5 Key Takeaways of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training

Take an expedition into the heart of psychedelic-assisted therapy with Numinus’ Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy course. In this 8-week virtual training, you will uncover a wealth of insights and skills that transcend conventional forms of mental health treatment options. 

The Course Unveiled

At the core of this journey lies the opportunity to learn from seasoned Numinus practitioners. Our team’s real-life experiences in integrative and transformative mental wellness will be your guideposts, illuminating genuine scenarios and situations that you’ll likely uncover as you build your career as a psychedelic therapist or guide.

Key Learnings

Holistic Model of Care

Psychedelic Therapy Arc

Inner Healing Intelligence

Psychological Flexibility in Practice

Navigating Altered States

Professional Resilience

As you emerge from Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, you not only carry a certificate of completion but a newfound community. This course extends beyond education; it's an opportunity to build connections with like-minded individuals who share your commitment to reshaping the future of mental health. Listen to Fundamentals alum Reilly Capps reflect on his experience with our training.

Join Numinus in contributing to the evolution of mental healthcare. Enroll in the transformative journey of Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy and empower yourself to make a lasting impact on the well-being of those you serve.

Sign up for Fundamentals today! 

Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training: Claudia's Experience

The below testimonial was written by one of our Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy learners, Claudia Bastien. Claudia is a breath work and cold exposure facilitator who applied her studies in this course to holistic healing - an indirect yet adjacent and highly applicable field of work for this certification. 

At the end of 2023, I completed my Fundamentals of Psychedelic Assisted Therapy (PAT) Training with Numinus.

To be honest, when I signed up for this training, my primary motivator was not to hold plant medicine sessions.

To be honest it still isn’t my motivator.

No, I choose to take on this training to expand my tool box in assisting and supporting individuals through altered states of consciousness that aren’t achieved by ingesting a psychedelic substance… but instead, altered states of consciousness that one can tap into via one’s own breath and body… through breath work and cold exposure therapy.

After 3 years of guiding cold exposure and utilizing breath to help individuals to regulate their own nervous systems… I’ve seen first hand the sheer power that breath and cold water can have on an individual. After 7yrs of my own practice, I know first hand the impacts that these modalities have on the psyche. I have felt the psychedelic-like effects that wash over the body after a particularly good breath work or cold exposure session. The out of body feeling - the floating - the melting - the humming. The interoception of feeling one’s heartbeat, the circulation of the blood around the body - the lungs collapsing and expanding. The tingles. The sounds in the ears, the deafening silence, the ringing.

In my experience breath work & cold exposure therapy can lead to impactful psychedelic-like effects. Although short-lived in experience - the “downloads” one receives can be concentrated and intense.

It is all this that lead me to training with Numinus.

Here is what impressed me most during my 8-week long intensive.

Whether you are a licensed or unlicensed practitioner, I think anyone who works with individuals who enter altered states of consciousness could benefit on the knowledge expansion that you receive by taking the Fundamentals in PAT training.

It was a challenging 2 months, but I couldn’t recommend this training enough… and that’s my honest, unsponsored opinion.

Westernized Education Framework.

The training is set up within a westernized education framework. As someone who dedicated 10+ years of my career to working with postsecondary education - I highly value an education that makes me feel like I'm attending a recognized university.

Professional. Responsible. Accountable. 

With 2.5 hour pre-work modules, 3 hour live interactive sessions with Numinus practitioners (registered and practicing counselors & physicians), small group learning sessions, and interactive exercises with the class every week… for something as serious as guiding others through medicine journeys, I find peace in knowing that this course is challenging and demanding. After losing a loved one to an intricate mental health journey that was spurred by an intense plant medicine session, I was glad to see that Numinus takes the weight of training seriously.

Comprehensive Curriculum.

The volume of information divulged module to module was intense. I still can’t believe how much was covered in essentially 50 hours over 8 weeks. I learned new and innovative ways to make adjustments to the way in which individuals can prepare for their session, language that can be helpful in communicating boundaries and expectations, and best practices around supporting individuals through their unique integration journeys. Much to my delight, we talked at length about the Nervous System and how altered states of consciousness can benefit the regulation and reset of the NS. We covered medicine sessions, different medicines, case studies, practitioner self care, and so much more.

Click to learn more about our Fundamentals Course and the entire Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Certification Pathway.

The Impact of Psychedelic Harm Reduction In Therapy

3 Benefits of Using a Harm Reduction Framework in Your Therapy Practice

According to a recent study by the National Institute of Health, psychedelic use is on the rise. The percentages of young people who said they used hallucinogens in the past year had been fairly consistent for the past few decades, until 2020 when rates of use began spiking. In 2021, 8% of young adults said they have used a psychedelic drug in the past year, the highest proportion since the survey began in 1988. Reported hallucinogens included LSD, mescaline, peyote, shrooms, PCP and MDMA (aka molly or ecstasy).

