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Becoming a Psychedelic Therapist


Nov 28, 2018

Assuming the clinical/therapeutic use of psychedelics becomes legal or more widely used what types of people would be licensed to administer the therapy? An md, psychiatrist, lcsw?
I'm interested in performing psychedelic therapy and want to know the necessary background/training/degree necessary.



Feb 22, 2000
Getting to the point ...
Noble endeavor, and I wish you luck with it. This MAPS forum is likely the best place for the right answer, but given the low traffic it has (we'll be merging some forums to increase traffic), I'm going to bounce this thru a few other forums to hopefully get more eyes on it that can help. In the meantime, we do have a MEGA thread from our professional/educational section that may be of help (though a lot of it may be outdated, I have to admit).

Buckle up, taking the thread on a bounce thru MAPS > PD > LAVA > MAPS

mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Safety Guidelines for Guides, Psychedelic Integration Practitioners, and Other Leaders

December 3, 2018 | by Daniel Sitaram Das Shankin, of Psymposia.com

This is a riff on the safety guidelines recently released by Chacruna. I have tons of respect for Chacruna, but I wanted to tweak the guidelines. I’m a white dude with plenty of power and privilege, and I know plenty of other people who fit the same description.

What would safety guidelines look like for us, the people most statistically likely to create a lack of safety? How can men, who participate in psychedelic community as members or leaders hold themselves to a standard that promotes safety for the people that really need it? How can we model ethical behavior for the next generation of men who will enter this work in the future? This is what I’ve come up with, in one quick run through. I’m aware that there is some biting humor here, some of it’s brusque, but you’re men, you can take it.

Note: I’m happy to make this a living, collaborative document. I know that Chacruna spent a lot of time and worked with many experts to draft their document, and I created this one on the spur of the moment. I’m happy to have an evolving conversation. I probably won’t argue too much, as it’s not fun for me. I also probably won’t be super open to strangers who want to tell me what I should do, or should have done. I hope that everyone can appreciate and enjoy this in the spirit with which it is offered.

Psychedelic Safety Guidelines

1. Treat everyone like friends and family

Better yet, treat everyone like a family member who has had a rough day. People often come to ceremony to heal. If one of your siblings recently had their heart broken by a lousy partner, how would you treat them? My guess is you wouldn’t sexually assault them. Don’t do that to anyone else in your community either.

2. Get Experienced

Do your work. Go to trainings, workshops, and yoga classes. Meditate, read good books. Learn at the feet of brilliant people of a variety of genders, sexual orientations, and belief systems. Challenge yourself.

3. Be transparent about your skills and abilities

Don’t misrepresent your skills and abilities. That’s lying. Don’t lie.

4. Don’t touch people without consent, on intimate areas of the body, or otherwise

You’re dealing with family, remember. You wouldn’t grope your mom, would you? Also, if touch is a consideration for some reason, best to discuss it clearly, transparently, in advance, and while everyone is sober. Also if you need to talk to someone alone, try to do it in such a way that it can’t be construed as menacing. Remember that you’re large and strong. Don’t block doorways with your body or insist that meetings take place in overly remote locations. Maybe just a bench in a quiet area of a public park would be nice.

5. Keep your clothes on, everyone, please

If you’re not at Harbin Hot Springs, everyone stays dressed. And you aren’t at Harbin because it was lost in a fire a few years ago and hasn’t been rebuilt. It’s a tragedy. And you’re a tragedy if you think you’re clever because you conned someone to take their clothes off because of some weird fetish or power trip.

6. If you have sexual intentions, just take them elsewhere

Look, I want you to have a happy, fulfilling sex life. But this isn’t the place. The gods have provided us with a plethora of online dating apps full of people who want to get down. Get your needs met on your own time.

7. Sexual intercourse during ceremonies is vetoed in nearly all ayahuasca traditions

There is probably good reason for this. Don’t try to bang anyone. On the off chance that someone tries to bang you, just be flattered and decline.

8. Sexual intercourse with a client does not make you cool

Sometimes, men with power and opportunity think it does. Usually men who are new to power and opportunity. It’s an immature, rookie move. See #2.

