5 Tips To Follow To Jumpstart A Career In Psychedelic Therapy 

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Pursuing a career in psychedelic therapy can be a rewarding and transformational journey. 

In this field, you can positively impact people's lives and contribute to the improvement of the mental health field.

But that’s not all. There’s an increasing demand for psychedelic therapists. Just look at the statistics. The global psychedelics medicine market is set to experience a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% through 2031.

The expected growth is attributed to an increasing awareness of mental illnesses that, in turn, has led to a higher adoption of treatment measures.  The more people who opt for this type of treatment, the more therapists are needed, of course. 

But how exactly can one become a psychedelic therapist? We'll go over the essentials and more in this blog post.

What is a psychedelic therapist?

A psychedelic therapist is a specialized mental health professional who utilizes therapeutic techniques in conjunction with psychedelic substances to address mental health conditions. They integrate substances like LSD, psilocybin, or MDMA to support personal development.

A psychedelic therapist’s role is to guide and support patients' healing process through sessions. During these sessions, they may use a wide range of therapeutic strategies, including talk therapy, mindfulness practices, and integration therapy. The goal is to assist clients in processing and integrating their experiences into their regular lives. 

Ultimately, psychedelic therapists ensure their patients’ good physical and mental health.

5 tips to jumpstart your career as a psychedelic therapist

Psychedelics is an emerging discipline that introduces a novel approach to mental health therapy. Want to jump on the psychedelic therapy bandwagon? Follow these five tips to effectively become a psychedelic therapist.

1. Ensure good foundational education and skills

To become a psychedelic therapist, a degree in psychology or a related health field is typically required. Some psychedelic therapists hold advanced degrees, such as a master's or doctorate. 

These programs provide the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the complexities of human behavior, mental health disorders, and therapeutic models and techniques.

They also help develop communication and empathy skills. Those are also important since psychedelic therapists work closely with individuals who may be experiencing intense emotional and psychological states. They must create a safe, non-judgmental environment where clients feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and personal experiences. 

Staying updated on the latest developments in psychedelic therapy can also help prepare you for a career in the field. As I said, psychedelic therapy is an emerging field. And it’s rapidly evolving, which means new techniques and approaches are constantly being explored. 

One way to keep up with the newest developments is to subscribe to news updates. There are specialist websites like Tripsitter, for instance, that publish blog posts relevant to the field. These can be about the latest studies, clinical trials, and breakthroughs in psychedelic therapy. They even have podcasts like the one below:

tripsitter podcast

Just subscribe to these websites’ mailing list so you can be notified of any new relevant content.

Let’s say you already have the required educational foundation and have consumed every content there is to consume about psychedelics. Does that mean you’re already a psychedelic therapist? The answer is no, of course.

In general, obtaining licensure is required to become a medical professional. You’ll need  certification in psychedelic-assisted therapy if you want to practice in this field, specifically. We’ll talk more about this later.

2. Gain practical experience through volunteer work, internships

Many organizations and clinics offer opportunities for aspiring psychedelic therapists to gain hands-on experience working with clients under the guidance of licensed professionals. These practical experiences can provide valuable insights into the therapeutic process and help you develop other necessary therapeutic skills and core competencies.

Volunteering at organizations that promote psychedelic therapy is one way you can gain this practical experience. 

One such organization that offers volunteer opportunities in the field is the Zendo Project. They provide harm reduction services to organizations and communities, offering safe venues for people to practice supporting and guiding others on difficult healing journeys. 

Gain practical experience through volunteer work

You can also inquire about internships. Internships offer more structured programs, with some allowing you to work closely with advanced professionals as they hold therapy sessions. You could conduct a quick Google search to find organizations that offer these internships.

interships

Or you could skip the Googling part and reach out directly to clinics that focus on psychedelic treatment to find these.

It’s important to note that you won’t really earn with these two ways of gaining practical experience. Most volunteer positions are unpaid (you just volunteer your services, after all), although some offer compensation in the form of stipends. As for internships, there are also unpaid ones, like this one: 

intership description

While some internships may offer a stipend or hourly wage, or benefits such as housing or transportation allowances, they aren’t typically much.

