BCSP brings together researchers from across disciplines, including neuroscience, molecular biology, psychology, education, social science, chemistry, and genetics, and experts in public policy, law, health economics, culture, and religion.

BCSP conducts psychology and neuroscience research, but does not offer clinical treatment for mental health conditions. If you are seeking mental health care, please contact a licensed mental healthcare provider where you live. If you are having a medical emergency, please call “911” or go to the nearest emergency room. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call or text “988” to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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Research Overview

We are in the midst of an explosion in clinical research on the efficacy of psychedelic medicines and psychedelic-assisted therapy in the treatment of mental health disorders. These clinical studies and trials have produced encouraging results suggesting that psychedelic therapy can ameliorate the symptoms of many mental health disorders that are otherwise resistant to existing treatments. 

To complement these ongoing clinical investigations, BCSP will leverage UC Berkeley’s strengths in basic neuroscience, psychology, and molecular biology to conduct studies to help elucidate the mechanistic bases of the actions of psychedelics and subjective psychedelic experiences, as well as their enduring effects.

This type of research in human subjects had been suppressed for fifty years for social and political reasons, but during that time there have been dramatic improvements in experimental techniques for probing the mind and brain, as well as associated conceptual advances in psychology and neuroscience.

Alongside clinical and other basic scientific research, big philosophical questions about epistemology, or ways of knowing, arise when experiencing or learning about psychedelics. In addition, practitioners, academics, and the media are asking questions about the political and societal consequences of psychedelics research and education, particularly for historically underrepresented communities.

BCSP will look to find answers to these questions through social science research that analyzes contextual aspects of psychedelics, education, and related fields. Through research fellowships, BCSP will increase the number and diversity of individuals trained to produce rigorous psychedelic science and knowledge.

Human Neuroscience Research

A more complete mechanistic understanding of the way psychedelics affect brain function will be essential to better characterize and quantify the effects of psychedelics, to identify clinical protocols that lead to the best treatment outcomes, and to optimize these treatments for specific mental health disorders and individual patients. 

BCSP researchers will conduct two types of laboratory studies with human subjects: “low dose” allow placebo-controlled experiments to be conducted during the psychedelic experience itself, and “high dose” will focus on long-lasting transformative effects of the psychedelic experience. 

Our initial research protocol consists of low-dose psilocybin functional MRI experiments to obtain a deeper understanding of the neural correlates of the psychedelic experience. This study protocol received FDA approval in January 2022 and the campus’ Institutional Review Board approval in May 2022. We are planning to enroll our first human subject volunteers in fall 2022 (pending DEA and Research Advisory Panel of California approval). 

UC Berkeley provides an ideal environment for conducting neuroimaging studies with psychedelic drugs in human subjects. The Henry H. Wheeler Jr. Brain Imaging Center, located on campus, has completed installation of the NexGen 7 Tesla MRI scanner, the first ever high-field MRI scanner optimized specifically for human cerebral cortical imaging. This instrument is the result of a $20 million effort led by UC Berkeley and involving the NIH, Siemens, and a consortium of collaborating universities.

The NexGen 7 Tesla MRI scanner will provide unprecedented spatial resolution to reliably identify individual columns and layers within the cerebral cortex. BCSP researchers will employ this powerful tool to determine how psychedelic drugs affect perceptual priors and to quantify changes in brain representations during the psychedelic experience.

Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity

In a study led by UC Berkeley neuroscientist Andrea Gomez, BCSP researchers aim to understand the molecular and cellular basis for how psychedelics produce long-lasting changes in the brain. Insight from these studies will be harnessed into state-of-the-art CRISPR genome editing technologies to target the neural plasticity programs engaged by psychedelics. The molecular technologies produced by this effort aim to develop therapeutic applications for mental health conditions associated with defective neural plasticity, such as neurodegeneration.

Study on Psychedelics, Awe, and Enduring Personal and Social Change

In this study, led by Dacher Keltner, researchers will explore the neurophysiology and subjective experiences of awe and other self-transcendent states (compassion, gratitude, bliss) as they unfold during psychedelic experiences. They will document how these transformative shifts in sense of self give rise to enduring changes in well-being, physical health, and inclination to integrate into communities and engage in prosocial behavior.

Ethnographic Research: A Longitudinal Case Study

In this observational study, UC Berkeley education professor Tina Trujillo will conduct a longitudinal, ethnographic study of the BCSP’s Certificate Program. This research will explore the socio-cultural, political, and epistemological dynamics that transpire in a professional education program crafted to bridge scientific, spiritual, and other perspectives to prepare diverse cohorts of psychedelic facilitators. The mixed-methods study will integrate qualitative and quantitative data to analyze the various cultural phenomena that shape and are shaped by the emerging field of psychedelics education.

Educational Evaluation of the BCSP’s Certificate Program

Currently, there is a dearth of empirical evidence about what works in psychedelic facilitation, how best to design and implement a facilitation training program to meet particular contextual needs, and how to measure success. Dr. Tina Trujillo is conducting a longitudinal evaluation of the Berkeley model to systematically answer some of these questions. Lessons from this evaluation will be used to continually refine the development of the Center’s training model, as well as to disseminate knowledge about best practices in programs’ curriculum, instruction, staffing, and organizational design for both practitioner and scholarly communities.


