Compelling research with psychedelics demonstrates promising benefits for promoting mental health1 and spiritual wellbeing2 across a variety of clinical populations and persons seeking personal growth. The results of these studies, as well as growing policy-based conversations, have inspired greater attention to the potential use of psychedelics for healing purposes. Thus, there is a growing need for professionally trained facilitators to provide safe, legal and effective psychedelic care. To address this need, BCSP will provide interdisciplinary training for advanced professionals within a spiritual care framework.
In September 2022, BCSP will launch its Certificate Program in Psychedelic Facilitation designed for advanced religious, spiritual care, and healthcare professionals working in areas such as chaplaincy, ministry, medicine, nursing, mental health counseling, psychiatry, and social work. To diversify enrollment from members of historically underrepresented groups, we will offer financial assistance to qualified applicants.
Concurrent with this training program, BCSP’s FDA-approved research study will offer opportunities for healthy volunteers to access first-hand experiences with psilocybin. Medically eligible trainees may volunteer as participants in the study, thereby increasing their personal knowledge of psychedelic substances and their capacity to support others accessing psychedelic care.
The BCSP’s novel program offers a 9-month, 175-hour approach to professional preparation for psychedelic facilitators:
150 instructional hours include weekend immersions, online small group and asynchronous learning, contemplative practice and a 5-day retreat. Most immersions take place on the UC Berkeley campus and the final retreat will be held off-site in the Bay Area. Experiential learning comprises the remaining 25 program hours, which trainees can fulfill in a variety of ways.
Eligible trainees may choose to fulfill their experiential hours by participating as healthy volunteers in BCSP’s legal, FDA-approved psilocybin research studies. Some eligible trainees may also have the opportunity to return for a second year to receive direct mentorship as co-facilitators for dosing sessions in the psilocybin research.
The BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program is committed to providing training that is culturally sensitive, and that prepares facilitators to adequately address the needs of people from a diverse array of faith traditions and communities of origin. We acknowledge and engage with indigenous and other traditional communities that have long been stewards of healing practices with psychedelic substances. Throughout the curriculum, we will explore matters of positionality, ethics, systemic marginalization, and sociocultural structures of power. Professionals from indigenous or marginalized communities are encouraged to apply.
In partnership with the Graduate Theological Union, this training program draws upon a three-part, interdisciplinary teaching framework: Indigenous and contemplative practice traditions, Spiritual care and psychotherapeutic approaches, and Psychological science and research (ISP).
The curriculum is divided into six modules:
- Introduction to Psychedelic Facilitation
- Foundations of Praxis in Psychedelic Facilitation
- Cultural Humility, Intersectionality, and Social Justice
- Healing Potential and Supportive Practices for Psychedelics I
- Healing Potential and Supportive Practices for Psychedelics II
- Moving Beyond the Self: Community, Reciprocity, and Service
Each module includes our core instructors and guest speakers. Whole-group, small-group, and asynchronous learning complement the immersive weekends. Certificates of completion will be granted to those who successfully complete the program.
Future graduates may also be eligible to participate in an immersive learning experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. This pilgrimage will provide first-hand educational experiences with the historical and spiritual origins of the Mazatec mushroom traditions, from the perspectives of local indigenous healers, scholars, and other community members.
- Module 1: Sep. 8 – 11, 2022; at UC Berkeley
- Module 2: Oct. 7 – 9, 2022; at UC Berkeley
- Module 3: Nov. 18 – 20, 2022; at UC Berkeley
- Module 4: Feb. 3 – 5, 2023; at UC Berkeley
- Module 5: Mar. 24 – 26, 2023; at UC Berkeley
- Module 6: 5-day residential retreat (exact dates/location TBD) but will be between May 20 – 26, 2023
Eligibility and Admissions Criteria
The BCSP Psychedelic Facilitation Certificate Program is designed for advanced religious, spiritual care, and healthcare professionals, working in areas such as chaplaincy, ministry, medicine, nursing, mental health counseling, psychiatry, and social work. We seek to enroll training cohorts composed of diverse backgrounds and welcome certified practitioners in relevant fields.
