saturday, March 25
Therapist Competencies and Therapeutic Processes: Science & Art
This seminar will focus both on the "being" and "doing" of effective therapists in psychedelic research, and on methods for the development and strengthening of personal qualities and practical skills that are advantageous in the implementation of research projects. Sensitivity to the challenges of skillfully communicating in supportive ways when clients are experiencing a variety of alternative states of consciousness will be explored, as will the importance of one's own genuineness and capacity to maintain presence and openness to whatever experiential content may be expressed during entheogenic sessions.

William (Bill) Richards, STM, PhD, is a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues have pursued research with entheogens for the past 17 years, and a clinician in private practice in Baltimore. His graduate training in clinical psychology and the psychology of religion included studies at Yale University, the University of Göttingen, Andover-Newton Theological School, Brandeis University, and Catholic University. After encountering psilocybin research in Germany in 1963, he contributed to psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA, and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center from 1967-1977. Columbia University Press published his seminal book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, in 2015.

The Reemergence of Psychedelic Research: Implications for Living and Dying
Join us for a fascinating evening with Dr. William Richards and Dr. Anthony Bossis, two of the world's foremost experts on psychedelic-generated mystical experiences. Each will give a presentation and then take questions from the audience in a panel with Dr. Janis Phelps, Director of the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research.

Part 1: Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences
Dr. Richards will present and discuss selected content from his book Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, recently released by Columbia University Press and heralded as a sequel to William James's Varieties of Religious Experience. Written not only for scholars of the psychology of religion, psychotherapy, neuroscience, comparative religion, theology, and drug policy, this book reaches out to all who have encountered profound, potentially transformative states of consciousness, with or without the use of psychedelic substances.

Part 2: Emergent Themes of Love and Transcendence in Psilocybin Mystical Experience Research
Clinical research at NYU School of Medicine has investigated the effects of psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience with individuals diagnosed with cancer who experience psychospiritual and end-of-life existential distress. Subjective features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, and a greater connection to deeply felt positive emotions including love.

A new clinical trial is enlisting religious leaders to participate in psilocybin-generated mystical experience research to contribute to the understanding of mystical or religious experiences. Dr. Bossis will explore the prominent, meaning-making, and potentially transformative experiences of love and transcendence that frequently emerge in psilocybin research sessions and the impact these experiences have in cultivating compassion and promoting healing.

Anthony P. Bossis, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. He was director of palliative care research, co-principal investigator, and a session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study and is the Project Director and primary session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Religious Leaders Study, a clinical trial evaluating the effects of a psilocybin-facilitated mystical experience upon religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a clinical supervisor of psychotherapy training at Bellevue Hospital, is the co-founder and former Co-Director of the Palliative Care Service, and served on the NYU Chaplains Clinical Pastoral Education Advisory Committee. He has a longstanding interest in comparative religion, consciousness research, and the interface of psychology and spirituality. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in New York City.

Please see above for Dr. Richards's bio.

Sunday, March 26
Psilocybin-Generated Mystical Experience Research: Implications for Palliative Care and Religious Studies
This presentation will review two FDA-approved clinical trials of psilocybin research conducted at NYU School of Medicine. Psilocybin is the hallucinogenic compound found in many species of mushrooms. The recently completed Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Project investigated the benefits that a psilocybin-generated mystical experience provides in helping individuals cultivate meaning, enhance psycho-spiritual well-being, and experience a greater acceptance of the dying process with less psychological and existential distress. Subjective features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, and a greater connection to deeply felt positive emotions including that of love. Many patients diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer experience hopelessness and despair, but for some, a cancer diagnosis can initiate a search for meaning. The psilocybin-generated mystical experience offers a novel therapeutic approach to promote meaning and mitigate psycho-social distress in cancer and end-of-life patients. The rationale for this study along with clinical vignettes and participant videos will be shown. The results from the NYU study, along with a similar protocol from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in December 2016.

The Psilocybin for Religious Leaders Study investigates the utility of a psilocybin-generated mystical experience for religious leaders. This study enlists the assistance of religious leaders in describing and contributing to the knowledge regarding the phenomenology of mystical states of consciousness, evaluates the effect of psilocybin-generated experience on their work as clergy and in their spiritual practice, and potentially seeks to better identify the common ground of religions and promote interreligious dialogue. Rationale and objectives of the study along with a brief overview of the mystic core of the major religions and wisdom traditions will be presented.

Please see above for Dr. Bossis's bio.

Friday, May 5
Foundations of Neurobiology
A core hypothesis of contemporary biophysical science is that living organisms can be understood as configurations of molecular components, and the capacity to manifest profound properties - such as being alive and having consciousness - is explicable via deep understanding of underlying molecular configurations. Centuries of observation and investigation indicate that the human brain and nervous system are intimately connected to our behavior and our mental experiences, such as thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and conscious awareness. And neuroscience - the science of brain, mind, and behavior - has become one of the most exciting arenas and frontiers of contemporary science.

This lecture will speak to foundational concepts in neuroscience: atoms, molecules, membranes, cells, neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, neuronal circuits, and brains. It also seeks to foster the development of intuition about how the brain works - appreciating the beauty and power of molecular and cellular explanations, and at the same time appreciating that the unfathomable complexity of living systems places substantial limits on any sort of seemingly simple explanation.