Journalism and Public Education

BCSP’s public education program produces evidence-based, objective journalism, conversations, and courses about psychedelics. For twice-weekly news updates on psychedelics—ranging from science and culture to business and policy—subscribe to our newsletter The Microdose. 

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Public Education

The Center’s public education program offers online courses, original reporting, and public dialogue to inform policy makers, journalists, businesses, potential patients, and anyone curious about psychedelics in the United States and around the world.

Our basic online class will be presented as a massive open online course (MOOC) that concisely and comprehensively delivers material speaking to the complexity of psychedelic substances, including their healing capacities and their risks, and addresses centrally important aspects of history, biology, chemistry, psychology, and public policy related to psychedelics.

In the meantime, the substances page of our website provides an introduction to psychedelics themselves. Our resource database offers additional scientific articles, historical documents, and news stories.

The Ferriss-UC Berkeley Journalism Fellowships

Administered by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, the Ferriss–UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship offers fifteen $10,000 grants per year to journalists reporting in-depth print and audio stories on the science, policy, business, and culture of this new era of psychedelics.

In addition to underwriting individual stories, the fellowship aims to establish and nurture a new generation of journalists covering the front lines of this rapidly changing field. We’re looking for big, underreported, narratively compelling stories placed in rich political, economic, scientific, and cultural contexts. We are committed to supporting journalists from diverse backgrounds and of all nationalities.

To learn more about how to apply, click here.

2022 Ferriss-UC Berkeley Journalism Fellows

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Ann Marie Awad

Denver, Colorado

Ann Marie is an award-winning independent journalist and podcast producer with more than a decade of experience in local news. Their work has appeared on NPR, Here & Now, and Life of the Law. As the creator and host of the podcast On Something, Ann Marie spent three years exploring the effects of rapidly changing drug policy on people’s everyday lives. They’re now working on a new podcast about psychedelics.

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Clayton Dalton

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Clayton is a writer and physician. He has written about the promise and peril of ibogaine for Wired, the complexity of medical testing for The New Yorker, exponential growth for The Guardian, iron metabolism for Nautilus, hospital overcrowding for Undark Magazine, and more. He hopes to never write about COVID-19 again. Clayton has a medical degree from Columbia University and trained at Harvard University. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, where he works in rural hospitals serving Indigenous communities. Clayton is working on a magazine story about psychedelics and a new paradigm of psychiatric treatment.

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Kimon De Greef

South Africa

Kimon is a freelance journalist from South Africa who has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Guernica, National Geographic, and other publications, including a story on 5-MeO-DMT, a hallucinogenic substance derived from Sonoran Desert toads, for The New Yorker. He coauthored a book on abalone smuggling with a poacher who began writing a memoir in prison. He holds a conservation biology masters from the University of Cape Town and a journalism masters from New York University. He’s currently working on a book about psychedelics.

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Kenya Denise

Brooklyn, New York

Kenya is the cofounder and creative director of Domino Sound, a new production studio creating innovative, educational, and provocative multimedia. She wrote, directed, and executive produced the narrative audio drama The Cheat Code, and she was audio ep on photographer Naima Green’s prototype digital archive of queer New York, Skin Contact. For Kenya, imagination and experimentation are key. Due to relocation after Hurricane Katrina, she grew up in both New Orleans and the DMV. She is a disabled Scorpio who hates racism. She is also a psychonaut who throws amazing parties and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Olivia Goldhill

Los Angeles, California

Olivia is an investigative reporter at STAT who has been reporting on psychedelic research and drug development since 2016. She’s interested in exploring how psychedelics fit within the existing model of health care and holding the industry to high standards to create the strongest protections for patients. Her previous reporting in this space includes investigating a potential magic mushroom monopoly and exposing sexual abuse in a psychedelic clinical trial. She is a 2021 EPPY Award finalist and a 2020 Livingston Award finalist. Before joining STAT, Olivia worked at Quartz in New York and The Daily Telegraph in London. In 2022, Olivia began work on a book for Bloomsbury called Psyched, about how emerging psychedelic therapies call into question the very foundations of the mental health industry.

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Tasmiha Khan

Bridgeview, Illinois

Tasmiha is an independent journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, and Vox, among others. Currently, Tasmiha covers a wide range of topics related to health, race, politics, culture, and religion. In 2021, Khan was named a Fellow for Knight Science Journalism at MIT, a Religion News Service/Interfaith America Journalism Fellow, and a Higher Education Media Fellow at the Institute for Citizens and Scholars and Education Writers Association. Most recently, her reporting has been supported by the Pulitzer Center. She is working on a story about psychedelics and American Muslims.

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Manal Zahid Khan

Brooklyn, New York

Manal is an independent journalist who tells stories in words, photos, and video. Her work has been at the intersection of gender, culture, cinema, and psychedelics. Her fellowship project dissects the relationship between queer identities and psychedelics in the megacity of Karachi. She is a Falak Sufi Fellow of the Near Eastern Studies and Journalism program at New York University.

