There is a growing need for more therapists, more clinicians and more researchers in the psychedelics industry, so several academic institutions around the world are heeding the call 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 the 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 and developing more programs as the needs of the industry grow.
For instance, the UC-Berkley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will do their 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 and the campus’ Institutional Review Board approval in May. They plan to enroll the first human subject volunteers this fall, depending on Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Research Advisory Panel of California approval.
Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, is also getting deeper into psychedelics studies. The institution has offered an “Introduction to Psychedelics” course since 2018. This course tracks 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.
Others 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 expects to train 1,125 psychedelic therapist graduates over the next three years. Its 2022 psychedelics therapist curriculum offers 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, 10-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.
- Ohio State University in Columbus is offering a new undergraduate course on psychedelics beginning this fall through the Department of Plant Pathology. “Psychedelic Studies: Neurochemistry, Plants, Fungi, and Society” is a comprehensive examination of the growing psychedelic studies field, including the relevant chemistry, ethnobotany, history, neurobiology, psychology and emerging policy options.
Beyond Educational Programs
While this expansion is exciting on its face, it’s not just the educating or training about the science of psychedelics that’s important. It’s about helping students spread the word about the value of psychedelics as a new mental and health wellness therapy.
The University of California-Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, for example, offers a Ferriss-UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship for up to 15 reporting scholarships of $10,000 per year. The awards are intended to cover reporting costs and living expenses during the course of the project.
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 also will improve the chances of receiving a grant.
Fellows will be chosen by a panel of working editors and journalists.
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.”