Janis Phelps
Founder and director of the California Institute of Integral Studies Centre

Training the Next Generation of Psychedelic Therapists

Contributions in setting and implementing guidelines for the training of therapists who integrate MDMA and psilocybin into clinical treatments and research will be reviewed. As innovators of the first accredited training program in psychedelic therapies, we have learned much in the past 3+ years of training medical and mental health professions at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Highlights of the training methods include experiential and didactic learning, volunteer work, mentoring, online hybrid content, and retreats.

Recommendations for future training programs are the inclusion of non-licensed people trained as the second facilitator and public education in risk management in the use of psychedelics and empathogens such as MDMA. The most recent development of decriminalisation in some cities in the U.S. necessitates the implementation of training for wise use of plant medicines for the general public, such as that being developed by CIIS and Decriminalise Nature Oakland. In light of the challenges and opportunities within the current global political climate and the robust empirical findings in the field, innovations for training clinicians and educators in academic and community settings are a reality.

Janis Phelps, PhD, is the founder and director of the California Institute of Integral Studies Centre for Psychedelic Therapies and Research, the first academically accredited, post-graduate certificate training program for legal psychedelic-assisted therapy and research. Her publications in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, “Developing Guidelines and Competencies for the Training of Psychedelic Therapists” and her book chapter, “Training Psychedelic Therapists” in Winkelman and Sessa (editors), Advances in Psychedelic Medicine, have set guidelines for competencies and training programs for medical and mental health professionals. She is a leader in the field in bringing to fruition several models of training that incorporate the mind-body-spirit of the students with instruction from many of the foremost researchers and clinicians in the field of psychedelic medicine.

She is a board member of the Heffter Research Institute, the research organization that has funded and supported psilocybin research since the 1990’s in the U.S. Janis has been a professor at CIIS for the past 20+ years where she served as CIIS Dean of Faculty of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. A licensed clinical psychologist since 1988, she has held professorships in several U.S. universities’ graduate departments of counseling psychology, east-west psychology and clinical psychology. Her theoretical orientations include transpersonal and wellness models; Buddhism and Eastern disciplines; and phenomenology/existential philosophies.

Janis is passionate about supporting humans in the growth of their capacity for embodied compassion and altruism for each other and all species on our planet. Climate change and the imperatives of sustainability and biodiversity keep her life goals aligned and alert.