The 150 Hour Certificate Curricular Modules of Study

Each of these modules will be woven throughout the training program. Please review the rich details below for each module. For more information about the certificate program, click here.

Research Foundations (15 Hours)

Renaissance in Research: Psychedelic-Assisted & Entactogen-Assisted Therapy
  • Definitions of entactogens, psychedelics, hallucinogens, entheogens & empathogens
  • Confluence of psychedelic exploration, Eastern & Western spirituality during the 1950s & 1960s
  • Re-emergence of research in mid-80s & resurgence in 1990s
  • Brief history of psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ibogaine, ketamine & ayahuasca research
  • Contemporary Clinical Research on Classic Psychedelics, MDMA and Ketamine
  • Research on enhancement of creativity, meaning in life, and spiritual & mystical experiences
Pharmacology & Neuroscience 
  • Neuroscience, brain structures & brain imagery
  • Basic science of pharmacology & behavioral pharmacology
    • Types of drug interactions and precautions for drug use in certain populations
    • Group and individual: Dosage, dosing strategies and considerations
  • Cell biology and biochemistry, as related to these medicines
    • Neuropharmacology of psilocybin and MDMA, including drug receptor interactions and dose-response curves
Legal Issues and Regulatory Processes
  • Brief history of the scheduling of these medicines
  • Legal status of psychedelics & entactogens
  • Regulatory processes: FDA, DEA & State Research Advisory Panels
  • Institutional Review Board role for clinical research
Access and Equity in Psychedelic Healthcare and Research for Diverse Populations and Under Resourced Communities
  • Holistic and integrated standards of care and research for the benefit of diverse communities
  • Recognition of varying incidence of illness and access to treatment for culturally and ethnically diverse populations
  • Health and illness correlates of structural barriers in social, political, and economic systems
  • Policies and practices to eliminate disparities in medical treatment, especially psychedelic-assisted therapy

Practices for Transformation of Consciousness (15 Hours)

Sacraments, Indigenous Wisdom Traditions, & Mystical Experiences
  • Traditions for expansion of consciousness: meditation, yoga, dance, ceremony & ritual, fasting, solo wilderness journeys, etc.
  • Overview of indigenous uses of ayahuasca, ibogaine, peyote, San Pedro, salvia divinorum, mushrooms & other healing plants
  • Cross-cultural ceremonial use of psychedelics & plant medicines
  • Sacraments, spiritual usage & mystical experiences
  • Religious studies, entactogens & psychedelics
  • Ego strength, ego transcendence & transformational processes
Psychedelics & Entactogens: Community, Spirituality & Wellness
  • Reparation, harm reduction & benefit enhancement: socio-cultural controversies, education & religion
  • Ecopsychology & plant medicine: traditional uses for individual & planetary health
  • Quality of life enhancement: vibrant, diverse communities & the betterment of well people
  • Complementary medicine issues: nutrition & integrative approaches

The Facilitator: Core, Cultural and Ethical Competencies (25 Hours)

Core Competencies & Healing Presence of Facilitator    
  • Primary therapeutic competencies for this work
  • Presence, empathy, cultural humility & non-directive support
  • Clergy, Chaplaincy & spiritual guidance insights
  • Methods & insights from psycholytic treatments
  • Psychedelic therapeutic methods vs. traditional verbal or somatic therapies
  • Skills of an effective co-therapist guide; on-site clinical research training strategies
Cultural Competency, Cultural Humility, and Structural Competency
  • Importance of self-evaluation, humility, and understanding of racial and cultural biases
  • Expanded and accurate awareness of beliefs, values, and practices of diverse populations
  • Competence in lifelong curiosity about impact of cultural differences on healthcare treatment
  • Identify and address privilege and structural racism in healthcare and psychedelic medicine
  • Engaged partnerships within communities
  • Intergenerational Trauma
Ethics, Safety Issues and Support Skills
  • Ethics guidelines for therapists
  • I-Thou relationship with research volunteers & co-therapists
  • Creation & maintenance of healthy boundaries
  • Risk and protective factors, particularly in working effectively within diverse communities
  • Contraindications for being a therapist guide & researcher
  •  Role of touch & non-verbal expression
  • Handling of music & sound healing in sessions
  • Financial conflicts of interest
  • Accurate record keeping and client confidentiality