Following this lecture and associated readings, students will be able to:
• Describe the place of contemporary neuroscience within the larger context of the history of biophysical and psychological sciences.
• Describe the structure and properties of nerve cells.
• Explain neuronal resting potential, action potential, excitation, and inhibition.
• Describe the properties of voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels, and of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).
• Describe the molecular components and properties of electrical and chemical synapses.
• List the major neurotransmitters and receptors in the human nervous system.
• Describe the biosynthesis, storage, release, and inactivation of neurotransmitters.
• Describe how neurons connect to form circuits, the properties of which underlie various components of behavior.
• Describe how nervous-system structure relates to sensory perception, movement, emotion, sleep, and autonomic somatic functioning.

David Presti, PhD, is Teaching Professor of Neurobiology, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 26 years. He also worked for more than a decade in the clinical treatment of addiction and post-traumatic stress at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco, and since 2004 has been teaching neuroscience to Tibetan monastics in India, and most recently in Bhutan. He has been involved in shifting policy related to research and psychotherapy with psychedelics for 30 years. He has doctorates in molecular biology and biophysics from Caltech, and in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon.

Saturday, May 6
Revision and Re-Enchantment of Psychology: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research
Consciousness research conducted in the second half of the twentieth century brought revolutionary changes to psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy concerning the nature of consciousness and its relationship to matter, the dimensions of the human psyche, and effective therapeutic strategies. New findings showed that the roots of emotional and psychosomatic disorders reach much deeper than postnatal biography, to domains not yet recognized by mainstream theoreticians and clinicians. They also revealed healing mechanisms that become available in these deep domains of the psyche. As a result, effective therapy requires methods and strategies that make it possible to reach unconscious material on these deep levels.

In this class, we will explore the vastly expanded cartography of the human psyche that has emerged from psychedelic research and from powerful experiential therapies without the use of medicines. In addition to the biographical level of the psyche, the new map has two transbiographical realms: the perinatal domain, related to the trauma of biological birth, and the transpersonal domain, which accounts for such phenomena as experiential identification with other people, animals, and plants; visions of archetypal beings and mythological realms; and ancestral, cultural, and karmic experiences. Perinatal and transpersonal phenomena have been described throughout the ages in religious, mystical, and occult literature. Knowledge of these realms, as yet unrecognized and unacknowledged by mainstream academicians and clinicians, is essential for therapists using psychedelics and other powerful experiential techniques, as well as for their clients.

Stanislav Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist with more than 50 years of experience in researching non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic substances and various non-pharmacological methods. He is professor emeritus at CIIS, conducts professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association. Dr. Grof has received the prestigious Vision 97 award from the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation in Prague and the Thomas R. Verny Award for his pivotal contributions to pre- and perinatal psychology. He has published more than 150 papers in professional journals and the books Realms of the Human Unconscious, Beyond the Brain, LSD Psychotherapy, The Cosmic Game, Psychology of the Future, When the Impossible Happens, The Ultimate Journey, Healing Our Deepest Wounds, Spiritual Emergency, The Stormy Search for the Self, and Holotropic Breathwork (the last three with Christina Grof).

The Neuropharmacology of Classic Psychedelics
This module will take the students through a fairly comprehensive review of the biochemistry and physiology of psychedelics, up to and including potential therapeutic uses. Significant time will be devoted to understanding the nature of the brain receptors that are targets for psychedelics, and their molecular features, and also how psychedelics lead to intracellular signaling events. The module will be interactive, with lots of time for questions and answers. We shall discuss definitions and examine molecular structures of various psychedelics. Consideration will be given to qualitative and quantitative effects of various psychedelics. Preclinical models used to study psychedelics will also be described, and their strengths and weaknesses discussed. MDMA will also be given consideration, and how it differs in structure and function from classic psychedelics, and why that led to the proposal for a new pharmacological class for MDMA and related structures as "entactogens." There will be discussion of what is meant by "designer drugs" and "research chemicals" and the risks involved in recreational use of these materials.

David E. Nichols, PhD is Adjunct Professor of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC, Chapel Hill. Previously he held the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology and was a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. He also was Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1969, and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1973, followed by postdoctoral work in pharmacology, also at Iowa. He joined Purdue as an Assistant Professor in 1974 where he remained until his retirement in June 2012. He has published more than 300 scientific articles, is recognized as a leading authority on psychedelics, and is the founding president of the Heffter Research Institute.

Ayahuasca Research: Integrating Scientific and Spiritual Perspectives
This talk will discuss the Amazonian psychoactive brew ayahuasca that can induce shamanic journey experiences, similar to the transformative experiences widely reported in many cultures throughout history. These experiences are said to facilitate psychological and physical healing, creativity, and spiritual development. A model is proposed to integrate findings from neuroscience, dreaming, psychotherapy, and spiritual development. The model's three main sequential stages are form dismantling and healing processes, form creation processes, and form expression processes. These stages are supported by our findings that ayahuasca sessions initially focus on the letting go of habitual ways of struggling with unresolved life concerns, followed by exploratory creative experiences, leading to the integration and expression of these experiences. Ayahuasca was found to change global EEG alpha, beta and gamma frequency coherence patterns across the cortex. Ayahuasca's reported benefits may work by facilitating a normal although rare state of consciousness involving widespread neural networks combining both deliberative thought and spontaneous thought processes within a unified field of consciousness where highly complex and creative cognition emerges spontaneously. The model's limitations will be discussed. Our current research exploring how EEG, personality, gender, and cultural context may be related to different arcs of transformation will be described.

