Psychedelic Therapist Training: The Fundamentals

By Julian Bost

So, you’re thinking about becoming a psychedelic therapist? Numinus' goal is to pave the path to certification for folks interested in this profound healing modality. We offer a range of courses to help fully prepare you for work and experiences in this field. Our Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy course is the first step. Collaborating with the folks over at Healing Maps, we created this blog series to provide both scientific rigour and practical insights into the training journey of a psychedelic-therapist. Whether you're a therapist looking to expand your skillset, or someone curious about the intricacies of this therapeutic field, you're in the right place.

 

The Emergence of Psychedelic Therapy

The undeniable potential of psychedelics, from MDMA's effectiveness in treating severe PTSD to psilocybin's impact on major depression, signals a profound shift. The word 'psychedelics' now echoes in coffee shops, office corridors, and even the National Football League. This cultural shift is evident when highly public figures like Aaron Rodgers discuss their ayahuasca use without repercussions.

 

On a larger scale, philanthropists and institutions are actively backing psychedelic research. The CEO of TOMS pledged $100 million to this cause, while venerable, longstanding institutions like Johns Hopkins University are conducting groundbreaking studies on the link between psychedelics and consciousness. On a global scale, Australia became the first country to legalize MDMA and psilocybin for prescription use.

 

Psychedelics have entered our culture through various avenues, from microdosing to shamanic retreats. However, the most regulated and standardized path may be through therapy. Over the last seven decades, psychedelic-assisted therapy has proven both safe and effective in Europe and North America, with Numinus being at the forefront of today’s movement. As psychedelics gain more approvals globally, the demand for mental healthcare professionals trained in this therapy is set to surge.

 

The Questions That Arise

The growing prominence of psychedelic-assisted therapy prompts crucial questions: How can one become a psychedelic therapist? What is the path, and what does it entail to step into the realm of psychedelic therapy?

 

In being a psychedelic therapist, your job will combine two key elements: The use of a psychedelic substance (such as psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA, etc.) coupled with traditional psychotherapeutic practices. 

 

It's important to note a couple of critical points. Without the therapeutic component, psychedelic use is often considered “recreational.” While recreational or “underground" use has its place, psychedelic therapy is deemed particularly effective due to its professionalism, safety, and therapeutic integration components.

 

The Role of a Psychedelic Therapist 

 

The role of a psychedelic therapist varies based on location but generally requires being a licensed mental healthcare professional. This includes clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and chaplains who have received specialized training in psychedelic therapy. In essence, a psychedelic therapist is a licensed mental health professional equipped to combine psychotherapeutic practices with guided psychedelic experiences, unlocking individuals' innate healing potential.

 

How to Get Involved

The future holds significant demand for certified psychedelic therapists, and you could be one of them. Explore Numinus' Certification Pathway for more information. As this field continues to evolve, it is vital to ensure our knowledge is rooted in evidence and thoughtful consideration. 

 

Stay tuned for our next article, where we will explore the global legal landscape of psychedelic therapy.

 

Meet Dr. Hyehyun Paek: Psychiatrist in Montreal

Honouring yourself and what drives you.

Meet Dr.Hyehyun Paek, Psychiatrist for Numinus in Montreal! We recently sat down with Dr.Paek and discuss her role at Numinus, her tips for self-care, and her love for the mission at Numinus. 

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What brought you to Numinus?

I stumbled upon Numinus serendipitously when I started my psychiatry practice out of Mindspace in Montreal. Soon after, Numinus began their psychedelics-assisted program here. I was impressed by the dedication to advance this field and all the different facets of Numinus such as research, training and client-oriented services. Most importantly, I truly felt that Numinus was doing it right by respecting and honouring the history and origins of psychedelics and plant medicines, which stems back to Indigenous roots.

 

Could you describe your role in 1-2 sentences?

I screen potential clients to see if they are eligible for psychedelics-assisted therapy by performing a clinical interview and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions. I try to capture a glimpse of each client’s history, personality, coping styles, life experiences, influences, strengths and their motivation during these assessments.

 

How do you act in service to yourself to make your mental health a priority?

- I actively prioritize my mental health - active, being the key word. I check in with myself regularly and engage in practices that recharge my battery like yoga, meditating, listening to music, journaling, walks in nature, pleasure reading and scheduling alone time.

- I try to set healthy limits and say ‘no’ as often as I can. Instead of feeling guilty when I say no, I try to celebrate it. It’s hard but it’s very important because if I’m not well, I cannot help others be well either.

- When I notice that I’m not doing well, I seek out help from friends or other professionals.

 

What do you love about Numinus?

I love being part of a big team whose values align with my own. We share a common goal and I feel that we are all in this for genuine reasons - because we really believe that what we do can truly help. We are all unique and have different approaches but I love that we can always come to an understanding and have respect for each other.

