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How to Become a Psychedelic Therapist

by | Health

Jul 9, 2022

The need for psychedelic therapy is becoming increasingly explored in clinical practice. The role of psychedelic therapists, too. In this article, I will be exploring the concepts of psychedelic therapy, suggesting how and why you should take your love for the profession one step further and become a psychedelic therapist.

What is Psychedelic Therapy?

Simply put, psychedelic therapy is the use of psychedelics to treat mental health disorders. 

Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are a class of drugs that have the effect of altering the state of consciousness in people who take them. They do so by triggering psychological, visual, and auditory changes (such as hallucinations), which offer the individual some relief. 

Whilst most psychedelic drugs are illegal; some are indicated in the treatment of addiction, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. These drugs are believed to work by changing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. [1.]

Psychedelic therapy is only administered by a professional and usually involves the use of both psychedelics and usual talk or classical therapy.

Some drugs used in psychedelic therapy include:

  • DMT
  • MDMA
  • Mescaline 
  • LSD

What Does it Take to Become a Psychedelic Therapist?

Like with all specialties in the medical profession, there are strict requirements when it comes to qualifying as a psychedelic therapist.   Essentially, all it takes to become a psychedelic therapist is training and certification that allows you to carry out psychedelic therapy. 

This certification isn’t so easy to acquire, as there is a lot of training to pass through before it is earned. 

You have to be a licensed clinician for a start. That is, you should be certified as either a medical doctor, a registered nurse, an NP, a clinical psychologist, a social worker, mental health professional, etc. 

The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) offers a 9-month training course for people who meet the requirements of being psychedelic therapists. The course is helpful and can be your first step in your journey to becoming a psychedelic therapist. 

The IPI Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Training also offers a certification for health practitioners. 

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What Degree do you Need to Become a Psychedelic Therapist?

Psychedelic therapists fall into two categories: licensed health care professionals and enthusiasts. Health professionals are supposed to have degrees that qualify them as certified clinicians. Like an MB.BS or an RN. 

Enthusiasts do not necessarily have to be certified clinicians. They could be social workers or counselors—all that is needed is that they have a college degree in a related specialty. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychedelic Therapist? 

 It takes approximately a year of training to become a psychedelic therapist. You just have to go through the necessary training. 

What License is Needed to Become a Psychedelic Therapist?

To become a licensed therapist, the body which offered you a certification must be approved by the FDA. This is going to qualify you for a license to perform psychedelic therapy. 

You will find renowned clinicians and researchers from European and international institutions at the MIND Foundation to get you everything you need.

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Is Psychedelic Therapy in Demand?  

The answer to that is not a straight yes or a no. Whilst there is a growing need for psychedelic therapy in some parts of the world, like the West, other parts of the world seem to be new to the idea. 

If you live in the West or countries like Germany, where mental health is greatly explored, then yes, psychedelic therapy is in demand. If, on the other hand, you live in an area where psychedelic therapy hasn’t yet been explored, then no, it is not in demand. 

Do Psychedelic Therapists Make Good Money? 

The simple answer is yes. No government overlooks its health sector. So, if you are a part of this sector, you should be assured that you will earn well. This is especially true if you are a licensed health care worker. 

What Makes a Good Psychedelic Therapist? 

I’ll say that reading does. As it is with all healthcare works, you sure have to read a lot when you become a psychedelic therapist. Maybe even more than the classic health worker, seeing that the area of psychedelic therapy is relatively new. 

You also need to have a clear understanding of patient behavior. Meaning you have to take the subject of clinical psychology seriously. You should know how to interact with your patients in an ethical yet empathetic way.

They should feel great after every session with you and should look forward to meeting you. 

You, therefore, have to be very patient with your clients. Be careful not to trigger them. Give them a sense of trust. They should feel safe enough to be trusted completely. 

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What is the Job of a Psychedelic Therapist like? 

The job of a psychedelic therapist is more or less like the job of any other healthcare worker. You are supposed to be present to whoever comes to you for guidance, and you should be willing to guide them through the phases of psychedelic therapy. 

For most of your specialty, there will be a need to keep reading and researching psychedelics. 

What are the Biggest Challenges of the Profession?

As with most professions, the psychedelic profession is faced with a couple of challenges. Some of the most pronounced are: 

  • Certification: it may be quite a struggle to get the necessary certifications, depending on the part of the world where you are. 
  • Research: not so much is known about psychedelic therapy. So, the struggle to explore the specialty even more, is there. You will have to keep reading and reading to find out new information. 
  • Stigma: since the area of psychedelics isn’t quite popular yet; there is a bit of stigma against it. This is especially seen in areas of the world where mental health issues are not given adequate attention. 
  • Legislation: there is a belief that the laws governing psychedelic therapy should be reviewed further, as they might be too stringent. 

Summary

The use of drugs that alter the nervous system to treat mental challenges is growing common. You can begin your journey to becoming a psychedelic therapist today.  

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

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