Led by California Institute of Integral Studies Professor Dr. Janis Phelps, the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research welcomes leading researchers and scholars to teach in the certificate program.
The Center for Psychedelic Therapy & Research is led by Professor Janis Phelps, PhD. Dr. Phelps received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut. She has been a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies for the past 21 years. She is the former dean of the School of Consciousness and Transformation at CIIS. She is now the Director of the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research. As the Center's founder, she developed the first academically accredited, professional certificate training program for legal psychedelic-assisted therapy and research. The Center also provides harm reduction workshops, webinars on psychedelic research and public educational programs. A licensed clinical psychologist and LMFT, she has held faculty positions in the East-West Psychology and Clinical Psychology doctoral programs. Her theoretical orientations include transpersonal and wellness therapy models; Buddhism and Eastern disciplines; and phenomenology/existential philosophies. Her research and scholarly writing has focused on psychedelic therapy, entheogens, and mind-body wellness. Dr. Phelps teaches graduate courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods, mindfulness, Buddhism and psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and principles of healing. Janis serves on the board of the Holos Institute and maintains a private practice.
Anthony Bossis, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. He is director of palliative care research, co-principal investigator, and a session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study, an FDA-approved clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a psilocybin-generated mystical experience upon the existential and psycho-spiritual distress in persons with cancer. He is also lead investigator and the primary session guide for the NYU Psilocybin Religious Leaders Study. Dr. Bossis is the co-founder and former Co-Director of the Palliative Care Service and a clinical supervisor of psychotherapy at Bellevue Hospital. 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.
Susana Bustos, PhD, currently teaches research and entheogenic shamanic traditions at CIIS. For more than 15 years, Dr. Bustos has focused her work on indigenous and mestizo healing practices from the Americas and their therapeutic value for the West. She has been a therapist researcher at the Takiwasi Center, which integrates indigenous and Western medicine to treat drug addiction. Dr. Bustos maintains a private practice in Berkeley.
Blu Cohen, PsyD, earned her clinical psychology degree from CIIS. In 2010, she received training from the Mithoefers in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. Since that time, she has been an adherence rater and trainer for the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, viewing approximately 200 hours of MDMA-assisted therapy tapes. Dr. Cohen wrote her dissertation on creating a training manual and measure to capture the efficacious components of the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy model for Phase 3 studies. She is interested in the intersection of person-centered, feminist, and social justice approaches to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as well as research and program development. Dr. Cohen currently sees individual clients and groups in private practice in San Francisco.
Mary Cosimano, MSW, currently works in 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 15 years. During that time, she has been a lead session guide for six studies and has conducted over 350 sessions. She has trained post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, and interns 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.
Nicholas 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. HE 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. His research has also been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Cozzi is a Senior Research Scientist at the Usona Institute and a consultant for legal, industrial, and government clients.
Alicia Danforth, PhD, is a researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Her work as a study coordinator and co-facilitator on Dr. Charles Grob's clinical trial with psilocybin for existential anxiety related to advanced cancer inspired her to become a licensed clinical psychologist. 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. Her dissertation research was on the MDMA (Ecstasy) experiences of adults on the autism spectrum. Since 2004, she has volunteered as a Black Rock Ranger and harm reduction peer counselor at Burning Man and other similar festivals and events. Her area of focus is supporting individuals who are experiencing challenging altered states of consciousness.
Rick Doblin, PhD, is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a 34-year follow-up study to Timothy Leary's Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston.
Donna Dryer, MD, is a transpersonal psychiatrist in private practice on the coast islands of British Columbia and a faculty member in psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. With her husband, Dr. Richard Yensen, she received permission in 1991 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for LSD psychotherapy research protocols with addicts and people dying from cancer. They have been giving an "entheogenically-informed" workshop, The Heart of the Shaman, for 28 years at Hollyhock Retreat Centre on Cortes Island, BC. Dr. Yensen and Dr. Dryer are conducting the MAPS-sponsored study of MDMA for people with treatment-resistant PTSD in Vancouver.
Frank Echenhofer, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and a professor of Clinical Psychology at CIIS. 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 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.
Amy Emerson, BS, earned her bachelor's degree 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.
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.
George Greer, MD, is a psychiatrist who conducted over 100 therapeutic sessions with MDMA for 80 individuals from 1980 to 1985 with his wife, psychiatric nurse Requa Tolbert Greer. Their review of this work remains the largest published study on the therapeutic use of MDMA. Dr. Greer is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. He was also the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the New Mexico Corrections Department during the 1990s. He a co-founder of the Heffter Research Institute and has been the organization's medical director since 1998.