 

What inspires you the most about the field of psychedelics and mental health?

I am most inspired by the anecdotal stories of people whose lives have been changed by psychedelics. When I first learned about psychedelics in this context, I felt a deep sense of knowing that this was truly transformative. Hearing others share their journey of healing motivates me to expand on this work. Additionally, I am inspired by all healers and practitioners that have courageously advocated for the use of psychedelics in mental healthcare.

 

What has been the most transformative experience in your career so far?

Reconnecting with my spirituality has opened so many doors and possibilities for me in my career. Through this, I discovered that emotions live in the body and this re-shaped my entire conceptualization of mental illness. When emotions are not overwhelming, we can see that our bodies also hold inner wisdom that knows how to heal itself. From this understanding, I now have the tools to work with individuals, no matter how complex their story may be.

 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in your field?

I am still new to psychiatry so this is a hard question to answer. But I was given advice early in my career that has stuck with me. I was told ‘Don’t take risks with your career, play it safe. Don’t be a pioneer’. I remember my body going completely cold when I heard this because it was like being told to ignore my authentic nature. So my advice would be: When it comes to patient safety, always err on the side of caution. As for the rest, follow your intuition, no matter what others say.

Pride Month: Fostering Mental Health & Advocacy

Numinus Stands with the LGBTQ2+ Community

June 6th, 2023, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a leading LGBTQ+ advocacy group, declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States due to a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, primarily targeting transgender Americans. In 2023 alone, legislators from 41 US states introduced more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, with 220 of them specifically aimed at transgender people. These bills encompass a wide range of measures, such as denying transgender students the right to participate in sports, restricting access to gender-affirming healthcare, and prohibiting transgender individuals from using certain bathrooms.

Statistics derived from the Trevor Project's 2023 National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People reveal alarming figures. Within the past year, nearly 50% of transmen, transwomen, and nonbinary/genderqueer youth aged 13-25 seriously contemplated suicide, while over 20% of transgender young individuals attempted suicide. The survey also uncovered that rates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, depression, and anxiety among LGBTQ+ youth are two-to-three times higher compared to cisgender, heterosexual peers. The adverse effects of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation directly impact the mental health of queer youth.

We are currently facing an unprecedented mental health crisis within the LGBTQ2+ community. Without decisive and meaningful action, the social and political climate in the United States will continue to jeopardize the health and well-being of queer individuals. As a queer healthcare provider myself, I am devastated and appalled by the ongoing threats to the basic rights of queer people in our country. This Pride Season, it is my hope that mental health providers and organizations will reflect on how we can further advocate for and support the LGBTQ2+ community. Mere symbolic gestures, such as flying flags or posting on social media, will not suffice. We require fundamental and structural changes that permeate every aspect of mental healthcare, including the creation of affirming patient-care spaces and the elevation of queer voices in decision-making processes within institutions. The choices we make today will have a direct impact on the mental health outcomes of LGBTQ2+ individuals for generations to come.

At Numinus, we are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ2+ community. We prioritize creating a space where individuals of all gender identities and sexual orientations feel respected, affirmed, and free from discrimination. We strive to ensure that our services are accessible, sensitive, and tailored to meet the diverse needs of the LGBTQ2+ community. To our LGBTQ2+ clients and fellow providers, please know that you are seen, valid, and indispensable. Each of you brings unique contributions to this world that no one else can replicate, and together, we collectively enhance the beauty of this world.

 

LGBTQ+ Mental Health Resources

If you require emergency support or assistance, please reach out to the available support networks:

 

Written by Dr. Deven Jennings DNP, PMHNP-BC, APRN

Meet Cory Cooperman: Clinic Director in Montreal

Technology, Tools, and Changing Lives For The Better

 

Meet Cory, Clinic Director for Numinus in Montreal! Cory's dedication as Clinic Director provides transformative psychedelic-assisted therapies to those seeking healing and growth.

We recently sat down with Cory and discuss his role at Numinus, his passion for psychedelics and mental health, and his invaluable advice for anyone considering a career in this groundbreaking field.

What brought you to Numinus?

I came to Numinus as part of the Mindspace acquisition in February 2021. I was eager to join a company so aligned with our mission and values, pushing forward at the cutting edge of mental health care services.


Could you describe your role in 1-2 sentences?

As Clinic Director for Numinus in Montreal, I oversee the day-to-day operations of the clinic spaces in Montreal by managing the Care Coordinators and Personal Health Navigator, recruiting new practitioners (e.g., therapists, nurses, doctors), and administering our electronic medical record, billing and client scheduling system. Ultimately, when it comes to turning new programs into reality, such as our new Group Ketamine-Assisted Therapy pilot project, I am the lead in making sure everything is taken care of.