    Therapeutic Processes (20 Hours)

    Meaning Making: Preparation
    • Role of preparation for optimal sessions: group, couples, and individual
    • Medical and psychological pre-assessments & contraindications
      • This includes training on client initial information form
      • Review of drug interactions and medical and psychological contraindications for specific populations
      • Best practices in conducting a multifaceted intake interview, including the client motivation for seeking psilocybin or MDMA services
    • Traditions of preparation: journaling, fasting, body work, & intention setting
    • Therapeutic skills for the preparation process
    • How personalities and cultural biases of the therapist guide & participant impact the process
    Psychedelic Session
    • Safe set and setting for groups, couples and individuals
      • Essential, evidence-based safety considerations
    • Interventions for distress & adverse effects of MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, etc.
    • Set and setting of sessions: agreements, intentions & comfort
    • Identifying acute distress: challenging processes & adverse effects
    • Medical & psychological emergency response protocols
    Integration: Practices & Goals
    • Integration sessions: purpose & optimal outcomes
      • Discussion of appropriate intervals between administration sessions and related medical and psychological safety concerns
      • Comparing and contrasting research and experiential spacing of drug administration for increasing therapeutic gains with psilocybin and MDMA
    • Steps of integration as practiced by various therapists & researchers
    • Integration skills: nuanced facilitating of the inner healer vs. orchestrating or imposing theoretical models
    • Multicultural traditions for the integration of entactogen & psychedelic transformations
    • Use of plant medicines for staying connected and responsive to the earth
    • Relationship of self & community in mystical & spiritual meaning making

      Experience of Guiding & Being Guided in Expanded States of Consciousness (25 Hours)

      Guided imagery, expressive artwork & self-hypnosis
      Role-play exercises of actual psychedelic therapy sessions
      Drumming & rattling inductions

      Sample Optional Experiences

      • Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy training
      • Solo wilderness experience and/or sweat lodge 
      • Flotation tank or dance improvisation
      • 3-10 day meditation retreat or yoga retreat intensives
      • Hakomi or other somatic-based intensives

      En Vivo & Archival Instruction: Individual and Group (40 Hours)

      Observation and discussion of specific MAPS and Heffter therapy session videos
      • 6-day Fall Retreat Program with experienced MDMA-assisted therapy teachers focused on videos of MDMA-Assisted Therapy
      • Observation and discussion of specific Heffter session videos
      • Group set, setting, and agreements
      • Individual set, setting, and agreements

      Mentoring Program (10 hours)

      Mentor-Trainee Relationship
      • Each trainee will work with a mentor from the program mentor list of clinically oriented or clergy members on the Council of Advisors, certificate teachers and international scholars. These mentors are advanced practitioners in their area of expertise. 
      • The mentor & supervisee will use video conferencing or meet in person for 5-6 hours during the certificate program.
      • This mentoring meeting will occur approximately once per month. Professional development discussions, assessments & confidential integration of learning will occur in supervision.
      • Personal therapy or spiritual guidance is encouraged for integrating the learning during the certificate work. The trainee will be asked to do so, if it is indicated for the trainee's continued personal and professional development.
      • Skill development in cultural competence and humility is centered in these meetings.
      Lifestyle Values: Mentor-Trainee Dialogue
      • Self-care for therapists: transference, secondary trauma & counter-transference
      • Living within opportunities & limits set by protocols and research traditions
      • Commitment to lifelong engagement with diversity, inclusion, and belonging
      • Learning from mistakes & utilizing supervision well
      • Personal journaling during certificate coursework

      Contact Us

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

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

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