Certificate Training Goals:

  • Goal 1: To have a solid skill base for the assessment and development of research design strategies in light of contemporary psychedelic research priorities.
  • Goal 2: To understand the science, historic, and multi-cultural underpinnings behind the potential clinical efficacy of the use of psychedelics for the treatment of medical conditions, as well as for the enhancement of creativity, well-being and for personal development.
  • Goal 3: To attain competence as a clinician in active deconstruction of personal biases and in the development of cultural humility in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and research.
  • Goal 4: To develop specialized clinical knowledge and skills in facilitating people of diverse backgrounds through alternate states of consciousness using appropriate set and setting in a community clinic and/or research environment.
  • Goal 5: To understand the foundational aspects of neuroscience, neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology pertaining to psychedelic medicines.

"Alienation from nature and the loss of the experience of being part of the living creation is the greatest tragedy of our materialistic era. It is the causative reason for ecological devastation and climate change. Therefore I attribute absolute highest importance to consciousness change. I regard psychedelics as catalyzers for this. They are tools which are guiding our perception toward other deeper areas of our human existence, so that we again become aware of our spiritual essence. Psychedelic experiences in a safe setting can help our consciousness open up to this sensation of connection and of being one with nature.  ....  It is my great concern to separate psychedelics from the ongoing debates about drugs, and to highlight the potential inherent to these substances for self-awareness, as an adjunct in therapy, and for fundamental research into the human mind. It is my wish that a modern Eleusis will emerge, in which seeking humans can learn to have transcendent experiences with sacred substances in a safe setting. I am convinced that these soul-opening, mind-revealing substances will find their appropriate place in our society and our culture."       

                         --Albert Hofmann, in a letter from April, 2007 

image of earth with black background

Timely Scaling of the Training for 2023-2024:

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

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

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

Curricular Format:

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

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

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

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

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

For all 2023-2024 in-person classes, the Center will follow CIIS administrative and CDC guidance regarding COVID-19. Currently, the CIIS Vaccine Mandate requires all persons on campus and at conference centers to verify vaccination or request a medical or religious exception. We anticipate CIIS will continue to mandate vaccines in 2023-2024 and applicants to the hybrid cohorts should plan accordingly. See more information about CIIS’ response to COVID-19 here: https://www.ciis.edu/covid19.

Online Format

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

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

See the exact 2023-2024 schedule on our About the Certificate page.

Innovative Curriculum and Learning Environment:

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

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

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

Working with MAPS PBC:

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

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

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

Mentoring and Learning Assessments:

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

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

For more information about the curriculum, see the Curriculum Modules.

blue fractal banner

Contact Us

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

Subscribe to the Center Newsletter

Stay Connected to CIIS