Frank Echenhofer, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and a CIIS professor of Clinical Psychology.
Dr. Echenhofer conducted the first EEG meditation research study with the Dalai Lama's guidance at his monastery in India. Currently, he is the chair of CIIS's Kranzke Scholarship faculty committee that awards $5,000 scholarships to students doing psychedelic research and has chaired eight CIIS dissertations exploring different dimensions of psychedelic experience. Since 2000 he has conducted research in Peru and Brazil exploring the different ways that ayahuasca facilitates healing, creativity, and spiritual development. This research has also found indications that different kinds of EEG changes after ayahuasca ingestion often correspond to different kinds of ayahuasca experiences. His current ayahuasca research explores in more detail how EEG, personality, gender, and cultural context may be related to different arcs of transformation.

Therapist Competencies for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy
Therapist competencies can be sifted from the dispersed psychedelic literature of the past 6 decades. There are six therapist competencies from the extant literature: empathetic abiding presence; trust enhancement; spiritual intelligence; knowledge of the physical and psychological effects of psychedelics; therapist self-awareness and ethical integrity; and proficiency in complementary techniques. A delineation of the 12 fundamental domains of study for the training and development of these therapist competencies will be discussed. The creation of professional curricula, focused on desired therapist competencies and domains of study, is essential. This development is particularly timely if expanded access and compassionate care programs are approved by the FDA in the near future. There will be a discussion of the contribution of the CIIS certificate curriculum in this regard and the potential pioneering contributions of this second certificate program cohort.

Janis Phelps, PhD, is the founder and Director of the Certificate for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research. She is former Dean of Faculty for the CIIS School of Humanities and Social Sciences, a clinical psychologist and a marriage and family therapist. With 29 years of experience as teaching in university graduate psychology departments, she is a professor in the CIIS East-West Psychology graduate program, which was founded by Zen scholar and philosopher Alan Watts. For more than 25 years, Janis has been researching the global uses and practices of psychedelics in promoting healing and community development, deepening spiritual practices, and igniting mystical experiences. Her theoretical orientations include transpersonal and wellness therapy models; Buddhism and Eastern disciplines; phenomenology and existential philosophies. Her research and scholarly writing has focused on psychedelic therapy, entheogens, and mind-body wellness. She teaches graduate courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods, mindfulness, Buddhism and psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and principles of healing. She serves on the board of the Holos Institute and maintains a private practice in Mill Valley. Her expertise puts her in an excellent position to create and nurture this innovative and timely certificate program.

Sunday, May 7
Evolving Paradigms for Psychedelics in Psychotherapy and Divination
In contemporary research on consciousness, the paradigm of "altered" or "non-ordinary" states are used to describe the effects of psychoactive or psychedelic drugs. Clarity and agreement concerning the set (intention or purpose), a safe, supportive setting, and guidance for integration/application are the crucial elements for therapeutic and insightful experiences. In indigenous shamanic cultures, the paradigm of the "journey" has a similar threefold structure: clarifying the intention or question, the guided altered state journey itself, and return and integration into the matrix of family and culture. The two most widespread methods for moving into the altered state journey are either plants/fungi/drugs or rhythmic drumming. The concept and practice of divination implies that the individual him or herself chooses the purpose and focus thorough intuition and/or meditation with the higher self or core being. During the altered state or shamanic journey one may, with intention and preparation, receive insight for healing and guidance on life issues and questions. The most significant difference in the worldview of shamanic healers from the modern worldview is in the recognition of non-material levels of reality and non-material beings, with whom we can be intentionally and healthfully connected. We will review and practice the essential elements of divination, whether ordinary or amplified.

Ralph Metzner, PhD, is a recognized pioneer in psychological, philosophical, and cross-cultural studies of consciousness and its transformations. He collaborated with Leary and Alpert in classic studies of psychedelics at Harvard University in the 1960s, co-authored The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is a psychotherapist and professor emeritus at CIIS, where he was also the Academic Dean for ten years in the 1980s. His books include The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology and most recently (2017) Ecology of Consciousness. He is the editor of two collections of essays on the pharmacology, anthropology, and phenomenology of ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms. He is also the president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation, dedicated to healing and harmonizing the relations between humanity and the Earth. His website is

Commercial Health Insurance and Access to Care: Paving the Way for Partnership
This class will explore key opportunities and concepts related to coverage of psychedelic therapy by commercial health plans in the near future. Foundational knowledge about the ways in which health insurance carriers impact the delivery of heath care services and process by which new treatments may become covered by benefit plans will be discussed. By understanding the needs, motivations, and challenges that insurance carriers face in implementing new treatments, champions of emerging health care technologies may be able to support terms of coverage that promote access to safe, effective, and affordable treatment for a wide swath of the American population. The focus of this talk is to invite future leaders in the field of psychedelic therapy to consider the significance and opportunities of effective preparation and partnership with the insurance industry to both patient care and the viability of the profession itself.