9. Receive friendliness and compliments with generous appreciation of the spirit with which they are offered

If you are helpful to people they are often grateful. The healing that people receive in a psychedelic space can be profound, and so the gratitude is often profound. People might be projecting some paternal archetype onto you as well, and be in a space where they see you as their dad or Jesus or Santa Claus or Jeff Goldblum or whatever. Don’t abuse that. Be a good dad. Say thank you and tell them you appreciate what good work they did and send them home.

10. Respect each person’s dignity and humanity

People dress in different ways. They talk in different ways, and they have different customs. Respect, however, is universal.

11. Respect everyone’s personal space

Physically and spiritually – before, during, and after ceremony. Respect people’s boundaries. Do not suggest anyone feel obliged to engage in verbal or physical communication with you or anyone else during or following ceremony.

12. Don’t give people shit they aren’t expecting

If you give people shit, make sure you only give them the best, cleanest, highest quality shit, and don’t give them more shit than necessary and don’t give them any surprise shit.

13. You’re a Shaman, Not a Saint!

And really, you probably aren’t even a shaman. So get off your high horse and quit taking yourself so seriously.

14. If you screw up, or worry you might, get support

We are going to assume you aren’t a sociopath. We’re going to assume that you want to be a good man with good moral values, but that you struggle sometimes with the toxic ideas that you’ve been raised with. I know that I have. Find other healthy men. Work with them. Hold each other accountable. Root out the entitlement, anger, shame, and other issues that you take out on women. If you do hurt a woman, attempt to make amends quickly, learn from it, and don’t do it again. If she doesn’t want to hear it from you, you might just have to leave her alone.

15. Beware of Consensual Sex

Don’t do this here. Go online. Also, for those of us with jobs in the field, we don’t really get to clock out. Being someone’s MDMA therapist during the day and then dating them at night is problematic. It might work, until it doesn’t any more. Acting innocent and surprised when is blows up in your face will make you look like a schmuck.

16. Beware of Getting Romantically Involved

Sometimes we have a sex/love/friendliness synesthesia. Wires get crossed. You’ve seen the diagram. You feel a cosmic love for the universe and you look over and see a woman and just decide she’s the one. She’s not the one. You’re tripping. Chill out and leave her alone.

Daniel Sitaram Das Shankin

After a profound and intense awakening experience in 1998, Daniel dove deep into his yoga and meditation practice to stabilize his realization in his body and the world. He began teaching in 2002, and took over leadership of his neighborhood yoga studio in 2004. He’s directed several teacher training programs and taught on the faculty of even more. Daniel ‘Sitaram Das’ Shankin has dedicated his life to the cultivation of clarity, resilience, and heart. With the recognition that our true nature is vast and generous, wise, he strives to serve his clients in finding their own innate goodness and boundless strength. He currently offers leadership coaching with a heavy emphasis on mindfulness and somatics, and is based in Marin County.



mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN
psychedelic.support creates a network for psychedelic therapists

by Russell Hausfeld - November 1, 2018

Alli Feduccia is a Clinical Data Scientist working for MAPS’ Public Benefit Corporation — a for-profit entity owned by MAPS. She is currently working on a collaboration with MAPS and software engineer Shawn Grona to develop a state-of-the-art online psychedelic therapy and integration support network — psychedelic.support. This website will showcase clinics and providers who are looking to network with one another and connect with people seeking treatment. This site could soon become a useful asset to anyone interested in the professional world of psychedelic-related therapy.

Feduccia spoke with Psymposia about the psychedelic.support website and how she originally got involved with MDMA research.

How did you end up getting involved with MDMA research?

Alli Feduccia: I first started working here about three years ago. I started as a volunteer, then did an internship, then started working on the clinical team.

I had been studying MDMA in rodent models in grad school, studying serotonin and dopamine release while rats were self-administering MDMA and then putting them in different environmental conditions — like playing music, or increasing the temperature of the cages. The idea being to replicate the rave scene.

I had read about the first MDMA studies in humans starting and I really wanted to get involved. What you can grasp from rat models about psychedelics is limited. I reached out in 2007, but there weren’t any opportunities. I went on to do some more clinical work, studying mainly alcohol addiction and looking at different medications and how they might work to help addictions. I got back in touch with MAPS around this time, and ended up getting a job there eventually.

