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This 12-week reading and study group is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the complex concepts, models, and ideas that help both therapists and clients contextualize and explain the profound impact of psychedelic states on mental health outcomes. Through the examination and discussion of relevant literature, the course will explore the diverse applications of these theories in research contexts, ranging from the use of psychedelics in microdosing to full-dose experiences.

Throughout the course, participants will engage with a wide range of papers and chapters that cover a variety of topics related to psychedelic therapy. These topics include the psychological processes involved in psychedelic therapy, the roles of creativity, music, and therapeutic relationships in shaping the therapeutic experience, and the psychological aspects of ayahuasca shamanism. Additionally, participants will be exposed to traditional and contemporary dialogues within the field of psychology, providing them with a nuanced understanding of the historical and cultural contexts that underpin contemporary psychedelic therapy. This course offers a unique opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of the transformative potential of psychedelic experiences and the ways in which they can be harnessed for therapeutic purposes.

A limited number of Diversity Fund scholarships are available, please complete this application, in addition to the course application.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe and clinically recognize the emergence of increased interpersonal ”connectedness” as a central component of improvement from depressive disorders seen with psychedelic therapy
  • Describe the prototypical psychedelic assisted psychotherapy (PAP) model and why it has important practical and theoretical implications
  • Utilize the direct subjective experiences reported by participants in psychedelic therapy to work with substance use
  • Describe the guidelines and precautions from the historical use of MDMA in psychotherapy
  • List the ways that psychedelic therapy helped individuals with cancer related anxiety regain meaning in their lives and recover from existential distress caused by their cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Describe the components of psychological rigidity and psychological flexibility in clinical practice
  • List the ways that psilocybin assisted therapy facilitates improvement in anxiety disorders for research participants
  • List the ways that psilocybin assisted therapy facilitates improvement in depressive disorders for research participants
  • Explain the phenomena that occur during placebo psychedelic experiences and discuss the implications of these findings in terms of user expectation in psychedelic experiences
  • Critique the concept of creativity and microdosing of psychedelic medicines and describe how these medicines may be used to enhance creativity in the future
  • Analyze a recent research study on psychedelic and creativity to explain the historic anecdotal reports of enhanced creativity through use of psychedelic experiences
  • Discuss traditional meanings of terms used in Western psychology (light, dark, healing, change, spirit) in accordance with ones that patients may experience in traditional (with curanderos) or neoshamanic ayahuasca or other plant medicine ceremonies, in the context of supporting the integration process for clients.
  • Compare the meaning of purging and vomiting during ayahuasca and other traditional plant medicine ceremonies in ways that are different from the meanings commonly used for those behaviors in Western psychology