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Psychedelic-assisted therapy is making its way through the established medical system’s approval process and moving towards becoming an available treatment for conditions such as PTSD and Depression. This comes after years of prohibition of psychedelics through international drug conventions and local laws often disproportionately enforced in marginalized communities. As states and regulatory bodies consider making psychedelic-assisted therapy available, key social justice considerations come into focus, particularly around healthcare disparities and access to treatment, medicalization of plants that certain communities consider sacred, oppressive psychiatric treatments, and stigma experienced by people who use drugs.

The webinar series will cover a range of topics about both the present challenges and future opportunities for addressing social injustice in the field of psychedelic medicine, focusing on the role of the clinician’s voice in the context of the larger healthcare system. The instructors and panelists will contribute their own unique perspectives and insights into the social justice implications of psychedelic-assisted therapy, research, and treatment. Throughout the series, participants will be encouraged to bring curiosity and openness to their own experiences, with a focus on developing insight and understanding based therein. To encourage ongoing reflection and engagement with the material participants will be invited to complete various exercises to clarify their reaction to the material, what they have learned and how they desire to incorporate these insights into their lives going forward.

Session Titles & Descriptions:

Week 1: Rights, Regulations, and Reconciliation: Exploring an Equitable Drug Policy 

This webinar will discuss past and current drug policies with a particular focus on key considerations for providers offering psychedelic integration therapy and who seek to offer psychedelic assisted therapy in the future.

Background: The prohibition of psychedelics through international drug conventions and local laws are slowly giving way to new regulatory models making psychedelic-assisted therapy available. Past and present enforcement of prohibition has disproportionately affected marginalized communities, and ongoing disparities in care and access to treatment continue to be key considerations in psychedelic assisted therapy.

Week 2:  Challenges of Mainstreaming Psychedelic-assisted Therapies:  A Critical Analysis of the Mental Health Model 

As psychedelic therapy gains broad public attention, the ascendant model proposed is largely a medical/mental health model. In this session, we will discuss the limitations and challenges of the medicalization of psychedelic therapy.

Week 3:  Cultural Elevation of Sanity and Abstinence and Implications for Psychedelic Assisted Therapy

This webinar will explore mainstream discourse in the West, and will critically analyze the elevation and devaluation of certain states of consciousness. We will consider ways in which the marginalization of alternative perspectives on topics such as sanity and drug abstinence influence current treatment models, and we will explore how psychedelics provide opportunities to create alternative models.

Week 4: Inclusion in Psychedelic-assisted therapy: Racial disparities in research, Racial Trauma, Race as Part of Set and Setting

The BIPOC community continues to be underrepresented as both providers and potential clients in psychedelic therapy research, which can lead to broad gaps in and misunderstandings of what we consider “evidence based treatment.” This session will explore what current research tells us about the inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and address how experiences of race and racial trauma can influence psychedelic experiences.

Week 5: Challenges to Challenging the Status Quo in Psychedelic Research and Treatment

As a burgeoning treatment modality, psychedelic assisted therapy is often discussed as an alternative and challenge to the predominant psychotherapy modality of weekly 45-60 minute sessions. However, many aspects of psychedelic research and treatment are embedded in the same systems as other treatments. This webinar will highlight and elucidate some of the challenges of navigating systems such as embedded economic interests and structures, intellectual property issues around patents and treatments, and difficulties in community outreach and training of culturally informed care.

Week 6: Whose Medicine Is It? Decriminalization, medicalization and infringement on indigenous communities

Broadening awareness of the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics has buttressed decriminalization and legalization efforts. As these efforts gain traction, indigenous communities  have called attention to their lack of inclusion, and how these efforts potentially threaten the dwindling populations of plants they hold sacred and cultural practices that have been oppressed for centuries. This webinar will highlight some of the challenges and infringements of decriminalization, medicalization, and the phenomenon of “neo-shamanism” on indigenous communities. We will explore complexities of cultural syncretism vs. appropriation with a particular focus on how Western providers can practice in psychedelic therapy.

Week 7: Inclusive Models of Sexuality and Gender in Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy

The traditional conceptualization of the male-female co-therapy team as the ideal has evolved.This webinar will present early and current conceptualizations of the psychedelic therapy co-therapy team, and explore sex and gender as part of set and setting. Inclusive models of gender in psychedelic assisted therapy impact all aspects of psychedelic treatment including creation of the co-therapy team, and how to work with clients in preparation, dosage and integration stages of a psychedelic experience.

Week 8: Cultural Attitudes and PTSD:  Who Gets Compassionate Care? 

This webinar will examine how cultural values and attitudes impact how and who we treat for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We will explore the attitudes of providers, court systems, and communities towards veterans of foreign wars versus victims of community violence and poverty, and how this impacts how we treat their struggles and who receives psychedelic therapy.

Week 9: Ethical Considerations and Guidelines for Community Practice

National and international provider organizations have broadly elucidated ethical practice guidelines and codes of conduct for their professional members. However, few have considered unique guidelines or ethics of psychedelic practices. This webinar will discuss current ethical and clinical considerations of community practice as it relates to access and inclusion.

Week 10: Standing at the Gates: Provider Training, Requirements, and Stigma within Psychedelic Assisted Therapy

A consideration in psychedelic assisted therapy is who administers the treatment. The burgeoning landscape of training and licensing of psychedelic assisted therapy will have many aspects to consider. Federal prohibition of psychedelics limits trainees’ ability to have firsthand experiences with psychedelics and training models do not require such experiences. Requirements that only licensed professionals may provide such treatment limits broader access to training, devalues the work of indigenous experts, and ignores “underground” practices where many experienced individuals operate. At present, licensed professionals offering psychedelic integration therapy risk stigma and potentially draw scrutiny from their state licensing boards. This webinar will explore current training models, potential licensing requirements for psychedelic therapy, and the stigma attached to providers who operate in this space.


Learning Objectives

  • Critique the implications of drug policy that impact marginalized populations’ access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  • Describe the mental health and policy barriers that perpetuate stigma and inequitable access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  • Explain the ways in which bias against individuals with mental illness are used to invalidate their perspectives, and how this relates to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  • Analyze the role of ethnic and racial identity in psychedelic-assisted therapy research.
  • Analyze Intersection between research, policy, corporatization of psychedelics and its impact.
  • Describe current psychedelic decriminalization efforts in the US and their relationship to existing drug and religious use policies as well as its impact on indigenous communities.
  • Describe the role of gender within psychedelic therapist dyads, and between dyads and participants.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of unique aspects of PTSD in military populations that may impact their treatment with psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  • Explain the role and application of leading ethical guidelines for psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of controversies related to therapist training, as well as therapist self-disclosure of personal experience with psychedelics.

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