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Ernesto Londoño

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ernesto is a journalist at The New York Times working on a book about the past and future of medicinal psychedelics that will be published by Celadon Books. Ernesto served as Brazil bureau chief at The New York Times from 2017 to 2022 and was previously a member of the Editorial Board, where he wrote about global issues. Before joining The Times, Ernesto worked at The Washington Post for nine years, where his assignments included covering the Pentagon, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Arab Spring. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Ernesto is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

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Shayla Love

Brooklyn, New York

Shayla is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Vice News for five years where she wrote about health, science, psychology, and psychedelics. She has a master’s degree in science journalism from Columbia University, and her work has appeared in Mosaic, STAT, Undark Magazine, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, The Atlantic, Vice, Harper’s Magazine, Gothamist, and others.

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Michael Mason

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Michael is a journalist and the author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008). He is the founding editor of This Land Press, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Discover, and elsewhere. His current project is the nonfiction book called Psychonaut, which explores the architecture of psychocosmic experiences through a psychedelic crime story.

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Jonathan Moens

Rome, Italy

Jonathan Moens is an Eritrean-Belgian science and investigative journalist based in Rome. He studied brain sciences in London and Paris, where he worked as a neuroscience research assistant, before pursuing journalism in New York. As a freelancer, he covers science, health, and environmental stories, which have been published in National Geographic, Undark Magazine, The Atlantic, and more. Jonathan is writing about a series of experiments in Europe using psychedelics as a treatment for patients in vulnerable states. He’ll examine the ethical, political, and scientific ramifications of these studies and hopes to produce a multimedia project merging long-form writing and photography.

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Rachel Nuwer

Brooklyn, New York

Rachel is an award-winning freelance science journalist and author based in Brooklyn. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, and more. She often writes about conservation, ecology, and illegal wildlife trade, and more recently has expanded her beat to include psychedelic science as well. Her next book, I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World (Bloomsbury, June 2023), will explore the science, history, politics, and culture of MDMA. For the fellowship, Rachel wrote about ibogaine for National Geographic.

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Cassady Rosenblum

Thomas, West Virginia

Cassady is a writer from West Virginia and proud alumna of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to being a 2022 Ferriss-Berkeley Fellow, she is also the 2022–2023 Opinion Fellow for The New York Times. She’s been fascinated by psychedelics ever since learning about her Beat Generation namesake, Neal Cassady, and is especially interested in writing about how psychedelics are spreading to red states and rural places. Cassady’s fellowship story ran in Rolling Stone magazine in June 2022. Read it here: “These Mormons Have Found a New Faith—in Magic Mushrooms.”

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Chris Walker

Denver, Colorado

Chris is a freelance journalist based in the Mountain West who specializes in narrative, long-form reporting. Over the past decade his work has spanned four continents, ranging from investigative journalism to arts and culture writing. His research into drug policy includes the 2020 narrative podcast series The Syndicate, about the rise and fall of a cannabis-smuggling empire in Colorado. Walker’s work can be found on his website. For his fellowship, Chris reported a four-part podcast digging into what’s going on with the two competing psychedelics ballot initiatives in Colorado.

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Ben Wyatt

South Orange, New Jersey

Ben is a British-born storyteller. Formerly a multimedia journalist and development executive for over a decade with CNN, Ben now tells stories across print, audio, and video for outlets including the BBC, The Guardian, Fast Company, and more. A recent graduate of The New School’s creative writing MFA program, his work has explored the effects of sport-related CTE and potential solutions psychedelic medicines may offer to those living with the condition.

2022 Selection Committee

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Tristan Ahtone


Tristan is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is the incoming editor-at-large at Grist. He previously served as editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer and Indigenous Affairs editor at High Country News. He has reported for Al Jazeera America, PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR, and National Geographic. Tristan’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from the Gannett Foundation and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. He also led the High Country News team that received a George Polk Award, an IRE Award, a Sigma Award, a Society of News Design Award, and a National Magazine Award nomination. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Tristan is a 2017 Nieman Fellow and a director of the MuckRock Foundation.

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Alan Burdick


Alan is a senior staff editor on the science desk of The New York Times and is the author of Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation. His first book, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the Overseas Press Club award for environmental reporting. Alan has worked as an editor at several publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Discover. His writing has also appeared in Harper’s, GQ, Natural History, On Earth, Outside, and the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is the namesake of asteroid number 9291. He lives outside of New York with his family.

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Adizah Eghan

Adizah is a senior producer at VICE Audio where she edits and produces episodes for VICE News Reports. Prior to VICE, she worked at The New York Times, where she produced The Daily and 1619. Her award-winning work has also aired on Snap Judgment, Reveal, NPR, KQED, and elsewhere. Adizah also served as an audio editor for the 11th Hour Food and Farming Fellowship at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Facilitation Certificate

Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation

Compelling research with psychedelics demonstrates promising benefits for improving mental health and spiritual well-being across a variety of clinical populations as well as those seeking personal growth. The results of these studies, as well as state-by-state policy changes, have highlighted the potential use of psychedelics for healing purposes. There is a growing need for professionally trained facilitators to provide safe, legal, sensitive, and effective psychedelic care. To address this need, BCSP’s Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation provides interdisciplinary training for advanced professionals, with an emphasis on spiritual care.

