Psychedelic Therapy

Training Overview 

We have a comprehensive 3-part Psychedelic Therapy Training & Credentialing program that provides online lectures and 20 days of psychedelic therapy training. It includes over 90 hours of psychedelic experiences in a total of 26 psychedelic therapy individual and group sessions.

At this point it is an open joke in our program that we’re “just sitting with cannabis.”  Psychedelic cannabis as a training tool allows us to have far more psychedelic experiences in a short period of time than other medicines would safely allow. Cannabis is also legal to use in many places. Therefore, unlike other psychedelic therapy programs, we teach how to work with a medicine that is already legal in most of the United States and all of Canada. Unlike other programs, our students can immediately begin practicing professionally as psychedelic guides.

We’ve developed a process and designed special blends of Psychedelic Cannabis that can be used in sessions that are often indistinguishable from MDMA/psilocybin assisted psychedelic therapy sessions, as well as DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline and even 5-MeO-DMT experiences. The primary difference between psychedelic cannabis and other psychedelic medicines is the inherent sense of agency, as well as it’s amplified awareness of the body. These traits make psychedelic cannabis one of the most accessible psychedelic medicines available to help our society heal trauma and transition to a greater sense of collective wellbeing.

We understand if you are skeptical about the potency of cannabis as a psycedelic. We were skeptical too. Please visit our page on Psychedelic Cannabis as well as Mindfulness-Based Psychedelic Therapy to learn more about our therapeutic orientation, our primary modalities, and these practices. Below is a very brief description of the three levels of training, followed by the additional requirements of our comprehensive training program.

Clinical & Non-Clinical Psychedelic Training

Psychedelics are actively used in both clinical and non-clinical settings with both clinical and non-clinical intentions. Non-clinical settings include religious, creative, and personal growth practices among generally healthy individuals. Most psychedelic medicine facilitators practicing today are not clinically trained, yet the majority of those practice as effective and ethical psychedelic guides. Psychedelic Sitters School acknowledges this by offering our program to non-therapists interested in becoming psychedelic facilitators. 

While the majority of our students are helping professionals, Psychedelic Sitters School does not have a mental health or medical professional licensing requirement for our new students. In our 2019 training season alone, 61% of our students were health and wellness professionals. About 20% were professionals from other fields, such as entrepreneurs, engineers, and computer programmers, just to name a few. The remaining 19% were in education, the arts, or retired. This is a professional training program that attracts mature, competent professionals. 

While we fully support younger students who are in college that want to train in the field of psychedelic therapy as a newer practitioner, the average age of our students in 2019 was 43.

About 41% of our students intend to work professionally as a psychedelic therapist and guide, 52% want to be an ally to friends and family, with 7% enter the training solely for personal development.

To balance the clinical and non-clinical aspects of psychedelic medicine work, the first two levels, PSS1 and PSS2, are designed as a cohesive training for the non-clinical facilitation of psychedelic medicines. PSS3 includes training in advanced practices of psychedelic therapy to address populations with clinical concerns, specifically PTSD, and other related mental health disorders. Because of this, PSS3 requires an additional application process to ensure that our non-licensed practitioners have enough maturity, experience, and clinical skill to work with clients who are really struggling. 

Because PSS1 and PSS2, collectively the Psychedelic Guide Training, teach foundational psychedelic guide skills and relevant mindfulness practices, it isn’t really a replacement for typical psychotherapy training, and therefore cannot be skipped by mental health professionals. Advanced clinical practitioners can be exempt from some of the credentialing requirements, however. 

We believe clinical and non-clinical practitioners benefit greatly by sharing training cohorts with each other and learn a lot from each other through their experience. Special cohorts for research teams, clinical teams, and other communities can be created by PSS to be reflective of the skill level and experience of the teams being trained.

PSS1 – Foundations in Mindfulness-Based Psychedelic Therapy

PSS1 teaches how to facilitate transformational psychedelic journeys for your clients, mindfulness practices that support your experience as a facilitator and your client’s process, and all of the logistical “how-tos” of safe and ethical psychedelic journey facilitation.

This online or in-person 4.5-day experiential retreat and 2-day practicum includes pre-retreat online lectures to prepare students in necessary mindfulness, self-care and psychedelic facilitation skill sets to be competent psychedelic therapists. With multiple psychedelic therapy sessions and experientials each day, students will participate in over 38 hours of psychedelic journey experiences. You’ll learn how to make your own psychedelic cannabis blends, set up your therapy space, use music and prompts to safely hold space as a psychedelic sitter. The skill sets taught are similar to facilitating Ketamine and N,N-DMT psychedelic experiences. This class includes multiple group psychedelic journey experiences for all participants.