Lia Mix, MS, MFT, holds a master's degree in counseling with a concentration in multicultural populations. Ms. Mix has worked in multiple behavioral health settings: foster care services, dual diagnosis outpatient care, workplace crisis response, and corporate consulting. She helped create industry-leading counseling and case management programs and has supported insurance benefit administration and design for newly adopted behavioral health treatments. Ms. Mix has provided consultation for key decision makers within a wide range of corporate, nonprofit, and governmental organizations and brokerage firms. Her current focus is autism spectrum disorders.

A Community Ecopsychology Approach to Intentions & Integration
Our current time brings forth fear about the future for many while it also calls for collective and creative change. Tools that help people face fear and find themselves, like psychedelic practices, may be extremely useful as we face these challenges. Using a group integration container rooted in the ecopsychology practices of Joanna Macy and The Work That Reconnects, we see other ways to work beyond traditional individual-centered psychotherapy. Ground in the wonder of being alive on earth, in shared grief and aliveness, and in forms of intimacy with the future as a way to deepen your own passions and commitment to all life. Finally, by looking at larger cultural potentials of psychedelic work like this, we nourish the seeds of the future.

Hank Obermayer, PhDc, is a spiritual counselor and group process facilitator working on the relationship with self, with community, and with the planet. He helps individuals with the integration process for vision quests, psychedelic ritual, meditation retreats, and similar work using an emphasis on mindfulness and the body. With groups, Hank focuses on ecological despair and empowerment, mixing in his theater, group process, and counseling background. Hank is trained in Hakomi and is currently a PhD student at CIIS in East-West Psychology. He also has over 25 years of leadership related to ecovillages, intentional communities, and housing cooperatives, including founding Mariposa Grove, his home. Through his family, he is also deeply involved in German-Jewish healing work.

Sunday to Saturday, June 4 - 10, 2017 Training Retreat with Michael and Annie Mithoefer

This retreat is an intensive introduction to the therapeutic approach used in clinical trials sponsored by MAPS and described in the Manual for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (available at We will begin with a brief review of the history of MDMA research, the results of completed clinical trials, the design of ongoing and planned research protocols, and the therapeutic principles set out in the Manual. After that introduction, the course will be centered around watching video from MDMA research sessions, pausing frequently for group discussion. Videos will include preparatory sessions, MDMA-assisted sessions, and integrative sessions, illustrating challenges that may arise and emphasizing the importance of preparation and integration, as well as set and setting. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and to share their ideas about the nature of the therapeutic process and their personal reactions to watching the videos, some of which are emotionally intense. Time will be taken for self-care and group support. The retreat will take place at the Marconi Conference Center, 90 minutes north of San Francisco on Tomales Bay. Ride shares will be arranged for all out-of-town trainees.

Michael Mithoefer, MD, is a psychiatrist who specializes in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy including Holotropic Breathwork and Internal Family Systems therapy. He and his wife, Annie Mithoefer, conduct MAPS-sponsored research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. In 2008, they completed the first clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with treatment-resistant PTSD and are now conducting a similar study of military veterans, firefighters, and police officers with PTSD, as well as an FDA-approved study administering MDMA in a therapeutic setting to psychotherapists who have been trained to work in MDMA clinical trials. Michael is Medical Monitor for other MAPS-sponsored MDMA studies, and he and Annie conduct training for therapists who work in those trials. He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioner, a certified Internal Family Systems therapist, and is board certified in psychiatry, emergency medicine, and internal medicine. Michael is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Annie Mithoefer, BSN, is a psychiatric nurse and Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioner who is also trained in Hakomi Therapy. She and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, have practiced in Charleston, South Carolina for 20 years using experiential methods of psychotherapy and self-exploration, including Holotropic Breathwork. They now focus on clinical research with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. They are co-therapists for MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, and they conduct training programs for other MAPS-sponsored researchers.

Friday,  Saturday, and Sunday, September 15-17 Retreat

Friday, September 15
Holistic Support for the Voyage: Journeyers, Guides, and Beyond
Psychedelic therapy offers a unique and powerful vehicle for the exploration of consciousness, and while many experiences generate insight and healing, some can be quite challenging to the physical body, as well as have profound impact in the mental, emotional, spiritual, and other realms. The beneficial potential of these experiences may be optimized with intentional attention to parameters such as set and setting, quality and dosage of chosen medicine, working with an experienced guide, proper preparation, integration, and support from natural medicine and holistic healthcare practices. The holistic paradigm assumes the integration of body, mind and spirit, and seeks to encourage balance between all aspects of one's being. Holistic support through nutrition, supplements, herbs, sound healing and more, can help to optimize the psychedelic experience for journeyers, guides and beyond.

Natalie Metz, ND, is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, herbalist, and core faculty member in the Integrative Health Studies department at CIIS. She has a private practice in Oakland where she focuses on digestive and hormonal wellness with the support of plant medicine, homeopathy, and diet and lifestyle counseling. She is a lifelong student of dance, a lover of art, travel, and all things purple, and enjoys sharing her passion for life with the world. Please visit

CIIS and the Re-Emergence of Psychedelics
Bob's presentation will offer a view of why CIIS is such a natural home for CPTR, and acknowledge some of the leaders who have made it so. This talk will offer a framework for discussing the various kinds of psychedelics and their quite varied uses. While enthusiasts often speak these days of a psychedelic "renaissance," Bob is reluctant to use that word just yet. He will share his thoughts on why and on the pitfalls that may obstruct a wholesome re-emergence of psychedelics.