Charles Grob, MD, is a professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and the Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. His longstanding interest in the history of psychiatric research with hallucinogens has generated an impressive history of conference presentations and publications in leading medical and psychiatric journals. Dr. Grob received the first FDA approval to carry out human research with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the early 1990s. He has collaborated with Drs. Dennis McKenna and Jace Callaway on the Hoasca Project, research that explored the biochemical, physiological, and psychological impacts of long-term ayahuasca use in Brazil. From 2004 to 2008, Dr. Grob conduced an FDA-approved study examining the effects of psilocybin in advanced-stage cancer patients with severe anxiety. Results from this trial were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2011. Dr. Grob is currently conducting a pilot study of an MDMA treatment model for autistic adults with social anxiety. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute. Dr. Grob is the editor of Hallucinogens: A Reader, and the co-editor with Dr. Roger Walsh of Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics.
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).
Jeffrey Guss, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with specialization in addictive disorders and psychotherapy. He is Co-Principal Investigator and the Director of Therapist Training for the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Project. Dr. Guss is developing a model for training therapists for cancer related therapy trials, as well as imagining clinical practice with psilocybin-assisted therapy. He maintains a psychotherapy based practice in New York City and is a graduate of the NYU postdoctoral program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.
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, Music and Transcendence, The Language of the Soul: The Art and Practice of Integrating Deep Inner Experience, Shamanism: An Exploration of Traditional Wisdom, Living with Dying, and The Psychedelic Experience: Promises and Perils. Diane is an adjunct faculty member at Southwestern College, a transpersonally oriented graduate school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She serves as the Executive Director of the Ocamora Retreat Center in Ocate, New Mexico, and maintains a practice that includes both private and group work.
Robert Jesse is convenor of the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP). Through CSP, he was instrumental in forming the psilocybin research team at Johns Hopkins University. He is a co-author of its first paper, "Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance" (2006) and he is one of the team's co-investigators. Bob now serves on the board of Usona Institute and is an advisor to CIIS. In 2005, he led the writing of an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court in a key religious liberty case that was decided 8-0, favoring the U.S. branch of the Brazilian church, the União do Vegetal. Prior to CSP, Bob worked as a consultant in information technology for AT&T Bell Labs and others, then in several capacities for Oracle Corporation, lastly as a vice president of business development. His university training is in computer science and electrical engineering.
Howard Kornfeld, MD, a member of the University of California, San Francisco clinical faculty for more than 20 years, is the founding medical director of Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley and the pain clinic at Highland Hospital in Oakland. He is a specialist in emergency, addiction, and pain medicine. Dr. Kornfeld convened the Pacific Symposia on Psychedelic Drugs at Esalen Institute in the 1990s.
James Lawer is an initiate and practitioner of five medicine traditions that are mutually informing. He is an ayahuasca curandero, the keeper of an indigenous medicine altar that originated in Mexico, an authorized sweat lodge leader, and an ordained minister offering pastoral counseling and hospice chaplaincy. For more than 50 years, James has used drums, rattles, and tuned and non-tuned instruments to heal and induce physiological changes that take people into trance. He is a leader and practitioner of mythopoetic drumming groups and a drummer for American Indian and pagan ceremonies. James has graduate degrees in both theology and theatre, is on the Board of Directors for the Cuyamungue Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is the Provost of the Druid College, teaching advanced students direct experiences of earth-centered spirituality.
Gabor Maté, MD, recently retired from active medical practice. He was a family physician for two decades and for seven years he served as medical coordinator of the palliative care unit at Vancouver Hospital. For twelve years, he worked in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hardcore addiction, mental illness, HIV, and related conditions. For two years, he was the onsite physician at Vancouver's unique Supervised Injection Site, North America's only such facility. He is internationally known for his work on mind/body unity in health and illness, on attention deficit disorder and other childhood developmental issues, and his breakthrough analysis of addiction as a psychophysiological response to childhood trauma and emotional loss. He is the author of four bestselling books published in twenty languages on five continents, including When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection and the award winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. Gabor is the recipient of an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree of Law from the University of Northern British Columbia, among other awards. He frequently addresses professional and lay audiences in North America on childhood development and parenting, physical and mental health and wellness, and addiction. He is an adjunct professor in the criminology department at Simon Fraser University. His next book, Toxic Culture: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a World of Materialism, will be published in 2016.
Dennis McKenna, PhD, is interested professionally and personally in the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-hé, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. Dr. McKenna received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine. He joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology in 1990, and relocated to Minnesota in 1993 to join the Aveda Corporation as Senior Research Pharmacognosist. He joined the faculty of the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota in 2001. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. He was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, an international biomedical study of ayahuasca used by indigenous people and syncretic religious groups in Brasil. He recently completed a project funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, to investigate Amazonian ethnomedicines for the treatment of schizophrenia and cognitive deficits. At the Heffter Research Institute, he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices.
Natalie Metz, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, herbalist, and core faculty member in the Integrative Health Studies department at California Institute of Integral Studies. 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 interventions. 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.