PSS2 – Psychedelic Guide Training

PSS2 teaches how to safely deepen a client’s psychedelic experience through guided mindfulness practices, and teaches how to collaboratively navigate the inner-space as an imaginal landscape, how to engage the many aspects of self, how to transform and transmute tension and trauma, and to navigate safely in transpersonal terrains.

This online or in-person training is a full, 4.5-day professional training program and 2-day practicum with online lectures and 22 hours of psychedelic therapy experientials. Level 2 is designed to teach students everything they need to know to facilitate MDMA/Psilocybin style individual psychedelic cannabis therapy/journey sessions in a professional setting, and how to deepen and broaden their clients process of healing and transformational discovery. Additional skill sets taught include facilitating small group experiences and online psychedelic cannabis experiences. This class includes multiple group psychedelic journey experiences for all participants.

PSS3 – Advanced Practices in Mindfulness-Based Psychedelic Therapy

PSS3 teaches specific therapeutic techniques and how to address significant clinical concerns with your clients, specifically trauma and PTSD, and the clinical concerns that are commonly associated with trauma. In addition, this course also teaches how to support clients in extreme growth edge processes. Assessment, Preparation and Integration are discussed at length. Specific modalities taught are Cannabis-Assisted Breathwork, Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy, and Cannabis-Assisted Somatic Psychotherapy, as well as how to induce and facilitate extreme psychedelic states similar to N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT using Psychedelic Cannabis. This 4.5 day training and 2-day practicum include online lectures and 30 hours of psychedelic therapy experientials. This class includes multiple group psychedelic journey experiences for all participants.

Integrating Cannabis-Assisted modalities into already established professional practices should increase your rate by about 20% as a specialized service.

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New Training Protocol – Intensives & Practicums

Additional information on the content of these training levels are found on their program pages. The overall structure of each training level (1-3) in the new structure includes a Training Intensive that is 4.5 days of training, and a Training Practicum that is equivalent to two days of training:

Online Lecture Series – A very robust how-to” program for each level (psychedelic sitter, guide, therapist) that provides the necessary information and skill set development to become a competent guide, with reading and homework assignments for those seeking credentialing.

Small Group Cohorts – Organized to discuss information provided in lectures, and to facilitate experientials, mindfulness practices, and other skill set that support the resiliencies required as guides (online and in person options).

Journey Practicums – facilitated group psychedelic journey experiences for personal development and discovery (online and in person options).

Facilitation Practicums – practicing being a guide for others in a safe and supervised setting, with an emphasis on different techniques each level (online and in person options).

Core Professional Competencies

In addition discussing important concepts about each of these topics in our PSS1-3 training, for those who want to further advance by practicing professionally, additional classes are offered in Core Professional Competencies. 

For those seeking advanced certification, core classes include:

  • Psychedelic and Transpersonal Theory (The Guiding Presence)
  • Psychedelic First Aid and Crisis Intervention
  • Psychedelic Ethics and Multicultural Competency
  • EcoPsychedelics and Council
  • Psychedelics and Cannabis Education 

Descriptions of a few Core Competencies: 

Psychedelic First Aid®/CPR Certification – This 4-day training teaches students how to identify, assess and competently respond to all of the mental and spiritual health crises, medical emergencies such as overdoses, and other worst case scenarios not uncommon in psychedelic experiences. Includes a 3-year CPR/First Aid Certification and a Conscious Cannabis Circle.

EcoPsychedelics and Council – Sustainability and Psychedelics Retreat – The retreat includes shared psychedelic cannabis experiences, small group experiences facilitated by ecopsychology professionals, including outdoor experiences, and one-on-one transformational support. Topics include: Theory and Practices from Joanna Macys The Work That Reconnects, a Foundational Framework to connect Sustainability and Psychedelics, some expanded Journeys which will embrace the more-than-human world by taking our journeys outside, and additional support and skill building through the use of Council.

 

Electives 

Continuing Education Credits for mental health and medical professionals, electives of interest and specialities, including advanced music facilitation, yoga, art, end of life care, DMTx, ketamine and other international training retreats, sustainable business practices, as well as personal development for individuals and couples related to psychedelics and cannabis. Some of these electives will be open to the public, others will require advanced practices as prerequisites.

 

Leadership Training

For those interested in starting local psychedelic communities and helping facilitate the training program, participating in the small groups, journey and facilitation practicums, online and in intensive training retreats will provide the necessary experience to start your own local groups. 

 

Certification and Credentialing

Includes an interview process and review of competencies, skill sets, and client feedback on practice sessions, and a commitment to a community code of ethics for professionals, to work as a professional psychedelic practitioner. Visit the Credentialing Page for additional information on our credentialing program.

 

Community Membership

Opportunity to participate in an international community of amazing individuals through collaborative projects, committees for our non-profit, social media and safe online forums, and opportunities for volunteering and peer accountability.