Where did the interest in working with MDMA come from?

I was working in a lab and we were studying other drugs alongside MDMA, such as alcohol and cocaine. It was surprising in 2004 to see that people were using MDMA in this first clinical trial for treating PTSD. I went on to learn a bunch more about its use in the 1970’s and it made sense to me that the pharmacological effects of MDMA could potentially be beneficial when combined with therapy to help people with processing traumatic memories.

How did you begin working on psychedelic.support?

We met a lot of therapists at trainings and started to see that people were looking for psychedelic integration, or more open-minded providers in general. It is really hard to find these people. MAPS has lists online, but we wanted to take that a step further and use technology to make it easier for people to find therapists by location, and create a way to connect therapists to one another.

In collaboration with MAPS and other groups, we’re publishing documents defining terms like “integration”, and presenting them in a more accessible way to the public and other mental healthcare professionals who may want to get more involved.

Besides listing provider profiles, we’ve listed events for professional training opportunities and integration events. Most of these are in-person in small communities. The hope is that we’ll be able to expand to have more online groups for people who don’t have something in their area. Ten people could maybe join a web chat facilitated by one person.

You said you are working on defining terms like “integration” in a therapeutic setting. What does “integration” mean from a therapist’s perspective?

It can be a lot of different things. People work in different modalities of therapy. As far as why we’re working on honing the definition, there was an article that was recently posted that was sort of like: “Watch out therapists — if you are offering integration, you should talk to your board before doing this.”

The problem was that the writer lumped in integration to mean someone taking a drug and a provider working with them. She convoluted this underground work — where a therapist might be present during an experience with a drug — with something else. Integration is more in line with harm-reduction or talking to someone about an experience they had before.

On psychedelic.support we are requiring providers to agree to a code of conduct, basically saying they are working above ground, not giving illegal drugs, not sitting with people knowing that person has taken a drug. People can now offer ketamine and cannabis if it is approved in their state.

With all this emerging, there are lots of questions from therapists, and we’re trying to focus on making resources more available about what terms mean, what things are clearly legal, and what are not. At some point people may even start going to the boards to get more clarification on these topics.

Looking through the website, I noticed a couple providers in Austin, Texas and one in Asheville, North Carolina. Most therapists are on the West Coast. I was curious if there is any outreach to therapists in the Midwest or central United States. Is it harder to find people in those areas?

So far we’ve invited a limited number of people who we knew. Since setting up the site, people have been asking to be added. We review their resumes and their websites, and make sure they agree to our code of conduct, and then we will set them up. We haven’t done a lot of solicitation yet.

What other features about psychedelic.support are you excited about?

We’re also publishing articles on psychedelic.support. These are written by the providers or other people in the field on a number of different topics — either psychedelics or some sort of personal growth resources.

We want to give a platform for therapists and professionals in the field to talk about what their impressions are, and what they are seeing in therapeutic sessions. As more things become available, just putting out resources and information to the public that is understandable, especially for people who are looking for these treatments.

These articles are a way to help people know more about an individual provider. We link all the articles to the profiles of the writer. That way you might learn more about each person by reading a longer article that they wrote.

In the future I think we will introduce some kind of rating system on the clinics, so people will be able to get a better idea of what the services are like there. I think that is really important information that I would want to know if I were going to spend that much money on a treatment.


mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Psychedelic Psychedelic - A Conversation With 3 Underground Providers

Psychedelic psychotherapy is coming.

In the face of excellent science and fine-tuned bureaucratic efforts, psychedelics are making their way out of their Orwellian prohibition and back into medicine. Psychedelic psychotherapy, including substances like MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, and Ibogaine, are being shown to be effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment-resistant depression (and here), (cigarette, alcohol, and opiate) addiction, and existential anxiety at the end of life.

Psychedelic psychotherapy is on the verge of bursting into the mainstream institutions. MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is currently in phase 3 trials in the united states for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been labelled a breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA. COMPASS pathways, (like ’em or not), have recently received FDA approval for psilocybin clinical trials for treatment-resistant depression. Furthermore, doctors in Canada are on the verge of offering therapeutic psilocybin for people in end-of-life distress based on scientific evidence and a strong legal argument.