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Program Description

Applications for the 2023–2024 cohort are now closed. Please check back in December 2023 for information about the 2024-2025 cohort.

In September 2022, BCSP launched its Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation, designed for advanced religious, spiritual-care, and healthcare professionals working in areas such as chaplaincy, ministry, medicine, nursing, mental health counseling, psychiatry, and social work. To diversify enrollment from members of historically underrepresented groups, financial assistance is available to qualified applicants.

Concurrent with this training program, BCSP’s FDA-approved research study offers opportunities for healthy volunteers to access firsthand experiences with psilocybin. Medically eligible trainees may volunteer as participants in the study, thereby increasing their personal knowledge of psilocybin and their capacity to support others accessing psychedelic care.

BCSP’s novel program offers a 9-month, 200-hour approach to professional preparation for psychedelic facilitators:

  • 160 instructional hours include weekend immersions, small-group and online learning, contemplative practice, and two offsite retreats. Most immersions take place on the UC Berkeley campus. Offsite retreats will take place in the greater Bay Area. The remaining hours are fulfilled through a 40-hour practicum.
  • Eligible trainees may also choose to participate as healthy volunteers in BCSP’s legal, FDA-approved psilocybin research studies. In future years, trainees may have the opportunity to return for direct mentorship as co-facilitators for dosing sessions in the psilocybin research.
  • BCSP’s Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program is committed to providing culturally sensitive training that prepares facilitators to adequately address the needs of people from a diverse array of faith traditions and communities of origin. We acknowledge and engage with Indigenous and other traditional communities that have long been stewards of healing practices with psychedelic substances. Throughout the curriculum, we will explore matters of positionality, ethics, systemic marginalization, and sociocultural structures of power. Professionals from Indigenous or marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply.
  • This interdisciplinary certificate program integrates and applies eight core domains of knowledge:
    • Spiritual Care
    • Psychotherapeutic Methods
    • Ancestral Entheogenic Traditions
    • Clinical Science and Research
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    • Contemplative Science and Practice
    • Ethics
    • Reciprocity and Ecological Awareness

Program Philosophy

Principles of inclusion, reciprocity, and respect for all beings guide the BCSP Certificate Program. We aim to craft a learning environment that is safe and supportive for everyone, including BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, and other underrepresented groups. Our interdisciplinary curriculum blends contemporary scientific knowledge with ancestral and communal perspectives. In gratitude for the Indigenous traditions that have inspired our learning, we seek to respond with service and community engagement.

Each cohort is intentionally capped at 25 participants. A team of core instructors will develop deeper relationships with participants through ongoing small-group meetings.

Our core instructional team and guest faculty bring expertise in chaplaincy, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, and social welfare, as well as ethics and ancestral entheogenic traditions. We aim to develop a critical social consciousness on matters of power, marginalization, and inclusion in the broader field. Participants will examine how social positions shape experiences in the psychedelic-facilitation space.  

Psilocybin Focus

Our certificate program will emphasize psilocybin facilitation and its applications for spiritual and psychotherapeutic care, focusing both on traditional uses of this globally recognized medicine and current Western approaches to mental health. Our certificate was approved as a Psilocybin Facilitator Training Program through the Oregon Health Authority in 2022 (ID #TP-b174a696). We are currently in the process of pursuing HECC approval and anticipate receiving provisional approval in 2023. 

Parallel to our Certificate Program, BCSP’s clinical research team will be conducting basic psilocybin research in healthy volunteers. This FDA-approved study will investigate the mechanisms of action of low doses of psilocybin as well as the neurobiological, perceptual, and cognitive aspects of the psychedelic experience. Other studies will explore the enduring transformative effects of high-dose psychedelic experiences on emotion, stress regulation, and inflammation.

Educational Research and Evaluation

A central feature of the program will be ongoing research and evaluation. Faculty Director Dr. Tina Trujillo will conduct a formative and summative evaluation of the program’s design, implementation, and eventual impacts. Results from this evaluation will be used for continual program refinement and will be distributed throughout the field in support of best practices. 

In addition, Dr. Trujillo will conduct a longitudinal ethnographic study of the program to explore the sociocultural, political, and epistemological dynamics that transpire in the formation of a psychedelic facilitation program for culturally, professionally, and spiritually diverse learners.

Read more about Dr. Trujillo’s research here.


The curriculum is divided into seven modules. Each module includes our core instructors and guest faculty. Whole-group, small-group, and asynchronous online learning complement the immersive weekends. BCSP will grant certificates of completion to those who successfully complete the program.

Future graduates may also be eligible to participate in an immersive learning experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. This pilgrimage will provide firsthand educational experiences with the historical and spiritual origins of the Mazatec mushroom tradition from the perspectives of local Indigenous healers, scholars, and other community members.

Have a question? See our frequently asked questions below or contact us.