Religious professionals may hold board chaplaincy certification (BCCI) or may have completed one or more units of CPE; or they can demonstrate considerable experience providing spiritual care in their faith community.
Healthcare professionals should have a professional degree, and hold an active license or registration in their respective field of clinical care. Healthcare professionals with a bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of clinical experience will also be considered (i.e. RN, OT, etc.)
In general, trainees should be certified or licensed in their fields and should demonstrate a minimum of 5 years of direct spiritual, mental, or behavioral healthcare experience.
BCSP especially encourages practitioners from historically underrepresented groups to apply and offers financial assistance to help promote diversity, equity, and access in the emerging field of psychedelic facilitation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will the learning environment be like at the BCSP?
We will create an intimate learning environment with fewer than approximately 25 trainees. One of our program goals is to develop and study best practices for the field of training programs. The limited enrollment will allow us to research and evaluate our program model, and to disseminate the knowledge generated to scholarly and practitioner communities.
Will your training take place online or in-person?
Five non-residential immersions will be delivered in Berkeley, California. A final residential retreat will take place in the greater Bay Area. Regular asynchronous and online, small group learning will complement this in-person instruction.
What is the cost of your training?
The enrollment fee is $10,000. Applicants who cannot afford to pay this amount may apply to be considered for financial aid. A limited amount of financial support exists. Applying for aid is not a guarantee of an award. Monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual installments can also be arranged.
If I am admitted and pay enrollment fees, then change my mind and decide not to enroll, can I receive a refund?
No, you will not receive a refund.
What is the application fee?
Our application includes a $120 submission fee. For those who cannot afford the application fee, a waiver option is available.
Am I a good candidate for admission?
We prioritize applicants with advanced degrees in relevant fields, and/or those with significant professional experience. We recognize that the nature of safe, effective psychedelic facilitation requires a depth of professional judgment and self awareness that grows deeper with time and relevant experience. Those in supervisory or teaching positions are also well-positioned to disseminate the empirical knowledge base about psychedelic facilitation.
At the same time, some professions (e.g., nursing, occupational therapy), require only a bachelor’s degree to provide a large portion of their direct patient care. International credentialing programs often differ from those in the U.S. Traditional healers and practitioners with longstanding, rigorous training in other contexts may not have completed a formal degree, but may possess deep experiential knowledge. We value a range of work experience and wisdom. Each application will be evaluated based on its unique merit.
What are the dates and times of the in-person meetings?
The in-person meetings will take place on the dates listed in the program description. These immersions will generally include a Friday evening gathering from 7pm-8pm (in person or via Zoom), a Saturday gathering from 9am-5pm, and a Sunday gathering from 9am-3:30pm. The initial immersion and the final retreat will include extended days and hours. Admitted students will receive detailed information about programming before they commit to enrolling.
What will I be prepared to do in my work following this training?
Following the first year certificate program, trainees will possess specialized knowledge about the field of psychedelic facilitation. Health care providers may be able to support psychedelic care or research, where regulations permit, in their licensed roles. Religious professionals may be able to offer psychedelic preparation and integration support to members of their communities of faith who undergo psychedelic care, where regulations permit, in a healthcare or research setting.
Participants will also be trained and certified to deliver a series of meditations and positive psychology-based practices drawn from contemporary contemplative science and social psychology. These practices support self care for the health professional as well as providing evidenced-based mind and body benefits to their clients.
Trainees who complete the program will not be licensed, certified, or otherwise sanctioned to provide psychedelic care in settings where regulations do not permit this work.
1. Reiff, C. M., Richman, E. E., Nemeroff, C. B., Carpenter, L. L., Widge, A. S., Rodriguez, C. I., … & Work Group on Biomarkers and Novel Treatments, a Division of the American Psychiatric Association Council of Research. (2020). Psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 177(5), 391-410.
2. Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W., Richards, W. A., Richards, B. D., Jesse, R., MacLean, K. A., … & Klinedinst, M. A. (2018). Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(1), 49-69.