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, The Expansion of Consciousness, Alchemical Divination, and Mind Space and Time Stream. 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.
Annie Mithoefer, BSN, is a psychiatric nurse, Grof Certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy. She and her husband, Michael Mithoefer have practiced in Charleston, SC 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 posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are co-therapists for MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, and they conduct training programs for other MAPS-sponsored researchers elsewhere in the US and other countries.
Michael Mithoefer, MD, is a psychiatrist who specializes in treatment of posttraumatic 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 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (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 in 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 in the US and other countries, 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. He is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Lia Mix, MS, MFT, holds a master's degree in counseling with a concentration in multicultural populations and is an adjunct faculty member at CIIS. 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.
David Presti, PhD, is Teaching Professor of Neurobiology, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 25 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. For more than 25 years, Dr. Presti has been involved in shifting policy related to research and psychotherapy with psychedelics.
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.
William Richards, STM, PhD, is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He and his colleagues have pursued research there with entheogens for the past 15 years. He is 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 pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center from 1967-1977. Columbia University Press released his most recent book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, in 2015.
Tamra Rutherford is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and the founder of Inner Life Explorations in Santa Barbara. Her focus on consciousness exploration has led her to conduct extensive research in Mexico within the Mazatec tradition, which uses psilocybin mushrooms for healing and awakening. Ms. Rutherford has focused her study on the tradition's practice of integrating the entheogenic experience.
Mark Seelig, MDiv, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a member of the German College for Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy. Dr. Seelig is a founding member of Ken Wilberʼs Integral Institute and is on the advisory board of the Association Holotropic Breathwork International (AHBI). As a former professor of Psychology at Columbia Pacific University, Dr. Seelig mentored and advised numerous dissertations. His clinical specialties include trauma therapy, addiction therapy, family constellation therapy with groups, and therapeutic support for people in spiritual crises. Dr. Seelig holds certification with Grof Transpersonal Training in transpersonal psychotherapy and Holotropic Breathwork, and has studied shamanic psychotherapy with Ralph Metzner. He maintains a private practice.
Jan Edl Stein, MFT, is the clinical director of Holos Institute, a counseling center grounded in principles of eco-psychology, and a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Marin. 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. She is also adjunct faculty at CIIS. Jan leads workshops and retreats that interweave meditation, active imagining, shamanic journeying, and nature-based experiences.
Nick Walker, MA, holds a master's degree in Counseling Psychotherapy and teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies BA program at CIIS and the Psychology BA program at Sofia University. He has been deeply involved in the evolution of autistic community and culture since 2003, and is known for his innovative transdisciplinary work on neurodiversity, autism, neuroqueering, embodiment, and transformative practice. He is a co-founder and editor at the independent publishing house Autonomous Press, and founder and senior instructor of the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley. His writing can be found in the books Towards an Archeology of the Soul, Loud Hands: Autistic People Speaking, The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children, and The Spoon Knife Anthology, as well as on his blog Neurocosmopolitanism.
Berra Yazar-Klosinski, PhD, earned her doctorate in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She utilizes her scientific training and experience in for-profit pharmaceutical research to support the work of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to develop, design, and implement clinical psychedelic research in the U.S and beyond. She earned her BS in Biological Science from Stanford University, with an emphasis on the neurobiology of drugs. Prior to entering graduate school, Ms. Yazar-Klosinski 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. She joined MAPS in 2009 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.
Richard Yensen, PhD, is currently administrator and research psychotherapist for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA & PTSD study in Vancouver, BC. He has been a pioneer in transpersonal psychology since 1972, when he began his psychedelic research career working with Stanislav Grof as a research fellow at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore. He went on to work in Mexico with Salvador Roquet, a Mexican psychedelic psychoanalyst, and Maria Sabina, priestess of the sacred mushrooms, who first disclosed their secret to the West. With his wife, Dr. Donna Dryer, he was co-holder of IND 3250 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the psychotherapeutic use of LSD. He has pioneered non-drug ways to access deeply sacred states of mind usually only available through high doses of sacred medicines. He has taught at Harvard and University of Maryland medical schools, Johns Hopkins, and Union Graduate College. He is director of the Orenda Institute on Cortes Island, BC.
Michael Ziegler wrestles with the question "What does an engaged spiritual practice look like at this time of hyper-modernity?" He is a founder of the Chaplaincy Institute (which ordains interfaith ministers), the Shir HaShirim Minyan (which presents post-denominational musical and contemplative prayer services), 7th Heaven Body Awareness Center aka Namaste (an urban somatic mystery school), and Granite Capital Investments (which balances social capital, natural capital, and economic capital). He has served on the faculty of Naropa University and the University of Creation Spirituality, now Wisdom University. Michael has been a pioneer in the conversation about postmodern forms of spiritual practice.