AcademicsExtended CampusPsychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate

Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies

The Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies is an innovative center of excellence for psychedelic-assisted care and sacred encounter. NCPS is rooted in an ecologically-based mission to relieve suffering and enhance the human experience. Our psychedelic studies offerings are grounded in contemplative training and compassion practices—an orientation we believe is essential for ethical and engaged psychedelic therapists. 

The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies reflects a deep regard for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion across the program and curriculum. Through cultivating meaningful relationships with our Indigenous partners, and inviting authentic conversations with faculty from diverse communities, we seek to address the ongoing impacts of colonization and systems of oppression in the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Through collaborating with partners who share our values and our commitment to equity in the field of psychedelic care, our training embodies values that Naropa brings to all of our academic and non-degree curricular offerings. 

Program Overview

The 2023 Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is an 8-month, 200-hour, non-degree certificate program that provides post-graduate level training for advanced professionals working in relevant therapeutic areas, including mental health counseling, psychiatry, chaplaincy, and social work. Guided by distinguished Naropa faculty and leading experts in the field, trainees receive an in-depth education in essential aspects of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, trauma-informed care, and spiritual integration. Program participants gain foundational competencies in MDMA, ketamine, and psilocybin therapies. Naropa’s dynamic contemplative-based training features a hybrid delivery of online and intensive retreat-based learning that is deeply rooted in ethics, psychedelic justice, and Indigenous reciprocity.

Working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Naropa offers education intended to raise awareness about the therapeutic approach and treatment modality delivered in the MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, which are investigating MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The MDMA-assisted therapy curriculum incorporated into Naropa’s certificate includes online asynchronous coursework and a week-long live educational retreat delivered by MDMA-assisted therapy instructors. 

What Makes Us Unique?

As North America’s leading institution of contemplative education, Naropa University is uniquely positioned to offer an innovative, experiential learning approach that is community-based, mindfulness-infused, and socially engaged. Like all education at Naropa, our certificate program is grounded in integrated mindfulness and compassion practices—a contemplative training approach we believe to be essential for ethical and engaged psychedelic therapists. Certificate trainees also gain a deep grounding in principles of social justice, the historic roots of Indigenous plant medicine practices, and the powerful relationship between healing and spirituality. Naropa is one of the first fully-accredited universities to train the new vanguard of psychedelic therapists. Read the Tricycle Magazine feature on our program’s inaugural year. 

Key Program Dates

Applications Open: Feb. 6, 2023

Applications Priority Deadline: March 3, 2023

Current Admissions Status: Opens Soon

Program Start: May 2023

Opening Retreat: May 17–21, 2023, Naropa University, Boulder, CO

Intensive Retreat (Option 1):
July 15–22, 2023, Drala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO

Intensive Retreat (Option 2):
Sept. 19-27, 2023, Drala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO

Weekend Apprenticeship Training Retreats: Fall dates TBD, Colorado

Program Ends: December 2023

Live Info Sessions

Join us live online to ask questions and learn more about our 2023 Certificate program!

Weds 2/1 — 7:00 – 8:00 pm MT
With Sara Lewis, Ph.D, LCSW
Sign Up

Weds 2/8 — 11:30 – 12:30 pm MT
With Sara Lewis, Ph.D, LCSW
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Mon 2/13 — 6:00 – 7:00 pm MT
JEDI Info Session with Diana Quinn, ND
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Program Philosophy & Competencies

Naropa approaches contemplative education from an explicitly feminist, anti-oppression, and social justice lens, and seeks trainees who are committed to right relationship with sacred plant medicines, Indigenous communities, ethics, and equity. The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies begins with an intensive Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (JEDI) training, as well as a prerequisite course in this area, and we invite applications from trainees who are ready to thoroughly investigate power, privilege, and oppression as part of deep training in the ethical and safe delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapies.

The Naropa Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies has Three Core Philosophies:

Program Format

The curriculum consists of 200 total hours of instruction, and utilizes a combination of online and residential retreat delivery. Both formats include a combination of lecture and discussion, small group integration, and experiential learning. As part of Naropa’s contemplative education pedagogy, interpersonal engagement, contemplative practice and personal reflection are emphasized toward nurturing the collective wisdom of the entire cohort.

Intensive Residential Retreats

Opening Retreat

The certificate program begins with a five-day opening retreat at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, May 17-21, 2023. This retreat focuses on community building and contemplative practice training in mindfulness and compassion, which we believe is essential to educating ethical psychedelic-assisted practitioners. The Opening Retreat also included lectures from contemplative leaders and experts in the field, and the opportunity to engage with integration groups, which will continue for the duration of the program.

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Retreat

The program continues with a required eight-day intensive retreat led by MDMA-assisted therapy educators and Naropa faculty. In 2023, two Intensive Retreats will be held, and participants will select one to attend: July 15-22 or September 19-27, held at Drala Mountain Center (DMC) in Colorado. Participants will deepen their understanding of the therapeutic approach through role-plays, didactic training, contemplative practice, group discussions, and observing video sessions from MDMA clinical trials.