Bob Jesse, is convener of the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP). Through CSP, he was instrumental in forming the psilocybin research team at Johns Hopkins University. As one of the team's co-investigators, Bob co-authored its first paper, "Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance," published in 2006. He now serves on the board of Usona Institute and is an advisor to CIIS. In 2005, he led the writing of an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in a key religious liberty case that was decided 8-0 in favor of the U.S. branch of the Brazilian church, the União do Vegetal. Prior to CSP, Bob applied his training in computer science and electrical engineering at various information technology companies, including AT&T Bell Labs and Oracle Corporation.

Psilocybin-Facilitated Experiences: Love and Connection, Therapeutic Competencies, Preparation, and Integration
We will discuss the role that love and connection play in the psilocybin studies and how they can offer a means to reconnect to our true nature, our authentic self. Also discussed will be the primary therapeutic competencies that are important for guiding psychedelic sessions with emphasis on presence, authenticity and non-directive support. An outline will be presented on the role of preparation for optimal sessions including the logistics of the session day as well as how to prepare for high and low dose psychedelic sessions. Of special focus will be safety issues and support skills focusing on set and setting of sessions: an examination of safety, agreements, intentions and comfort, as well as the role of touch and nonverbal expression. Finally, we will address integration practices and goals by exploring the steps, purposes, and optimal outcomes of integration. Experiential learning and practice via role play will to be used to incorporate the information and techniques discussed.

Mary Cosimano, MSW, is currently with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Ms. Cosimano has served as study guide and research coordinator for psilocybin studies for over 16 years. During that time, she has been a lead session guide for six psilocybin studies and has conducted over 400 sessions. She has trained postdoctoral fellows, clinicians, and research assistants as assistant guides. She has administered the psychological evaluations for psilocybin studies as well as many other studies in the Behavioral Biology Research Unit. Ms. Cosimano has 15 years of experience with direct patient care as a hospice volunteer. In addition to her work with the psilocybin studies, she has been involved in the salvia divinorum, dextromethorphan, and club drug studies conducted at Johns Hopkins.

The Role of Grof Holotropic Breathwork in the Training of Future Psychedelic Therapists
This weekend workshop is an introduction to Holotropic Breathwork, a powerful method of self-exploration, personal transformation, and healing developed by Dr. Stan Grof and Christina Grof, leading pioneers in the field of transpersonal psychology. A highly experiential method, Holotropic Breathwork combines enhanced breathing, evocative music, focused bodywork, art, and group sharing to access and support the intrinsic wisdom of the body/psyche/spirit. By activating the unconscious and mobilizing blocked energies, Holotropic Breathwork mediates access to all levels of human experience including unfinished issues from our postnatal biography, traumatic physical or emotional events, perinatal memories, and a variety of transpersonal experiences. Holotropic Breathwork will clearly demonstrate the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. It will be of great value to practitioners training to assist in the emerging field of psychedelic therapy and research. Offering a hands-on experience that is both personal and professional, we recognize the time-honored truth that there is no better preparation for serving others than work on oneself.

Diane Haug, MA, LPCC, is a licensed therapist and a senior member of the Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT) staff. Her background includes a decade of working with adults and children dealing with life-threatening illness. Over the last 25 years, she has been deeply involved with transpersonal psychology and the international breathwork community, leading Grof training events in Scandinavia, Russia, Ukraine, South America, and Europe. Diane has taught GTT training modules including The Practice of Holotropic Breathwork; The Language of the Soul: The Art and Practice of Integration; Shamanism: An Exploration of Traditional Wisdom; Living with Dying; and The Psychedelic Experience: Promises and Perils. Diane is an adjunct faculty member with both the CIIS Center for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research (San Francisco, CA) and Southwestern College (Santa Fe, New Mexico). In March / April 2017 Diane helped staff the MAPS MDMA-Assisted PTSD Therapy Training Programs. Diane will be presenting a talk, The Role of Grof Holotropic Breathwork in the Training of Future Psychedelic Therapists, at the International Transpersonal Conference in Prague (September 2017). She maintains a private practice that includes both individual and group work.

Saturday, September 17
OPTIONAL: Nature as Mirror: An Integrative Process of Eco-Therapy
The outer landscape can often provide an accurate reflection of the inner landscape and offers a beautiful process for integrating deep psychological experiences. This brief workshop will offer an experience of eco-therapy with a structured process for being in nature. Jan will share some practices that she utilizes to enhance a nature-based reflective process.

Jan Edl Stein, MFT is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 30 years in San Francisco and Marin and also the clinical director of Holos Institute, a counseling center grounded in principles of eco-psychology. Her theoretical orientation is in depth psychology, ecopsychology, and shamanism. She is interested in the integration of shamanic practices in clinical practice and the development of an eco psychological framework that supports eco-resiliency and environmental awareness. Jan leads workshops and retreats that interweave meditation, active imagining, shamanic journeying, and nature based experiences. More information about Jan may be found at

Friday, October 13
The Medicinal and Ecological Imperative of Psychedelics
Allan Badiner will present on the imperative of studying the role that psychedelics can play in healing mind, body, and spirit along with our pathological relationship with the natural systems of the Earth. Ibogaine clinics are helping addicts wean off drugs. Cannabis is being used to treat epilepsy and cancer. Ayahuasca is transforming lives and giving rise to greater ecological awareness. It's a new era for therapeutic research and clinical applications of the ancient "plant teachers" as well as laboratory innovations they have inspired. Bringing the ethical system of Buddhism to bear on psychedelics and their potential to alleviate suffering, the exploration of these sacraments becomes essential. All of us are part of a social, spiritual, ecological, and scientific revolution, and the impact on human society will be profound.

