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The Future Psychedelics Workforce is Getting Schooled Today

A jump in research studies sparks increased educational programs.
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There is a growing need for more therapists, more clinicians, and more researchers in the psychedelics industry. Academic institutions around the world are beginning to add courses and training programs to their list of curricula available for any student who wants to specialize in some aspect of psychedelics, in an effort to quickly build a psychedelics workforce.

There are a reported 306 academic institutions around the world working on 628 psychedelics projects—37 at Yale alone—with many of them including their project research in their student coursework as well.

Much of the research today is being done at stalwart academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research; and New York University’s Center for Psychedelic Medicine, each with their own specific psychedelics study groups featuring some of the top mental health researchers in the world, developing more programs as the needs of the industry grow. 

For instance, the UC-Berkley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will do its own research using low-dose psilocybin functional MRI experiments to obtain a deeper understanding of the neural correlates of the psychedelic experience. This study protocol received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in January 2022, and the campus’ Institutional Review Board approval in May 2022. They are planning to enroll their first human subject volunteers in the fall of 2022, depending on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Research Advisory Panel of California approval. 

Also getting deeper into psychedelics studies is Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California, which has been offering an “Introduction to Psychedelics” course since 2018. This course has and will continue to track ongoing and developing clinical applications and scientific investigations of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted treatments. Neuroscientific, clinical, and psychological perspectives are discussed in the course, as well as the historical, legal, and cultural aspects of psychedelic medicine, according to the program’s website.

Other university psychedelics courses and training programs of note include:

– The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, is expecting to train 1,125 psychedelic therapist graduates over the next three years. Their 2022 psychedelics therapist curriculum includes 150 total hours of instruction, including 120 hours of in-class learning (online and/or in-person) and 30 hours of individualized learning, mentor consultations, and online video instruction.

– Boulder, Colorado-based Naropa University’s Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is a new, ten-month, 200-hour contemplative-based professional training program featuring a hybrid delivery of online and intensive retreat-based learning. Trainees will receive education in essential aspects of psychedelic-assisted therapy, trauma-informed care, and spiritual integration. It is run by the Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies in partnership with the Naropa Extended Campus.

– Ohio State University in Columbus is offering a new undergraduate course on psychedelics beginning this fall. The course, available in the Department of Plant Pathology, is “Psychedelic Studies: Neurochemistry, Plants, Fungi, and Society.” It’s a comprehensive examination of the growing psychedelic studies field, including the relevant chemistry, ethnobotany, history, neurobiology, psychology, and emerging policy options.

And it’s not just the educating or training about the science of psychedelics. It’s about helping students spread the word about the value of psychedelics as a new mental and health wellness therapy.

One example comes from the University of California-Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, called the Ferriss-UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship. The fellowship is offering 15, $10,000 reporting scholarships per year. Reporting grant applicants need to submit a well-researched and compelling story pitch, three published or aired work samples, a resume, and two letters of reference. 

A letter from a media outlet expressing interest in publishing or airing the story will improve the chances of receiving a grant. Fellows will be chosen by a panel of working editors and journalists. Awards are intended to cover reporting costs and living expenses. 

The fellowship encourages journalists exploring the field to really dig into what is going on, reporting in-depth print and audio stories on the science, policy, business and culture of psychedelics. 

The fellowship wants to establish and nurture a new generation of journalists covering the frontlines of psychedelics, according to the website information. “We’re looking for big, underreported, narratively compelling stories placed in rich political, economic, scientific, and cultural contexts.”

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