With this increase in recreational psychedelic use, there is a growing need for mental health professionals to expand their practices to support harm reduction and psychedelic integration needs. Here are the top 3 reasons practitioners should adopt a harm reduction framework in their therapy practice.

 

1. Builds Trust & Rapport With Clients

By maintaining a non-judgemental, accepting, compassionate, curious, and positive stance when exploring a client’s substance use, as well as other risky or harmful behaviours, you are directly contributing to the trust that client has with you. Being open and curious signals to the client that they are safe to walk through their thought process and current decision-making around psychedelic use, where you can gently advise on any dangers and practices they should take into consideration. When supported in this way, these clients are more likely to stay with you long-term and if you decide to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy in the future, they may feel comfortable turning towards psychedelic care provided by you. 

 

2. Helps Clients To Make Informed Decisions

When psychedelic medicines are used outside of clinical settings, proper education, preparation, and support can mitigate potential harms and increase the likelihood of clients having productive experiences (Gorman et al., 2021).  

Particularly with the medicines used in psychedelic-assisted therapy, clients may start treatment with some inaccurate information about the psychedelic medicine being used. The internet (particularly social media platforms) is full of misinformation about psychedelic medicines, their effects, adverse effects, and anticipated experiences. 

When a client has a more fulsome understanding of experiences and the decisions associated, potential benefits and harms are affected in ways that can enhance and protect their experiences, further contributing to trust this client has with you. 

 

3. Presents A Unique Opportunity To Work With Your Clients

When discussing psychedelic use, an important role you can play with your clients is to help with the integration work. Working on integration is your opportunity to keep the positive changes engendered by psychedelic experiences alive. In this regard, good integration work with your clients will help facilitate lasting changes and could reduce the need for ingesting medicines recreationally outside of a clinical setting. Not only is this an opportunity to work more with your client, but it’s a unique opportunity to really dive into positive and meaningful changes that are important to your client, which can facilitate deeper connection and meaning making as part of your regular appointments. 

 

In Conclusion: 

“Using a harm reduction framework in your clinical practice allows you to support your clients with non-judgmental, compassionate, and acceptance-oriented care. We should expect that clients may choose to use substances outside of the clinical setting, and that providers can play an important role in mitigating any harms associated with that, through building trust and rapport. We teach a harm reduction framework in our Psychedelic-Harm Reduction and Integration course at Numinus, which includes transparent discussions around the legal and ethical responsibilities in doing this work. Psychedelic use is going to continue to rise as more folks seek the healing potential of these medicines, so education in this area is going to become increasingly important.” 

- Amanda Giesler, Director of Training

 

Learn More: 

Join us for a 2-day introductory workshop on the practice of Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration (PHRI) and learn the tools needed for educating clients about altered states of consciousness and how to integrate these experiences. Click here to learn more.

 

*The continuing professional development program in no way promotes, condones, or facilitates illegal activity, and is strictly for educational and harm reduction purposes only. Please be aware that certain psychedelic substances still remain illegal in many jurisdictions, including Canada. This program and the contents of this website do not constitute medical advice, and are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment.

The Importance Of High Quality Therapist Training

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Fundamentals & The Numinus Care Model

 

Dr. Devon Christie is the Senior Lead of Psychedelic Programs with Numinus and one of our lead trainers. This August, we're offering two cohorts of our Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy training program to meet the growing demand for education in the space. We sat down with Dr.Christie to talk about the program, why psychedelic-assisted therapy is so important, and how the Numinus Model of Care.

 

Introduce yourself briefly and your experience with psychedelics

I’m Dr. Devon Christie, and I’m the Senior Lead of Psychedelic Programs with Numinus. I’ve played a big role from Numinus’ early days, in developing our psychedelic-assisted therapy treatment protocols, and our psychedelic therapist training programs. Alongside this, I wear a number of hats in my clinical practice - I have a focused medical practice in chronic pain and mental health, and I’m a psychotherapist with certifications in Relational Somatic Therapy for trauma, MDMA-assisted therapy, Ketamine-assisted therapy, Level 1 IFS, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I am passionate about educating future psychedelic therapists and providers and contributing to a more healing healthcare system through careful integration of psychedelic-assisted therapies.