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Tina Trujillo

Faculty Director and Principal Investigator

Tina Trujillo is an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Education, where she has researched and taught about the politics of education; policy analysis; epistemology; and the links among education, democracy, and social justice. Her current interests focus on nature and well-being, as well as scientific, spiritual, and Indigenous ways of knowing. Tina is faculty director of the BCSP Certificate Program, where she conducts ethnographic research and an evaluation of the program. She is interested in understanding how this training can be diverse and inclusive, serve to identify best practices in the professional preparation of psychedelic facilitators, and advance the use of psychedelics as tools for mending humans’ relationships with the broader natural community.

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Moana Meadow

Program Director, Spiritual Care

Moana Meadow, MA, MDiv, serves as the Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program’s staff director. She also teaches on spiritual care for expanded states of consciousness. She completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at hospitals in California and Hawaii, and has worked as a hospice chaplain and spiritual director for over ten years. She was ordained as an interfaith minister at the Chaplaincy Institute, where she served as guest faculty and academic advisor until 2018. She later served as Executive Director of a non-profit church in Sonoma County. She has studied with indigenous elders in the United States and Mexico, and holds a BS from MIT, an MA from Boston University, and an MDiv from the Pacific School of Religion.

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Joseph Zamaria

Psychotherapy, Clinical Science, and Research

Joseph Zamaria, PsyD, ABPP, is a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist and an associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UCSF School of Medicine. At the BCSP, he directs the psychotherapy curriculum as well as the clinical science and research curriculum. He has been a researcher of psychedelics for over fifteen years, and at UCSF, has served as a therapist and researcher in clinical trials examining the potential of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to treat a range of conditions. Dr. Zamaria is a founding member of the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African Psychological Association (AMENA-PSY) and serves on the advisory board of the Fireside Project.

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Susana Bustos

Ancestral Entheogenic Traditions

Susana Bustos, PhD, is a psychotherapist and music therapist trained in Chile, whose work focuses on the transformative potential of expanded states of consciousness. A Holotropic Breathwork practitioner since 1999, Susana directed the Spiritual Emergence Network in the U.S. between 2016-2020. Her 20+ years of study of entheogenic traditions from the Americas, especially their healing practices and songs, brought her to teach and mentor students in psychedelic-assisted therapy trainings in the Bay Area and abroad, and to co-found the Escuela de Psicovegetalismo. At BSCP, she leads the Ancestral Entheogenic Traditions curriculum, aiming to bridge the conversation between anthropocentric healing systems and those based on the relationship of human cultures with other sentiences in nature.

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Eve Ekman

Contemplative Science and Practice

Eve Ekman, Ph.D., MSW, is a teacher, writer, and contemplative social scientist. At the BCSP, Eve leads experiential sessions on the science and practice of compassion, emotional awareness, and pro-social connection as supportive tools for psychedelic participants and healthcare professionals. Eve’s qualitative research has explored burnout, emotional awareness, psilocybin-assisted therapy, and meditation. With the support of the Dalai Lama, Eve and her father collaborated on the Atlas of Emotion, an online tool for developing emotional awareness. Eve is the lead trainer for the Cultivating Emotional Balance training program, Well-Being and Mental Health Lead at Apple, Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UCB, and a Mind and Life Institute fellow.

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Mary Sanders

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Mary Sanders, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and social justice advocate exploring transgenerational trauma with BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+, veterans, immigrants, refugees, and foster youth. Mary has completed training at CIIS CPTR, MAPS, and the Ketamine Training Center and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Mary works both in private practice and at the Veteran Affairs’ homeless program in San Francisco. She is a founding board member of the People of Color Psychedelic Collective. At the BCSP, Mary lectures on historical and current systems of oppression, explores collective healing through an intersectional lens, and facilitates conversations around community-oriented infrastructures that center accessibility, and culturally attuned care. She is currently completing training in Somatic Experiencing and Internal Family Systems.

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Kylea Taylor

Ethics for Expanded States

Kylea Taylor, M.S., LMFT, developed and teaches InnerEthics®, a self-reflective, self-compassionate approach to ethical relationship for therapists and practitioners. She has been writing and teaching about ethics for almost three decades. Kylea started studying with Stanislav Grof, M.D. and Christina Grof in 1984 and worked with Grof as a Senior Trainer in the Grof Transpersonal Training throughout the 1990s, facilitating and observing thousands of extra-ordinary state of consciousness sessions. She is the author of The Ethics of Caring: Finding Right Relationship with ClientsThe Breathwork Experience, Considering Holotropic Breathwork®, and is the editor of Exploring Holotropic Breathwork®. At the BCSP, she brings her expertise instructing learners in the nuances of ethics for psychedelic care.

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Kristina Hunter

Program Coordinator

Kristina Hunter is a mindfulness-based somatic counselor and writer with a specialization in psychedelic integration. She has spent over fifteen years studying the transformative potential of expanded states of consciousness with Indigenous and mestizo practitioners from Central and South America. Additionally, she has been studying and practicing Buddhadharma with Tibetan and American teachers for the past two decades. Kristina’s work explores the intersection of psychology, plant medicine, and Buddhist contemplative practice. She consults with clinicians on individualized approaches to psychedelic facilitation, with an emphasis on preparation and integration, self-awareness, and harm reduction. At the BCSP, Kristina supports the Ethics curriculum, tracks legislation and policy developments, and conducts research on programmatic content areas.