How do you act in service to yourself to make your mental health a priority?

I am blessed with a partner who happens to be a psychologist, as well as extensive training myself as a therapist, and it all starts with a strong work/life balance. I love to use technology (like Focus Modes in iOS) to help me maintain good work/life balance.


What do you love about Numinus?

I love the feeling of making a difference that comes from being part of Numinus, which is strongly felt when you connect with your co-Numis during meetings and see brilliant, caring people coming together to solve problems.

 

What inspires you the most about the field of psychedelics and mental health? 

I have concretely seen the difference mental health care, provided in a timely and evidence-based fashion, can make. It changes lives for the better, and there’s nothing more rewarding than that.

 

What has been the most transformative experience in your career so far?

I have been lucky to enough to get to transition from being a student therapist to someone who gets to enable practitioners in the field to do their very best for their clients. It brought me full circle, back to my roots in technology and management, while still getting to use my knowledge gained during my clinical training.

 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in your field?

Curiosity is your best tool, and if you approach challenges with a genuine openness to learning something new, even if you don’t solve a particular problem, you’ll come away with something that will help you the next time around.

 

Interested in joining the Numinus team? Check out all of our open roles HERE.

 

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Technologie, Outils et Changer des Vies

Rencontrez Cory, Directeur de clinique chez Numinus à Montréal ! L'engagement de Cory en tant que directeur de clinique permet de proposer des thérapies assistées par les psychédéliques à ceux qui recherchent la guérison et la croissance.

 

Nous nous sommes récemment entretenus avec Cory pour discuter de son rôle chez Numinus, de sa passion pour les psychédéliques et la santé mentale, ainsi que de ses précieux conseils pour toute personne envisageant une carrière dans ce domaine révolutionnaire.

 

Qu'est-ce qui vous a amené à Numinus ?

J'ai rejoint Numinus dans le cadre de l'acquisition de Mindspace en février 2021. J'étais impatient de rejoindre une entreprise si alignée avec notre mission et nos valeurs, poussant vers l'avant à la pointe des services de soins de santé mentale.

 

Pourriez-vous décrire votre rôle en une ou deux phrases ?

En tant que directeur de clinique pour Numinus à Montréal, je supervise les opérations quotidiennes des espaces cliniques à Montréal en gérant les coordonnatrices de soins et le navigateurs de soins, en recrutant de nouveaux praticiens (p. ex. thérapeutes, infirmières, médecins) et en administrant notre système de dossier médical électronique, de facturation et de prise de rendez-vous. Enfin, lorsqu'il s'agit de concrétiser de nouveaux programmes, comme notre nouveau projet pilote de thérapie de groupe assistée par la kétamine, c'est moi qui veille à ce que tout soit mis en œuvre.

 

Comment se mettre au service de soi-même pour faire de sa santé mentale une priorité ?

J'ai la chance d'avoir un partenaire qui est psychologue, ainsi qu'une formation approfondie en tant que thérapeute, et tout commence par un bon équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée. J'aime utiliser la technologie (comme les modes de concentration dans iOS) pour m'aider à maintenir un bon équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée.

 

Qu'aimez-vous chez Numinus ?

J'aime le sentiment de faire la différence qui découle de mon appartenance à Numinus, sentiment qui est fortement ressenti lorsque vous vous connectez avec vos co-Numis pendant les réunions et que vous voyez des personnes brillantes et bienveillantes se réunir pour résoudre des problèmes.

 

Qu'est-ce qui vous inspire le plus dans le domaine des psychédéliques et de la santé mentale ?

J'ai vu concrètement la différence que peuvent faire des soins de santé mentale fournis en temps opportun et fondés sur des preuves. Cela change des vies pour le mieux, et il n'y a rien de plus gratifiant que cela.

 

Quelle a été l'expérience la plus transformatrice de votre carrière jusqu'à présent ?

J'ai eu la chance de passer du statut d’étudiant au doctorat en psychologie à celui de personne qui permet aux praticiens sur le terrain de donner le meilleur d'eux-mêmes à leurs clients. Cela m'a permis de boucler la boucle, de revenir à mes racines en matière de technologie et de gestion, tout en continuant à utiliser les connaissances que j'ai acquises au cours de ma formation clinique.

 

Quels conseils donneriez-vous à quelqu'un qui souhaite entamer une carrière dans votre domaine ?

La curiosité est votre meilleur outil, et si vous abordez les défis avec une réelle ouverture d'esprit pour apprendre quelque chose de nouveau, même si vous ne résolvez pas un problème particulier, vous repartirez avec quelque chose qui vous aidera la prochaine fois.

Vous êtes intéressé(e) à rejoindre l'équipe de Numinus ? Consultez tous nos postes ouverts ICI.