Allan Badiner is a contributing editor at Tricycle magazine, and the editor of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics. He also edited the books Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology and Mindfulness in the Marketplace and his written work appears in other books including Dharma Family Treasures, Meeting the Buddha, Ecological Responsibility: A Dialogue with Buddhism, and The Buddha and the Terrorist. Allan holds a master's degree from the College of Buddhist Studies in Los Angeles and serves on the boards of Rainforest Action Network and Project CBD. For two years, Allan taught classes at CIIS on Buddhism and modern problems. He is currently working on a book about dietary cannabinoids.

Pharmacology: Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions
The pharmacology sequence is an introduction to drug metabolism and drug-drug interactions, with an emphasis on psychedelic drugs. The presentation will explain the role of the liver and other organs and their associated enzymes in the disposition of psychedelic drugs after they are ingested. Following this, drug-drug and drug-food interactions, and their potential effects on drug response and drug toxicity, will be discussed. Together, these topics provide a basis for understanding some adverse drug reactions and precautions for administering drugs to certain populations. These understandings are essential for professionals in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Nicholas V. Cozzi, PhD, is a scientist and educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. His background and training is in pharmacology, chemistry, and neuroscience. Dr. Cozzi's research involves the design, chemical synthesis, and pharmacological testing of substances with central nervous system activity, especially those with psychedelic, antidepressant, or psychostimulant effects. He is interested in how these agents act in the brain to improve mood, enhance cognition, and increase awareness, and in their clinical value in treating addiction, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic fear, and other mental health ailments. Dr. Cozzi is internationally recognized for his work in these areas.

As an educator, Dr. Cozzi teaches medical pharmacology at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the UW School of Pharmacy and he is a frequent guest lecturer at other academic institutions around the United States. Dr. Cozzi has received several teaching and research awards, including a Distinguished Basic Science Teaching Award from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a prestigious NARSAD Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation for his studies involving the serotonin uptake transporter. Dr. Cozzi is also a Research Scientist at the Usona Institute and a consultant for legal, industrial, and government clients.

OPTIONAL: Process Group for Exploring Intuition and the Unconscious
As potential guides for those in alternative states of consciousness, we cannot rely solely on words and conscious communication. Beyond words and introspection, groups can cast light to reveal both our wisdom and our shadow to see more fully ourselves and each other. This group may explore participants' own relationships with the non-symbolic space, with a goal of strengthening one's ability to discern between intuition, their own unconscious, the transpersonal or collective unconscious, energetic fields, relational fields, and the myriad of other ways of knowing that coexist with our more linear, logical, affective, and linguistic awarenesses. In addition, this group will explore how each participant "holds space" in relation to each other, their affinities for social and archetypal roles, and their influence on the co-construction of each other's subjective perspective and meaning making.

Michelle Wang, PsyD, is an emotional intelligence coach based in San Francisco. She has deep interest in healing through non-ordinary states of reality -- specifically, psychedelic-assisted therapy and virtual reality (VR)-assisted therapy. Michelle started her career specializing in PTSD, receiving training in state-of-the-art clinical settings including medical centers, VA hospitals, and centers for survivors of torture. In 2013, Michelle began to specialize in relationships, an area she had longstanding interest in ever since her undergraduate years working with premier psychologists on models of adult attachment. In late 2015, Michelle founded Emotional Intelligence Coaching in addition to Momentary, a quarterly dining-in-the-dark experience where darkness is used as a tool to illuminate our inner landscape. Michelle has advanced training in attachment theory, somatic psychotherapy, mindfulness and meditation, Emotionally Focused Therapy, relational and interpersonal frameworks, psychedelic-assisted therapies, and Time-Limited Psychodynamic Therapy.

Alex Cardenas, MD, MA,is currently a psychiatrist at Traditions Behavioral Health and was part of the first CPTR cohort at CIIS. He graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Psychology and he went on to earn a Master's Degree in Education Policy and Organizational Theory as well as a Medical Doctorate from Stanford University with a focus on Community Health and School Mental Health. Academic Interests have included Cognitive Remediation approaches with Schizophrenia, Fostering Resiliency/Mastery, as well as Social and Emotional Curriculum Development and Implementation. Alex's practice draws from Contemporary Psychodynamic and Relational lineages in addition to biological paradigms. His interest in psychedelic assisted modalities focus on the development of clinical skills and standards of care.