Yes, psychedelic psychotherapy is coming… in fact, it’s already here.

As the legal, academic, and medical institutions work steadily to bring psychedelic psychotherapy into the mainstream, a thriving underground network of psychedelic therapists are already operating despite the potential legal ramifications of their action. Free from institutional oversight, underground psychedelic psychotherapy is a mixed bag.

The vast network of underground psychedelic psychotherapy is able to explore whole new realms of potential benefit through experimentation and following what works. Yet this same capacity can lead to unethical, ineffective, or even damaging results. It is being offered discreetly by aboveground certified clinical professionals in counselling and therapy, it is also being provided by people with no training at best or even megalomaniacal delusions of grandeur at worse. But, let’s not dwell too deeply on the antagonists of this network and instead focus on those providing quality care, and risking their careers and their freedom to offer people therapy that works where none other did, changing people’s lives for the better.

Today’s guests for the podcast — three female, underground psychedelic therapists from Canada — are on the show anonymously to share their wisdom, experience, and knowledge of psychedelic psychotherapy. Specifically, we talk about psilocybin, MDMA, and 3-MMC assisted psychotherapy; their methodologies and practices; cautions and concerns; and an in-depth look at both what it is like and what it takes to be an underground psychedelic psychotherapist.

This is an episode for anyone interested in psychedelic psychotherapy, be it as a current or future provider, or someone who is seeking it for their own health and healing.

Episode breakdown

- What models of therapy are being offered and what substances are being used

- How they decide what substance is best for each client

- What are the differences in methodology for different substance?

- Red flags

- Does the therapist take the dose as well?

- Who’s in the room? How many therapists, sitters, clients and why?

- How to address panic and anxiety attacks during psychedelic sessions

- Some cautions in finding a psychedelic therapist

- Specific needs for providing psychedelic therapy to people in their sick time.

- Death anxiety within psychedelic therapy

- Providing psychedelic therapy to minors

- Integration practices and perspectives.


mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Trip Sitters and Conscious Bachelorette: An interview with Chi of Truffles Therapy

by Wesley Thoricatha | Feb 13, 2019

Last week we spoke with Chi about his personal journey and what led him to start working as a facilitator for psilocybin truffle experiences in Amsterdam. This week, we discuss some of his other projects that aim to unify psychedelic supporters and reinvent the debaucherous bachelorette party in a much more conscious way.

Thanks again for speaking with us, Chi. It was great speaking with you about Truffles Therapy last week. I know you are also involved in some other interesting projects. Can you tell me about Trip Sitters?

In Amsterdam there is this huge base of trip sitters building, and our goal is to build codes of ethics, to create a council of the most experienced trip sitters, and to create training videos and training courses. This area is going to keep on growing and we need to protect the movement. We also hope to bring more cohesion and have less infighting. Like, guys… we’re all literally on the same side! Of course we’re imperfect, and we all still have things to learn. But let’s link hands— we’re stronger together, you know?

So those initiatives have turned into this whole online guide and listing service. It’s created a wonderful sense of community, because many sitters have been doing this for years and never interacted with other people who are doing the same work. It’s the craziest thing.

At first, we were thinking we could be this global listing service for all psychedelic guides around the world, but we quickly realized that many underground practitioners wouldn’t want to put their faces out in other countries. There are many people and groups working with psilocybin all over the world, but they have to come to the Netherlands to be legit and above ground. When Oregon or Denver get their initiatives passed, we want to help them build their network. One day the US will overtake the Netherlands as the global hub for these experiences. There will be different training systems developed all over, but maybe we can help and make a contribution with what we’re doing here.

That’s super cool. The other project I’m aware of that you’re associated with is Conscious Bachelorette. Can you speak a little bit about what that is?