Apprenticeship Training Retreat

Throughout the Fall of 2023, trainees will return to Colorado in small groups to participate in a weekend apprenticeship training retreat. These training retreats will begin with dinner and an opening circle on Thursday evening, and conclude Sunday morning. There will be several weekend options to choose from during the Fall, including Ketamine & Sacred Ceremony retreats for BIPOC participants within the cohort. In this 3-day training retreat, participants will have the opportunity to practice psychedelic therapy skills under supervision utilizing ketamine or breathwork. Trainees will not be required to consume substances in order to participate. However, if appropriate, some trainees may benefit not only from deepening their clinical skills, but from experiencing psychedelic medicines in a safe container. The Apprenticeship Training Retreats will utilize a peer consultation model, where trainees receive structured feedback from peers along with written evaluation from faculty.

Dynamic, Cohort-Based Online Learning

Asynchronous Learning Modules

Participants accomplish 85 hours of online learning across eight different modules. Incorporating topical case studies, theoretical readings, knowledge checks, videos, and more. Asynchronous modules are completed at the trainee’s convenience, within a monthly time frame.

Live Online Class Sessions

Live Online Class Sessions Led by distinguished Naropa faculty and coveted guest lecturers, live-online sessions allow participants to dive into the nuance of each course module and benefit from diverse perspectives. Live-online lectures are held on the second Saturday per month for four hours from June-December.

Integration Groups

Guided by a skilled cohort leader with a background in psychedelic-assisted therapy, participants apply core competencies and engage community learning principles in small integration groups. Groups meet online once per month, and consist of 8-10 participants.

Over an 8-month period, participants will be guided through 7 distinct modules.

Topics include MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine therapies, as well as compassion training and psychedelic justice. For a full list of module topics and schedule, expand below.

MAPS PBC MDMA-Assisted Therapy Education

Working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Naropa offers education intended to raise awareness about the therapeutic approach and treatment modality delivered in MAPS-sponsored clinical trials investigating MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The MDMA-assisted therapy curriculum incorporated into the Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies includes online asynchronous coursework and a week-long live education event delivered by MAPS PBC MDMA-assisted therapy teachers. The therapeutic approach is based on a philosophy that every person has within them an intrinsic wisdom and ability to heal, and that this inner healing wisdom blossoms naturally in an environment of safety and support. 

 The MAPS PBC MDMA-assisted therapy education delivered within Naropa’s Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is intended to provide foundational information on the inner-directed therapeutic approach practiced in MAPS PBC clinical trials. Participants will complete aspects of the curriculum throughout Naropa’s certificate program, and will also participate in a week-long residential retreat, led by MDMA-assisted therapy teachers working with Naropa faculty. The asynchronous and live MDMA-assisted therapy education content incorporated into Naropa’s certificate is consistent with the educational content offered by MAPS PBC in 2023.

 Because the MAPS PBC MDMA-assisted therapy curriculum comprises a large part of Naropa’s Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies program, prospective participants who’ve already completed MAPS PBC MDMA-assisted therapy educational content are asked to consider other Naropa training opportunities to further their psychedelic education. 

Apprenticeship Training Requirement

Experience with non-ordinary and extra-ordinary states of consciousness are central to Naropa’s Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies. As the MAPS training site affirms, “Some of the best preparation for supporting others through a process is going through a similar process oneself. The kind of knowledge gained from firsthand experience is invaluable and difficult to replicate.”

Naropa’s Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies curriculum requires trainees to attend a 3-day Apprenticeship Training in Fall 2023.  Naropa recognizes that trainees may have prior experience with psychedelic substances and/or non-ordinary states and associated modalities. However, trainees are required to fulfill this requirement while enrolled in the certificate program so as to experience facilitating a psychedelic therapy session under guided supervision, receiving instruction and feedback. Experiences that do not involve mind-altering substances are also possible, including breathwork practice.

Consistent with its obligations under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act Amendments of 1985, the Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies does not require the use of psychedelic substances by certificate program participants in order to successfully complete the training.

Visit the Application Process & Program Policies page for more information.

Ready To Apply?

Certificate trainees are empowered to embody the “transform yourself, transform the world” ethos of Naropa University within the dynamic and rapidly-expanding field of psychedelic-assisted therapy and advocacy.

Collaborations

Naropa has formed ongoing collaborations with the following organizations to provide programmatic and advisory support that enhances the depth and efficacy of our offerings.

We are excited to continue growing our work with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to offer participants an evidence-based curriculum in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy. As an authorized training host, Naropa has contracted MAPS Public Benefit Corporation to offer MDMA-assisted therapy education within our non-degree Certificate program.

The Chacruna Institute of Psychedelic Plant Medicines, an organization founded by Brazilian anthropologist Dr. Bia Labate, produces high-quality research on plant medicines and psychedelics and helps propagate academic knowledge in more accessible formats. They educate the public and create cultural understanding and legitimacy regarding these substances so that they may cease to be stigmatized and outlawed.

Modern Spirit is dedicated to demonstrating the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare by illuminating the intersection between biology, emotion and spirituality. As a non-profit dedicated to scientific research, community-building, and educational programs, we are working to expand our culture’s capacity to heal.  This work includes the Modern Spirit Epigenetics Project, Indigenous reciprocity projects, and more.