Saturday, October 14
2016 Certificate Graduate Panel: Current Work in the Field
We will be joined by several graduates from the first cohort of the CPTR certificate program, who will share their experiences working with MAPS, Heffter, and Usona, and/or including integration work in their private practice.
~ Meghan Kennedy, Dr. Alia Lilienstein, Paul Rammer and Dr. Anne St. Goar

Implementation of the Compassionate Use Act in a Family Medical Practice: 20 Years' Clinical Experience
Cannabis is distinguished among illegal drugs for its political symbolism, its safety, and its widespread use. Since the imposition in 1937 of laws inspired by the film Reefer Madness, cannabis has been a source of controversy and a symbol of misunderstanding. The First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (1972), found that cannabis was a convenient symbol of powerful social conflict between disaffection with traditional social values and the determination to preserve them intact. The passage of the California Compassionate Use Act in 1996 brought the federal government into conflict with the first state-level cannabis ballot initiative. A group of California physicians and cannabis activists filed suit against Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, Attorney General Janet Reno, and Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, arguing that the threats of prosecution against physicians for talking to their patients violated their First Amendment rights and interfered with their ability as physicians to use "their best medical judgment in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship." In 2002, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Conant v. Walters that physicians have a First Amendment right to discuss and recommend cannabis for their patients. This talk will present some of the difficulties faced by those who were active in recommending and approving cannabis in the early years of implementation, and will offer insights into the experience of being on the leading edge of a novel and controversial program of therapy. The evolution of practice strategies and standards over two decades of a changing social and political matrix will be discussed, and perspectives on the evolution of the cannabis industry will be presented.

Mariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP has written extensively on the impact of psychedelic experiences in shaping the lives of her contemporaries, and has worked closely with many of the most distinguished investigators in this field. She is a founder of the Women's Visionary Council, a nonprofit organization that supports investigations into non-ordinary forms of consciousness and organizes gatherings of researchers, healers, artists, and activists whose work explores these states. Her long history with the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic includes having been a barefoot patient, a lead clinician in the medical section, and the chair of the Board of Directors - all in the same lifetime. She has been a Family Nurse Midwife for 35 years, and has been in primary care practice with Frank Lucido, MD, one of the pioneers of the medical cannabis movement, for 24 years. Their practice was one of the first to implement the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the first state medical cannabis initiative. Her current project is the development of a thanatology program for the study of death and dying.

Designing and Implementing a Clinical Development Program for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
This course covers the clinical research process within the regulatory environment that applies to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. We will cover insights on MAPS process of completing a Phase 2 program and what it means to go the end of Phase 2 with the FDA. Topics include a review of applicable regulations and guidelines, completed and planned clinical trials, and how to transition from small Phase 1 or 2 clinical trials to Phase 3. Considerations of conducting multi-site studies, confirmatory trials, compliance with multiple regulatory agencies in parallel, and pursuing FDA approval of medication-assisted therapy will be discussed. We will also touch on what happens in parallel with and after Phase 3: Expanded Access, pilot Phase 2s in other indications, Phase 4, and REMS. Insights from real experiences with FDA Division of Psychiatry Products will be reviewed.

Amy Emerson earned her BS in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University in 1992. Prior to her work at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) she worked in clinical development and research beginning in 1993. Amy's previous experience is in the fields of immunology (Applied Immune Sciences), oncology (RPR), and vaccine development (Chiron and Novartis). Amy worked with MAPS as a volunteer starting in 2003 facilitating the development of the MDMA clinical program. In 2009, she began managing the Clinical Research group at MAPS. She is currently the Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research of MPBC.

Berra Yazar-Klosinski, PhD, earned her doctorate in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010. She utilizes her scientific training and experience in for-profit pharmaceutical research to support MAPS' work to develop, design, and implement clinical psychedelic research in the U.S and beyond. She earned her B.S. in Biological Science from Stanford University in 2001, with an emphasis on the neurobiology of drugs. Prior to entering graduate school, Berra worked as a research associate with Geron Corporation screening for drugs that activate telomerase, and with Millennium Pharmaceuticals on Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Berra joined MAPS in 2009 in order to work with an organization where profit would not dictate the agenda of scientific research. Since then, she has been actively involved in the ongoing Phase 2 clinical development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with an eye towards Phase 3 clinical trials.

Coming Down from the Psychedelic Power Trip
The time is ripe to take a break from theory and skills training to address the rainbow-colored, iridescent, paisley elephant in the room. Psychedelics have a dark side that can hold an irresistible allure for individuals and groups who are challenged with managing Power. This talk originated at the Palenque Norte lecture series at Burning Man in its first raw and dusty iteration. After undergoing some refinements for the classroom, the first hour will focus on how to identify and respond to problematic behaviors and trends with an emphasis on both Big Picture community concerns as well as more micro-level interpersonal and clinical considerations related to Power. As the psychedelic renaissance transitions out of the honeymoon phase, our healing communities will need to collaborate around best practices for mitigating the risks of the seductive shadow side of our work in the service of health, healing, and wholeness.

In the second hour, Dr. Danforth will share pragmatic, nuts-and-bolts content about the experience of working on research with psilocybin and MDMA, including both clinical and non-clinical insights. Topics will range from practical tips for decorating treatment rooms to interacting with media. Come prepared with your questions about what it's really like to work in legal harm-reduction and research settings.

Alicia Danforth, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Los Gatos, California. Since 2006, she has worked in clinical research at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on clinical studies for adults with anxiety related to advanced-stage cancer and with autistic adults who experience social anxiety. She is currently a lead clinician and supervisor for a clinical trial at UCSF for psychological distress in long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. She attended the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where she co-developed and taught the first graduate-level course on psychedelic theory, research, and clinical considerations for therapists and researchers in training.