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Joody Marks

Project Manager

Joody Marks is a project manager and operations strategist, who specializes in change-making experiential programming. She is especially interested in promoting equitable access to transformative health care and has created and supported projects that focus on mindfulness, mutual aid, health equity, artivism, rural justice, nature connection, movement, farming, and food justice. At the BCSP, she manages operations and administrative systems for the Certificate Program. She brings over a decade of experience as an event coordinator and production manager in alternative healing, arts, and social justice spaces. Her approach is largely informed by her love of guiding people into wild places, and two decades as a contemplative spiritual practitioner in Tibetan Buddhist, yoga, and embodied awareness traditions.

2023–2024 Program Dates and Locations*

Module 1:

September 7 – 10, 2023, at UC Berkeley

Module 2:

October 20-22, 2023, at UC Berkeley

Module 3:

December 1-3, 2023, at UC Berkeley

Module 4:

January 10-14, 2024, at a residential retreat, location TBA

Module 5:

March 1-3, 2024, at UC Berkeley

Module 6:

April 12-14, 2024, at UC Berkeley

Module 7:

May 19-24, 2024; at a residential retreat, location TBA

*Subject to change

Eligibility and Admissions Criteria

BCSP’s Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program is designed for advanced religious, spiritual-care, and healthcare professionals working in areas such as chaplaincy, ministry, medicine, nursing, mental health counseling, psychiatry, and social work. We seek to enroll training cohorts composed of diverse backgrounds and welcome certified practitioners in relevant fields.

Religious professionals may hold board chaplaincy certification (BCCI) or may have completed one or more units of CPE, or they can demonstrate considerable experience providing spiritual care in their faith community. Those trained in traditional plant medicine lineages, who carry the support of their community, are also welcome to apply.

Healthcare professionals should have a professional degree and hold an active license or registration in their respective fields of clinical care. Health-care professionals with a bachelor’s degree and at least ten years of clinical experience will also be considered. Licensed midwives with significant experience will also be considered.

In general, trainees should be certified or licensed in their fields and demonstrate a minimum of five years of direct spiritual, mental, or behavioral healthcare experience.

BCSP encourages practitioners from historically underrepresented groups to apply and offers financial assistance to help promote diversity, equity, and access in the emerging field of psychedelic facilitation.

We will notify applicants no later than June 1, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the learning environment be like at BCSP?

We will create an intimate learning environment with at most 25 trainees. One of our program goals is to develop and study best practices for the field of training programs. The limited enrollment will allow us to research and evaluate our program model and to disseminate the knowledge generated to scholarly and practitioner communities.

Will the training take place online or in person?

Five non-residential immersions will be delivered in Berkeley, California. Two residential retreats will take place in the greater Bay Area. Regular asynchronous and online, small group learning will complement this in-person instruction.

What is the cost of your training?

Standard enrollment fees for the training program are $12,000, which includes all instruction and retreat costs. Applicants who cannot afford to pay this amount may apply to be considered for financial aid. We offer Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Scholarships and need-based assistance, subject to donor support. Applying for aid is not a guarantee of an award. Monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual installments can also be arranged.

If I am admitted and pay the enrollment fee, then change my mind and decide not to enroll, can I receive a refund?

No, the enrollment fee is nonrefundable. 

What is the application fee?

Our application includes a $150 submission fee. A waiver option is available for those who cannot afford the application fee.

Who are good candidates for admission?

We prioritize applicants with advanced degrees in relevant fields and/or those with significant professional experience. We recognize that the nature of safe, effective psychedelic facilitation requires a depth of professional judgment and self-awareness that grows deeper with time and relevant experience. Those in supervisory or teaching positions are also well-positioned to disseminate the empirical knowledge base about psychedelic facilitation.

At the same time, some professions (e.g., nursing, occupational therapy) require only a bachelor’s degree to provide a large portion of their direct patient care. International credentialing programs often differ from those in the United States. Traditional healers and practitioners with longstanding, rigorous training in other contexts may not have completed a formal degree but may possess deep experiential knowledge. We value a range of work experience and wisdom. Our admissions team will evaluate each application on its unique merit.

What are the dates and times of the in-person meetings?

The in-person meetings will take place on the dates listed in the program description. These immersions will include Friday and Saturday gatherings from 9:30am-5pm, and a Sunday gathering from 9:30am-3:30pm. Two offsite retreats will include extended days and hours. Admitted students will receive detailed information about programming before they commit to enrolling.

What will I be prepared to do in my work following this training?

Following completion of the certificate program, trainees will possess specialized knowledge about the field of psychedelic facilitation. Healthcare providers may be able to support psychedelic care or research, where regulations permit, in their licensed roles. Religious professionals may be able to offer psychedelic preparation and integration support to members of their communities of faith who undergo psychedelic care, where regulations permit, in a healthcare or research setting.  

