Training

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 growing policy-based conversations, have brought greater attention to the potential use of psychedelics for healing purposes. Thus, there is a growing need for professionally trained facilitators to provide safe, legal, and effective psychedelic-assisted therapy. To address this need, BCSP’s Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation will provide interdisciplinary training for advanced professionals, with an emphasis on spiritual care.

Program Description

Applications now closed for 2022–2023 cohort.

In September 2022, BCSP will launch its Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation designed for advanced religious, spiritual-care, and health-care 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, we will offer financial assistance to qualified applicants.

Concurrent with this training program, BCSP’s FDA-approved research study will offer 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 psychedelic substances and their capacity to support others accessing psychedelic care.

BCSP’s novel program offers a 9-month, 175-hour approach to professional preparation for psychedelic facilitators:

  • The 150 instructional hours include weekend immersions, small-group and asynchronous online learning, contemplative practice, and a 5-day retreat. Most immersions take place on the UC Berkeley campus. The final retreat will be held off-site in the Bay Area. The remaining hours are fulfilled through a 25-hour practicum.
  • Eligible trainees may also choose to participate as healthy volunteers in BCSP’s legal, FDA-approved psilocybin research studies. Some eligible trainees may have the opportunity to return for a second year to receive 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 five core domains of knowledge: spiritual care; ancestral entheogenic traditions; contemplative science; psychotherapeutic methods; and clinical science and research.

Program Philosophy

The Certificate Program is guided by principles of inclusion, reciprocity, and respect for all beings. We aim to craft a learning environment that is safe and supportive for everyone, including BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities and other underrepresented groups. The first-year cohort, intentionally capped at twenty-four participants, will engage with a team of core instructors as well as develop a deeper, year-long relationship with one instructor through ongoing small-group meetings. 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.

Our instructional team brings content-area expertise and pedagogical knowledge, including perspectives from chaplaincy and religious studies, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, and social welfare, as well as teachings from 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 program is in the process of applying for recognition as a training center through Oregon Psilocybin Services and the Oregon Health Authority.

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 also 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.

Curriculum

The curriculum is divided into six modules:

  • Introduction to Psychedelic Facilitation
  • Foundations of Praxis in Psychedelic Facilitation
  • Cultural Humility, Intersectionality, and Social Justice
  • Healing Potential and Supportive Practices for Psychedelics I
  • Healing Potential and Supportive Practices for Psychedelics II
  • Moving Beyond the Self: Community, Reciprocity, and Service

Each module includes our core instructors and guest speakers. 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.

Team

See full biographies for team members here.

Tina Trujillo
Faculty director and principal investigator

Moana Meadow
Spiritual care and ethics for expanded states

Susana Bustos
Ancestral entheogenic traditions

Joe Zamaria
Psychotherapy and clinical research

Eve Ekman
Contemplative science

Mary Sanders
Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Kristina Hunter
Curriculum support and policy research

Joody Marks
Project management

2022–2023 Program Dates and Locations

Module 1:

September 8–11, 2022, at UC Berkeley

Module 2:

October 7–9, 2022, at UC Berkeley

Module 3:

November 18–20, 2022, at UC Berkeley

Module 4:

February 3–5, 2023, at UC Berkeley

Module 5:

March 24–26, 2023, at UC Berkeley

Module 6:

Five-day residential retreat in May 2023 (exact dates and Bay Area location TBD) 

Eligibility and Admissions Criteria

BCSP’s Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program is designed for advanced religious, spiritual-care, and health-care 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.

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

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

The 2022–2023 application period is now closed. Please check back in December 2022 for next year’s application link, or send us an inquiry to be added to our application notification list.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the learning environment be like at BCSP?

We will create an intimate learning environment with twenty-four 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 disseminate the knowledge gained to scholarly and practitioner communities.

Will the training take place online or in person?

Five nonresidential immersions will be delivered in Berkeley, California. A final residential retreat will take place in the greater Bay Area. Regular asynchronous, small-group online learning will complement this in-person instruction.

What is the cost of your training?

The enrollment fee is $10,000. Applicants who cannot afford the fee can apply to be considered for financial aid. However, only a limited amount of financial support exists, and applying for aid does not guarantee an award. Monthly, quarterly, or semiannual payment 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 $120 submission fee. For those who cannot afford the application fee, a waiver option is available. 

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 will also be prioritized, as they are well-positioned to disseminate the knowledge gained through the certificate program.

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, and international credentialing programs often differ from those in the United States. Traditional healers and practitioners with long-standing, 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. Each application will be evaluated based 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 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and a Sunday gathering from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The initial immersion and the final retreat 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 the first-year certificate program, trainees will possess specialized knowledge about the field of psychedelic facilitation. Health-care 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 health-care or research setting.  

Participants will also be trained and certified to deliver a series of meditations and positive psychology-based practices drawn from contemporary contemplative science and social psychology. These practices support self-care for health-care professionals and provide evidenced-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.

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