I came across psychedelics quite academically in 2011, when I attended a conference in Vancouver BC featuring an author and colleague whom I have deep respect for, Dr. Gabor Maté. I was surprised to learn about his collaborations with Shipibo-trained healing practitioners working with a brew called ayahuasca - a psychedelic plant medicine from the Amazon. I had never heard of this, and it piqued my interest. In 2012, I had my first experiences with ayahuasca, propelling a deep journey of personal exploration and healing that saw me journey to Peru to study Shamanic Yoga, where I had the privilege to learn with Shipibo Indigenous medicine people working ayahuasca and Quero people working with huachuma (a psychedelic cactus). In 2012, I also learned about promising results from clinical trials on MDMA-assisted therapy treating post-traumatic stress disorder, and this captivated and inspired me to become a trauma therapist, in preparation to pursue a therapist role in MDMA-assisted therapy clinical trials taking place in Vancouver and around the world.

Why should people care about psychedelics and current treatment offerings?

While psychedelic substances come with the baggage of stigma stemming from historic propaganda, the truth is there may be important and significant benefits for a range of health conditions when certain psychedelics are combined with therapeutic protocols in a carefully curated healing environment. Psilocybin (the active compound in “magic mushrooms” producing psychedelic effects) when combined with therapy has been recognized as a possible breakthrough treatment for severe treatment-resistant depression, and there is strong evidence for its role in end-of-life anxiety, and additional evidence for substance use disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. MDMA-assisted therapy is a recognized potential breakthrough treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, with strong evidence demonstrating safety and positive outcomes far beyond other existing therapies. Ketamine-assisted therapy can also be effective for treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress, substance use disorders, and other conditions. What is interesting about all these treatments, is they are combination treatments, where the psychedelic substance is only given on a few occasions and acts as a catalyst or amplifier when combined with therapeutic process inherent in the treatment protocol aimed at healing. This is different from how we typically think about pharmaceuticals, which are generally given daily or multiple times a day as the primary treatment for symptom reduction. I have worked to ensure that our Numinus protocols and therapists delivering our protocols are harnessing the best evidence regarding how to optimize the therapeutic environment and process for our clients.

What is the Numinus Model of Care?

We developed the Numinus Care Model to serve as a framework to emphasize and guide priorities and decision making about how we care for our clients at Numinus, and to inspire other entities in the space to also consider prioritizing, for the benefit of all people seeking care. Our care model is made up of seven guiding principles:

  1. Trauma-Informed Care
  2. Justice, Equity, Dignity and Inclusivity (JEDI)
  3. Cultural Safety and Humility
  4. Connection: Relationship-centered Care
  5. Mindfulness
  6. Embodiment
  7. Harm Reduction

Our therapists are trained to prioritize these seven guiding principles through their ongoing education, and as they care for our clients in all circumstances. It is the basic framework informing our Fundamentals of PAT program.

What is the Fundamentals of PAT program?

The Fundamentals program is based on a manual we developed to help Numinus scale psychedelic-assisted therapy while maintaining a high standard of therapist training and PAT delivery. While it was initially intended for our internal therapist community, we decided to also offer it externally, to increase access for anyone interested in providing PAT to its valuable content. It is an 8-week program that combines self-paced online modules and weekly 3-hour live sessions with a team of expert facilitators. The live sessions create opportunities to observe, practice and integrate the unique skills and knowledge required for best practice with PAT. It is designed to provide a comprehensive foundation that can be built upon with continued learning and practice, that supports practitioners to become excellent psychedelic therapists and/or members of an interdisciplinary team delivering PAT. As such, it is a foundational component of the Numinus certification path for providers of PAT.

What is it like to teach this program?

It’s delightful and inspiring to interact with interdisciplinary cohorts of people who are earnestly and keenly interested in delivering PAT with integrity and great care. I love guiding and demonstrating practices and skills, and hearing how these impact the participants; I also love hearing about participants’ experiences practicing the skills in small groups, and the ‘aha’’s and the important insights gained. There is such rich experience and knowledge in every cohort, and this inspires and encourages me in my own ongoing professional development and dedication to this work.

Why should providers train with Numinus?

I really stand behind our training, not only for its content which incorporates best evidence and practice and all the principles of our Care Model, but also for it’s emphasis on experience-based learning and practical application of knowledge and skills gained. A lot of trainings out there (and I teach in several of them) are great at delivering up to date information, but lack in opportunities to really embody and practice the skills that are ultimately needed when supporting people in PAT – so our program really shines in this area. We are also unique for our embodiment, mindfulness, and trauma-informed emphasis, which the literature increasingly supports as essential components to optimally synergize with the powerful effects of psychedelic medicines. Finally, our lead trainers are excellent; they all have extensive experience, from plant medicine integration, to psychedelic therapy research experience, to mindful inquiry adult education, to trauma therapy, and collectively have practical experience with a variety of psychedelic compounds including ayahuasca, MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin in a variety of settings.

I really hope you can join us for training at Numinus, would love to see you there!

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To learn more about the Fundamentals of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, click here. To view all of our training programs, click here.

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.