Participants will also gain experience in a series of meditations and positive psychology-based practices drawn from contemporary contemplative science and social psychology. These practices support self-care for the health professional as well as providing evidence-based mind and body benefits to their clients. 

Trainees who complete the program will not be licensed, certified, or otherwise sanctioned to provide psychedelic care in settings where regulations do not permit this work.

What is the time commitment to complete the program?

In addition to our 160 instructional hours, an additional 40 practicum hours are required for the completion of our certificate. About 300 hours of reading, writing, and other assignments will be required. The commitment is about eight hours of homework per week throughout the nine months of training.

Your training will be focused on psilocybin. Will it also prepare me for work with other medicines?

We are an approved Psilocybin Facilitator Training Program (ID #TP-b174a696) through the Oregon Health Authority, and are currently in the process of pursuing HECC approval, with an anticipated provisional approval in 2023. The BCSP research team is also beginning an FDA-approved study of psilocybin in healthy volunteers. Therefore, our training will be focused on psilocybin. However, some research and case studies related to other psychedelic substances will be included. Many of the skills required for effective work with psilocybin will transfer to work in other legal settings.

Do you have any affiliation with the MAPS MDMA training?

BCSP has no formal affiliation with MAPS. However, many of our students and staff have completed the MAPS training or worked for MAPS in other contexts.

How does the BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program attend to the indigenous spiritual traditions that have evolved in relationship to psychedelic medicines?

Though there is no way for an academic program to fully encapsulate the indigenous spiritual traditions surrounding psychedelic medicines, we do share a value within our program of honoring the indigenous traditions that have held healing practices with plant and fungus sacraments for thousands of years. One of our core team members, Susana Bustos, teaches about Ancestral Entheogenic Traditions in each module. Another core curricular area, Reciprocity and Ecological Awareness, includes perspectives from various traditional lineages. Our Spiritual Care curriculum also addresses various orientations to spiritual faith and practice, including indigenous perspectives. Lastly, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curriculum addresses the lived experience of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups in relation to psychedelic medicines.

How does the BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program ensure diversity in its graduates?

Our students join our program as advanced professionals of varying ages and backgrounds. In 2022-2023, 40% of our student cohort members identify as BIPOC, as do half of our core instructional team members. Approximately 1/3 of our student cohort members identify as LGBTQ+, as do about 40% of our core instructional team members. We are fortunate to be able to provide significant scholarship support to marginalized groups, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized identities. In 2022-2023, 100% of students requesting aid were awarded scholarships at the level they requested. We also offer a fully funded mentorship program to students from these groups. The mentorship program pairs historically marginalized students with professionals in the psychedelic field from similar backgrounds to support their growth and development. Our DEI-specific curriculum receives approximately the same time and attention as other areas. It includes examinations of many different forms of marginalization, including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. We aspire to weave DEI considerations into all areas of our program and represent voices that contribute to more culturally sensitive learning for marginalized communities. 

Does the BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program require learners to participate in psychedelic experiences?

We cannot require direct psilocybin experience in a state or country that does not legally permit them. Many people don’t have access to plant medicines or fear legal consequences that disproportionately impact communities of color. However, we underscore the importance of first-hand experiences for our students and are doing our best to provide access, primarily through an FDA-approved study taking place on the UC Berkeley campus. While we acknowledge a scientific study in no way replicates a spiritual medicine ceremony, we trust that this unique form of access will support those who do not arrive with their own profound experiences. Secondarily, we are planning an immersion to Oaxaca, Mexico this summer so that students can meet and learn from traditional healers in that region. Lastly, as an OHA-approved training site, we look forward to providing practicum experiences for our students in the state of Oregon.

Does the BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program include practitioners who relate to these medicines from a spiritual rather than a scientific perspective?

Many of our applicants do arrive with deep relationships with psychedelic medicines, and they are invited to share about that relationship in their application and interview. We take that depth of experience into account when determining admission and have provided an opportunity for unlicensed, traditionally trained facilitators of psychedelic medicines to apply as well.

How does the BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program engender humility in its graduates?

Our core team members bring years of experience and assess each applicant for essential attributes such as humility, self-awareness, and commitment to social justice. All promising candidates are interviewed prior to admission and assessed for compatibility as a facilitator of psychedelic experiences. We hope students admitted to our program will leave deeply humbled by all they don’t know and committed to deep reciprocity in their future work. We intentionally recruit a racially diverse group of learners so that they may learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives and build alliances that support the psychedelic field going forward. We ask all our learners to examine their individual standpoints and worldview in service to cultivation of cultural humility.

Do you have a question that is not answered here? Contact us.

Equity and Reciprocity

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Reciprocity

In our work, BCSP prioritizes the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also strive to honor the Indigenous principle of reciprocity.

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Psychedelics research is undergoing a rapid expansion, but scientific interest in psychedelics often ignores or appropriates millennia of Indigenous practices with these plants, fungi, and compounds. Growing interest from users outside of Indigenous contexts has led to cultural appropriation, cultural destruction, and environmental harm. 