Psychedelics and Neurodiversity: Great Minds Don't Always Trip Alike
Award-winning author Steve Silberman has advanced the global dialogue about autism by promoting the simple truth that "great minds don't always think alike." His 2015 international bestseller Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity broke new ground by including the voices and experiences of autistic adults in its comprehensive history of autism and the autism rights movement. At the same time, the first MDMA-assisted therapy study for autistic adults who experience social anxiety was hitting its stride, and the inclusive approach of Silberman's book aided the investigators in building effective therapeutic rapport with the study participants. Psychologist and researcher Alicia Danforth will share insights on how working with diverse populations and neurodivergent individuals in clinical research has challenged best practice standards for set and setting in psychedelic research, while Silberman will discuss how including the perspective of autistic adults was crucial for his historical research.

Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, Shambhala Sun, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, which Oliver Sacks called a "sweeping and penetrating history...presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity." The book became a widely-praised bestseller in the United States and the United Kingdom, and won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for nonfiction, a California Book Award, and a Books for a Better Life award. Please see above for Dr. Danforth's bio.

Sunday, October 15
Navigating the Path to Patient Access and Benefit
This session will provide background on medicines regulation in the U.S. and Europe. These processes are the only way that legal use of psychedelic-assisted therapies will reach patients and be reimbursed by government and insurance companies. We will then discuss a case study of COMPASS's regulatory strategy, clinical trial protocol, and stakeholder engagement process as the basis for securing regulatory approval for psilocybin-assisted therapy. We will conclude with a Q&A session to address issues of interest and concern for participants.

George Goldsmith, MA, holds a bachelor's degree in cognitive psychology from the University of Rochester, and a master's degree in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut. He has founded several technology companies - including The Human Interface Group, TomorrowLab, and Tapestry Networks - and served as a senior advisor to McKinsey & Company before founding COMPASS, a multi-tiered medical research foundation. COMPASS leads mental health policy dialogues; funds new treatment research protocols, including research on the clinical applications of empathogens and entheogens; and forms strategic partnerships to bring research findings into clinical, regulatory, and legislative settings.

The Potential Role of Entheogens in the Second Half of Life
The use of psychedelics to amplify psychotherapy, healing, and divination extends throughout the life cycle. In the first half of life, experiences and healing issues cluster around parental and ancestral patterns, complexes of prenatal and perinatal factors, and the development of self concepts in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Psychotherapy amplified by empathogens such as MDMA has a recognized role in supporting the resolution of core developmental issues and in dealing with trauma and PTSD. Around the middle of the life cycle, in the early 40s, there is a gradual inward turning, as adults may become parents and increasingly confront issues of meaning, spiritual development, and the problems of the greater world. "In the middle of my life I found myself in a dark wood and I did not know which way to go," said Dante's pilgrim at the opening of his epic Divine Comedy. For the issues of the second half of life, including aging, loss of meaning, loneliness, and preparation for dying, psychotherapy supported with entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and 5-meo-DMT (once it becomes legal) are preferable and have shown significant promise. With a supportive set and setting they offer unparalleled opportunity to practice suspending attachments to the physical world and expanding awareness to the transcendental realms beyond.

Ralph Metzner, PhD, is a recognized pioneer in psychological, philosophical, and cross-cultural studies of consciousness and its transformations. He collaborated with Leary and Alpert in classic studies of psychedelics at Harvard University in the 1960s, co-authored The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is a psychotherapist and professor emeritus at CIIS, where he was also the Academic Dean for ten years in the 1980s. His books include The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology, and most recently, Ecology of Consciousness. He is the editor of two collections of essays on the pharmacology, anthropology, and phenomenology of ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms. He is also the president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation, dedicated to healing and harmonizing the relations between humanity and the Earth. His website is

Gifts, Gears, and Sharks: A Group Visioning Exercise
For this session, we will engage in an interactive group activity borrowed from the innovative dot-com boom before "thinking outside the box" became a cliché. This exercise was a favorite at kickoff meetings with multidisciplinary teams embarking on mega projects as a way to build team cohesion, to stay on track to fulfill the mission, and to avoid pitfalls by planning ahead.

Please see above for Dr. Danforth's bio.

OPTIONAL: Finding Your Place in Community: Healing Our Connection to Ourselves and to the Future
Tools that build intimacy with one another, with the past, and with the future can help develop a sense of meaning or purpose. As psychedelic research progresses, collective approaches to health and healing become an area ripe for exploration. Similarly, as social concerns become more planetary in nature, the concerns of individuals may become more connected to global issues. Practices that can be applied to this exist already, like those of the Work That Reconnects, pioneered by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy. In May, many of us began exploring the impact of these kinds of group processes and their role in intentions, healing and purpose. Continuing with similar practices, we will again experience the wonder of being alive on earth, drop into our collective longings, and sow seeds for the future.

Hank Obermayer is a spiritual counselor and group process facilitator working on the relationship with self, with community, and with the planet. He helps individuals with the integration process for vision quests, psychedelic ritual, meditation retreats, and similar work using an emphasis on mindfulness and the body. With groups, Hank focuses on ecological despair and empowerment, mixing in his theater, group process, and counseling background. Hank is trained in Hakomi, and is currently a PhD student at CIIS in East-West Psychology. He also has over 25 years of leadership related to ecovillages, intentional communities, and housing cooperatives, including founding Mariposa Grove, his home. Through his family he is also deeply involved in Germany.


Need to Contact Us?

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

Dr. Cathy Coleman
CPTR Admissions Manager
Phone: (415) 575-6243

Rachel Valenzuela-Ours
CPTR Program Manager
Phone: (415) 575-6215

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