 

Online vs. In-Person Training Retreats  

Covid-19 has certainly changed the world, and in doing so, radically transformed our training program. We successfully transitioned to an all-online model in September 2020 to continue this important work, and have since facilitated seven online training intensives. We are now including the practicum into the training beginning 2021 and will continue to develop the program in this new format as we go. All in all, the transition to the online platform was quite the ride and well worth it!

Currently, we are only offering online trainings, but hope to transition to an online and in-person hybrid model in the fall of 2021. We are also training a core group of facilitators who will offer these trainings regionally beginning sometime in 2021 or 2022.

So far  this is what we have learned about online vs. in-person trainings with psychedelic cannabis:

  • While we only recommend working with cannabis where it is safe to do so, our program is now greatly more accessible, more affordable  (no travel or lodging costs), and now has an international reach. We are so honored to work with from students all over the world.
  • Making your own Psychedelic Cannabis blend WORKS wherever you live, as long as cannabis is safely available. Our students reliably report psychedelic level experiences using the cannabis strains they have available. Please consider the implications of this on the psychedelic movement.
  • In-Person vs. Online – Although we truly miss our retreats, neither is better than the other, just different. Our students regularly report that they feel even safer and more comfortable in their own homes during their journey experiences, and can feel the support of the virtual circle just as they would in person.
  • Psychedelic Cannabis Experiences facilitated online WORK, and are very safe. We screen all of our students for safety, but cannabis is generally very safe. As long as you have a decent internet connection, we can play our music sets over the internet and the connections are very reliable. Plan on having full psychedelic experiences and prepare accordingly.
  • We need Community! Psychedelic medicine people were already isolated before the pandemic, and it has only gotten worse since. We need community connections, and we need a space to shake off the trauma of tolerating the new realities of the world. Because so many of our students are social distancing, we teach you how to facilitate psychedelic cannabis experiences online. This isn’t a skillset you can just start doing, so we provide access to the technology to practice with others in your cohort first.
  • We don’t have time to wait for the world to return to normal, if it ever does. This is the time to learn these skillsets so you’ll be ready for the massive wave of transformational healing required for everyone waking up.
  • Online trainings are so awesome they will always be part of our program. It is a much more resilient model to our new global reality of pandemics, or climate change, or otherwise. Beginning in the second half of 2021, we will start transitioning back to a regional in-person training model with online components as an option so we can share sacred space again. Plan on coming to our International Community Gathering in Colorado in September 2022. Hopefully, we’ll be through this by then.

 

Training Location and Small Cohorts

We manage a beautiful, cannabis-friendly, and very large yoga studio 8 minutes from downtown Boulder. The location will be given to approved applicants for planning purposes. The space is large enough to social distance, with vaulted ceilings and plenty of fresh air. We will also meet outside in the very large yard. Cohorts will be small groups of around 10-12, and we will be following Colorado safety guidelines for Covid-19. 

 

New Small Group Regional Options

In Summer 2021, we’ll review the possibility of in-person training options for the Fall Semester and for 2022. We will continue the online training but hope to transition to regional in-person intensives and practicums as soon as we can. 

 

Cannabis Consumption

Consuming cannabis is pretty much the point of these trainings, as it provides the required experiential component to be trained as a competent psychedelic guide. Cannabis will always be taken with intention. During the intensives, taking a break from cannabis is fully supported if needed. This isn’t a contest. Some of our students only take a puff, and others take several pipes. Everyone’s bodies are different. Since we can’t take group trips to the dispensary during the coronavirus, I’m bringing the dispensary to us. Our allies in the industry will make sure we are well supplied for our adventure together. Each cohort will make a shared community cannabis blend” to be used in all of the group and individual experientials, and there will be individual strain selections to modify your medicine however you like. Consuming cannabis during this training is recommended for training purposes, but not required. We have a number of safety protocols in place to ensure that everyone enjoys their experience, and we are trained experts in taking care of people in breakthrough spaces. Due to the experiential nature of these training events, a safety assessment is part of your application process. 

 

1st Annual All Community Retreat and Training Experience Scheduled for Fall of 2022

We will host our first annual full community celebration/retreat/training experience in the fall of 2022 at our main retreat location south of Denver, located on 500 acres of beautiful Colorado land. Imagine a community of a hundred people coming together for almost a week to learn, to connect, to share sacred psychedelic healing experiences. 

This experience will be a combination of large psychedelic cannabis circles, lectures on EcoPsychedelic Activism, music, and small group experiences in a variety of modalities from music facilitation, authentic movement, art, ecology and social justice activism. There will also be a lot of time for social events, outside hikes and transformational healing. 

Many electives and special training experientials will be hosted at this event. More information to be announced.