In our work, we strive to honor the Indigenous principle of reciprocity. We recognize our interconnectedness with multiple social and cultural communities. We aim to give back to the longstanding communities that have served as stewards of plant and fungal medicines. 

This commitment includes thirty-five Indigenous Research Student Fellowships over the next five years to support UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students from historically marginalized communities or whose work addresses issues of reciprocity and equity in psychedelic spaces. The fellowships are awarded to students interested in the scholarship, training, stewardship, public education, and journalism related to plant medicines and psychedelics. In 2022, we awarded $10,000 each to five graduate students and $5,000 each to two undergraduates. Read more about their projects here.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

BCSP aims to incorporate the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion across all our programs. We aim to accomplish this goal by engaging with a diverse array of leaders to help us understand the many perspectives related to plant and fungal medicines and psychedelics. This is an iterative, long-term process, but BCSP is fully committed to the necessary listening and learning. 

Our early initiatives include a pledge of at least ten percent of new unrestricted gifts to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives led by BCSP, as well as reciprocity work. We are also requesting that donors of funds earmarked for specific projects similarly permit us to use ten percent of their funds in this way. 

Additionally, thanks to a generous gift, the BCSP Certificate Program is able to offer scholarships, mentoring, and other financial assistance to promote diversity within the first-year cohort, as well as to help craft an inclusive learning environment.

2022 Indigenous Research Student Fellows

Photo of Yanabah Jaques
Yanabah Jaques

Yanabah Jaques (YAH-nah-bah HAWK-is) from the Navajo Nation and completed her BS in cognitive science at Brown University. As a Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute PhD candidate in Dr. Daniela Kaufer’s laboratory, her research investigates specific serotonin receptor subtypes bound by psilocybin and their contributions to the regulation of traumatic-stress-induced impulsive behaviors. She aims to use the support of the BCSP Indigenous Student Fellowship Program to contribute to evaluations of serotonergic hallucinogens’ behavioral effects and underlying mechanisms to help determine their potential for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Photo of Patricia Kubala
Patricia Kubala

Patricia Kubala is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation project, The Medicine World: Psychedelic Therapy and the Labor for an Otherwise, explores the complex intertwining of Indigenous, postcolonial, and countercultural histories through which psychedelic medicines and therapies came to be adopted in the United States. The dissertation elucidates what notions of illness and cure are at stake in the encounter between the Indigenous, the psychotherapeutic, and the pharmaceutical that is mediated through psychedelics, while also considering the ethics of a practice of healing that has its condition of possibility in settler-colonial relations of appropriation.

Photo of Weiying Li
Weiying Li

Weiying Li is a PhD student in the Learning Sciences and Human Development cluster in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. In partnership with teachers from rural China and California, her research focuses on designing culturally responsive science pedagogy using educational technologies and designing adaptive guidance using natural language processing in response to students’ everyday scientific ideas. Her current research with BCSP focuses on designing traditional Chinese medicine–related middle school science inquiry curriculum in partnership with local community leaders, local TCM doctors, and science teachers in rural China.

Photo of Emely Ortez
Emely Ortez

Emely Ortez is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Her interests in the lab include neuroscience and genetics. She researches the effects of psychedelics on the enteric nervous system of mice. Outside the lab, she’s a creative spirit who can be found reading, crocheting, painting, and taking her cat on walks around Berkeley.

Photo of Lina Turiya Richardson
Lina Turiya Richardson

Lina Turiya Richardson is a reentry psychology student at UC Berkeley. After nearly two decades of study and practice in several lineage traditions, Lina arrived at the university focused on the potential role of whole plant medicines in healing and mental health. Her personal experiences have fueled an interest in the function of prayer as one of several central, non-entheogenic practices common among Indigenous traditions in which ceremonial psychedelic medicine use is established. Over the last year, Lina has supported the evaluation of BCSP’s training program through UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. In addition to studying psychology, Lina is a consultant and educator working with startups founded by women. She also serves as a board advisor to Psychedelic Science at Berkeley, and is a UC Berkeley Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar.

Photo of Marlena Robbins
Marlena Robbins

Marlena Robbins is Diné from the Yeii Dine’e Táchii’nii (Giant Red Running into Water People) clan. She has been accepted into the Doctor of Public Health program, focusing on interdisciplinary studies and the advancement of Indigenous representation in sacred plant medicines. Her intention is to bridge Indigenous knowledge of sacred plants with Western clinical medicine, specifically in psychotherapeutic settings on tribal reservations.

Photo of Tiffany Taylor
Tiffany Taylor

Tiffany Taylor is a doctoral student in the department of anthropology. Previously, she received a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Columbia University and a Master of Science in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics from New York University. She graduated as a triple major and as a Student Marshal from the University of Chicago with undergraduate majors in Political Science, Sociology, and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. During her time at the University of Chicago, she was the sole recipient of the Brady Dougan Award in Economics. Her current research interests include visual, cultural, and medical anthropology; the science of psychedelics; human-computer interaction; social data science, bioinformatics, and systems biology; science and technology studies and ethnography. She loves learning languages and is studying Modern Greek.