Oh gosh… never in my life would I ever think I would do anything with a group of women like this. But yeah, this writer Becky Wicks did a retreat with us and she’s written an article about us which you can read here. Her idea was that groups of women will often come to Amsterdam before getting married to go wild, drink, do drugs, and it’s all so unconscious. This is what most of the world thinks partying and fun is all about. We wanted to change that paradigm and change how people view Amsterdam. What kind of experiences could they have here that were boundary-pushing, but in a more conscious way? If we can provide these groups of women with beautiful, heart-opening experiences, it’s going to spread.

It feels to me like the mushroom and the truffle spirit want to reach more people. Alcohol and tobacco are widely accepted but addictive and harmful. Let’s get psilocybin accepted in society as a way to improve our well-being, live fuller and more creative lives, and be more connected and in harmony with nature. That’s really our end goal in everything. We have to get out of this disharmony and see ourselves as just belonging to Earth.

I really like that. People are nervous about mainstreaming these things, but this is exactly the kind of shift in perspective and behavior that we need people to take.

You know, rites of passage have happened throughout history with psychedelics. And if you look at our culture, whether it’s a bachelor party or bachelorette party or turning 21, it’s basically an orgy of drinking and debauchery. That’s our sort of shitty version of a rite of passage in the West. So I think it’s a really cool idea to take that and try and give a conscious alternative. Some people like to say, well these things are super sacred and everything should be done in this ultra-sacred, conservative, indigenous-influenced container. But I think that’s sort of missing the opportunity to take that sacredness but overlay it with things that are happening in our culture already, and try and bring it into new areas. So I’d like to elevate our pre-existing rite of passage in our culture.

Clearly the old ways of thinking and the old paradigms have not worked. We have to just be creative; we have to try new things. We have to have courage as a human species to not just hold on to old ways of thinking. We’ve just gotta give it our all! We have to do this or else it’s not going to work and the species might not survive, so let’s try something. As long as we’re trying to do good and we’re not consciously harming people, let’s give it a shot. We’re trying to bring goodness, more spirituality, more togetherness, more circles, more love, more laughter, more dancing, more freedom. Let’s go out on a limb, right?

Totally. If someone wants to get involved with any of your projects, how can they reach out to you and connect?

Of course our websites are good for that, and people can reach me directly at [email protected]. Beyond that, we have some Facebook groups like Amsterdam Conscious Community where locals can list their offerings and such.

Awesome. Is there anything else that you want to share that we haven’t touched on yet?

We need to come together as a human species. We need to link hands rather than point fingers. We have to accept people for their imperfections and their differences, and work on compromises rather than blaming. And I’m a big fan of talking circles. Indigenous cultures did this all the time, but a ton of people these days have never even been in one. People have this fear of talking in a group, but we have to clear our throats and open our hearts and speak our truth. The more clear our own channel is, the more that spirit can work through us. We need to wake up as a human species, so let’s all work together.




Oct 7, 2005


Bluelight Crew
Jun 28, 2009
In your head
Drug tourism is for recreation, priest, which is a far cry from what this thread is about.

It's almost like you don't know the difference between fun and healing.

Cabbanis Lifestyle

Jan 1, 2021
Listen, I have worked with psychedelics for many years now since I was a kid and I still have some professional trouble.

Maybe because I started so young to conduct other people's trips I have a way of thinking that is based on misconceptions that I formed growing up.

The best way to conduct a psychedelic experience is by shaping the context to your favor

Since we are talking about conducting legal therapies I assume we are talking about a substance like psilocybe.

In journeys such as the ones induced by psychedelic mushrooms, the best approach is to go in with a beginner's mind.
This means that the best thing you can do to prepare for a psychedelic trip is to try to unlearn everything you know and explore the trip in real-time.

In terms of your relationship with your client, I believe that the most appropriate way to induce productive and safe experiences is by acting just as a safety net. Your job as a professional is to serve as a psychological help just in case things go badly.

The important thing to keep in mind is that if you have some concept or idea that you hold to be true, you can't force it on your client.

The first step of understanding is not understanding.
The first step to getting it right is getting it wrong.

So let your customers be wrong.
Let the substance tell them what the path to the truth is.

Don't let the idea that you are a guide holding your client's hand through the psychedelic landscape solidify, really. The psychonaut is the one guiding his own trip. Your job is to take care of logistics.