Experience & Collaboration: A Practitioner's Approach To Teaching

Foundational Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training, Taught By Experts. 

Dr. Steve Thayer is a licensed clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. He started his career in the U.S. Air Force, overseeing a mental health clinic and managing programs for preventing and treating alcohol and drug abuse. Currently, he focuses on helping his clients through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, teaching counselling courses, and co-hosting a podcast on psychedelic therapy. Steve is facilitating the upcoming cohort of the Fundamentals of Psychedelic Assisted Therapy, and we asked him questions about the course and his teaching approach.

 

What experience do you bring to the Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy course?

As a clinical psychologist specializing in psychedelic-assisted therapy, I have helped thousands of clients navigate their own healing journeys. I have been trained by MAPS in MDMA-assisted therapy, provide ketamine-assisted therapy in my practice, and serve as lead therapist on several psychedelic clinical trials. I also supervise clinicians providing psychedelic-assisted therapy and facilitate psychedelic medicine retreats abroad.

 

What can students learn from you?

Students can expect to learn the essential skills, qualities, and principles necessary to provide effective, compassionate, and ethic psychedelic-assisted therapy. I like to emphasize the importance of clinician self-knowledge, self-development, and self-care as a key component to doing this work well.

 

How do you approach teaching this course?

I take a collaborative approach to teaching. There is so much we can learn from each other! I try to draw out the collective wisdom of each group I teach so that we can elevate and support one another .

 

Why should people take this course?

This course will equip professionals with the foundational knowledge and skills to practice psychedelic-assisted therapy. I have extensive experience teaching, supervising, and mentoring therapists and I am committed to helping the rising generation of practitioners wield psychedelic tools safely, powerfully, and responsibly.

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To learn more about the Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, click here. To listen to Steve on the Psychedelic Therapy Frontiers Podcast, visit Spotify, here.

How to Get the Most From Your Telepsych Visit

By Mallory Danielson M.P.H., PA-C

Communication over video has become the preferred method of many patients and providers given the situation with COIVD-19. Cedar Psychiatry does have video visits, or Telepsych as we like to call it, available to any patient doing a follow-up or intake visit.

HOW TO UTILIZE TELEPSYCH

  1. Make an appointment, let the staff know you’d like to have this visit be a Telepsych visit.

  2. Before your appointment please go to Cedar Psychiatry’s website (https://www.cedarpsychiatry.com/telepsychiatry) to find your provider’s individualized digital waiting room.

  3. This will take you to doxy.me, a HIPAA compliant, secure website that hosts our video chats

  4. You don’t need to make a log-in, just follow the prompts to let your provider know you’re there

  5. Once they’re ready, your provider will initiate the video chat.

HOW TO MAKE TELEPSYCH THE MOST EFFECTIVE

Most of us have used Google Hangouts or Facetime before but have never used it in a professional setting. To have your Telepsych visits be as effective, personable, and useful as your in-person visits we have a few tips:

1. SHOW UP EARLY

Head to your provider’s digital waiting room 5-10 minutes early to take advantage of doxy.me’s “Pre-call Test”. This will ensure your internet, camera, and microphone are working.

2. FRAME YOUR FACE

It’s hard to do a Telepsych visit when the other person is just a dark shadow or the camera is looking directly up their nose! Try to set up or hold your camera so it is still, so you can see your whole face, and try to have a light shining on your face so you can be seen.

3. CALL FROM A PRIVATE PLACE

Talking about your mental health can be difficult and personal. Make it a little easier by calling from a private place without interruptions. Try calling from a room with the door closed or even your parked car.

4. CALL FROM A QUIET PLACE

Having conversations in the background, the radio going, or other noises can detract from your conversation with your provider. Remember that this appointment is important to your mental health, take it seriously, and keep background noises to a minimum. Use headphones to reduce feedback.

5. BE ENGAGED

Video makes it easy to get distracted and forget proper conversation etiquette. Do your best to keep eye contact by looking into the lens of your camera. Stay still, don’t walk around, or do something else during your appointment. Remember, this is still your visit, respect your time and the time of your provider by making the most of this video call.

Reid Robison, MD named “Best Psychiatrist in Utah 2020”

Our founder & supervising Psychiatrist, Dr. Reid Robison, was just voted “Best Psychiatrist in Utah” in the Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Body & Mind 2020 Issue.

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Best Psychiatrist

REID ROBISON, MD

Born in Chicago, Reid Robison grew up in Toronto, Canada. He attended BYU where he earned a degree in neuroscience and went to the University of Utah where he received his MD and MBA degrees. As the medical director for Center for Change, he oversees acute inpatient care, residential care, day treatment, independent living and outpatient care for adolescents and adults who struggle with eating disorders, helping them live full lives after conquering anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.