Just remember that the goal at this stage is to gain as much practical experience as possible. You earning money in the process is just a bonus. 

3. Enroll in formal psychedelic training programs

Psychedelic training programs are specialized educational courses designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively navigate psychedelic experiences. 

These psychedelic therapy programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including the history and science of psychedelics, different types of psychedelic substances, harm reduction strategies, integration practices, and the ethical considerations surrounding their use.

Through a combination of lectures, workshops, experiential exercises, and practical guidance, these educational programs aim to empower individuals to explore the potential benefits of psychedelics. They also help minimize risks and maximize therapeutic outcomes in their future clinical practice.

For example, the California Institute of Integral Studies provides professional training in psychedelic therapy. Its wide selection of courses and seminars conducted by top professionals makes it suitable for people wanting to learn more about psychedelic treatment.

certificate

With the training program, you can also get certification in the field.

However, you must meet certain eligibility criteria to be allowed to enroll. The certification program is specifically designed for licensed therapists like mental health clinicians and clinical psychologists. Pre-licensed applicants are not allowed.

You can perform a quick Google search to find psychedelic training programs that suit your needs. Just make sure you fit their required criteria.

4. Participate in relevant research

Engaging in relevant research can offer valuable insights and direct experience in the field of psychedelic therapy. You have the opportunity to contribute to the expanding knowledge base on psychedelic-assisted therapies and help shape the best practices in this field.

In addition, by engaging in research, you can stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and breakthroughs. That will ultimately improve your capacity to offer effective and ethical care to your clients in the future.

Research opportunities may come from collaborating with research institutions, universities, or private organizations engaged in clinical trials or observational studies. You can either participate as a researcher or as a trial participant in clinical settings.

The Usona psychedelic medicine research group, for instance, allows ordinary people themselves to participate in trials in a medical setting: 

trials

You want to make sure the trials are within the strict guidance of the relevant regulatory agencies. Usona, for instance, explicitly states the trials above are being monitored by the US Food and Drug Administration, among others.

5. Network with professionals

Networking with professionals in the field can help jumpstart your career as a psychedelic therapist. By connecting with already-established psychedelic therapists, you can gain valuable insights and guidance in the field. 

There are professional associations you can join to network with psychedelic therapists. The Psychedelic Science Interest Group is one such association. To join, all you need to do is attend their virtual meetings. You can also join the group’s mailing list to stay updated on their activities.

You can also leverage social media to look for other professionals you can network with. On LinkedIn, for instance, just type in “psychedelic therapy” and you’ll get a list of online groups you can join:

groups

Participate in these online discussion forums to establish connections with psychedelic practitioners, not just in your area, but worldwide. 

It’s also a good idea to follow known practising psychedelic therapists. You could also follow other authority figures in the field, like science publication editors and writers who write extensively about the topic:

Engage with their content. The more Tiktok likes, Instagram comments and Facebook shares they see from you, the more they’ll remember you. 

That’s the best time then to send them LinkedIn connection requests. If you’re using LinkedIn Premium, you can skip sending the connection request and message them directly instead. Whatever your strategy, you can be honest with them, and tell them you’re starting out in the field and are looking to network. Since they already know you somehow, they’ll likely respond.

Attending events on psychedelic therapy can also help you expand your network. You can find these events on platforms such as Eventbrite:

Eventbrite

Attend as many events as you can. You can utilize a schedule maker to strategically organize your networking endeavors. Make sure you share your business card with every new connection.

In closing 

As research continues to uncover the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, the demand for trained professionals in this field is on the rise. So, if you are passionate about mental health, healing, and exploring the potential of psychedelics, a career in psychedelic therapy can be an exciting and fulfilling path to pursue.

You may follow the tips outlined in this article to become a psychedelic therapist. Ensure the foundational education and skills, gain practical experience, and enroll in formal psychedelic training programs. Participating in relevant research and networking with professionals in the field can also significantly improve your career prospects. 

With dedication and commitment, you can land that perfect job in the field. Ultimately, you’ll contribute to the advancement of psychedelic therapy and make a positive impact on the lives of people seeking alternative forms of mental health treatment.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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