Fireside Project is a nonprofit that is creating systemic change in the field of psychedelics in three key domains: safety, diversity, and equitable access. Through our Psychedelic Peer Support Line, we have created a nationwide safety net that has substantially decreased 911 calls and hospitalizations while democratizing access to high-quality care. The line accessible via phone, SMS, and app has supported over 1200 callers across the U.S. since launching in April of 2021.

Acknowledgements

Naropa University is honored to work with many individual and institutional contributors whose expertise helps strengthen the ongoing development and integrity of our certificate training program. Contributors include members of our faculty, staff and leadership teams, as well as prominent leaders in the field of psychedelic studies. Past collaborators include Psychedelic Training and Research Institute (PRATI) and The Synthesis Institute.

How This Certificate Prepares Participants for Work in the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Field

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy (PAT) is a rapidly evolving field. This non-degree certificate is designed to prepare practitioners to work in collaboration with prescribers, clinics, and interdisciplinary health care teams if and when regulatory approval is achieved. As the regulatory space is emergent, it may be that additional training will be required for credentialing depending on the legal context and the practitioners’ licensing board.  The future trajectory and guidelines for practicing Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies are yet to be determined by regulatory bodies, and will vary by region, regulatory agency, and protocol.

2023 marks an exciting time in the psychedelic landscape where states including Oregon, Colorado, and possibly others in the coming years have implemented legal access to psilocybin therapies. Naropa’s application to be recognized as an approved site for Oregon residents wishing to become psilocybin therapy providers is pending. As guidelines for practitioners in Colorado become available, Naropa will aim to meet and fully comply with those training standards. 

While MAPS PBC is working on the New Drug Application to the FDA, there are no guarantees about the approval of MDMA-assisted therapy, or what the specific requirements will be for therapists wishing to deliver this treatment. It is likely that there will be a training requirement, and that therapists and other qualified professionals who have previously participated in MAPS PBC educational programs will need to complete some supplementary training, while therapists who have not previously participated will need to complete the entire program. As part of these training requirements, MAPS PBC continues to plan for all therapists to complete a required number of hours delivering MDMA-assisted therapy and receiving consultation from a qualified MPBC Training Consultant.

Ketamine-assisted therapy (KAP) is currently approved for off-label use by qualified clinicians working with an authorized prescriber. All certificate enrollees will receive foundational training in Ketamine-Assisted Therapy. The KAP module provides introductory training in psychopharmacological mechanisms, clinical indications and contraindications, and beginning understandings of assessment, treatment planning and coordinating care in treatment teams. Unlike with other psychedelic medicines where there will be specific certifications and/or supervision needed, there is no nationally recognized certification needed to provide KAP. The Naropa Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies provides a foundational, classroom-based introduction to KAP. For those who wish to begin offering this modality, we strongly recommend choosing the non-ordinary state training option with PRATI to move beyond didactic training and into experiential training to enhance your competency. During the ketamine module in July, we will also include a list of vetted trainings that we recommend, which often include an experiential component of trainees engaging in their own ketamine sessions.

Psilocybin research is demonstrating promising results for the treatment of depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction, and other mental health conditions, but the future timeline and trajectory for legal and FDA-approved psilocybin-assisted therapy is yet to be determined. There is currently litigation in federal court seeking to make psilocybin available to patients with life-threatening conditions under the federal Right to Try Act. Depending on the outcome, there may soon be a pathway to lawfully engage in psilocybin therapy with qualified clients. Naropa is actively pursuing approved training program eligibility in fulfillment of Oregon’s newly-released requirements for psilocybin therapy, per Measure 109, and any updates will be included here. For licensure eligibility under OPS, Naropa trainees will need to complete an additional 40-hour practicum and meet all eligibility requirements.

Colorado recently passed proposition 122 – a measure that decriminalized psilocybin mushroom possession for adults, and will eventually allow state-licensed treatment centers to administer psilocybin according to state regulations. Naropa is closely following these developments and will announce important regulatory updates.

Many Naropa certificate program alumnx are currently practicing in the field by offering psychedelic integration, participating in clinical trials research, and offering ketamine-assisted therapy.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy (PAT) is a rapidly evolving field. This non-degree certificate is designed to prepare practitioners to work in collaboration with prescribers, clinics, and interdisciplinary health care teams if and when regulatory approval is achieved. As the regulatory space is emergent, it may be that additional training will be required for credentialing depending on the legal context and the practitioners’ licensing board.  The future trajectory and guidelines for practicing Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies are yet to be determined by regulatory bodies, and will vary by region, regulatory agency, and protocol.

Many Naropa certificate program alumnx are currently practicing in the field by offering psychedelic integration, participating in clinical trials research, and offering ketamine-assisted therapy.

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Program Faculty

Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies Leadership Team

Sara Lewis, Ph.D, LCSW

Jamie Beachy, Ph.D, MDiv

Center for Psychedelic Studies Director Joe Harrison

Joe Harrison, MS

Diana Quinn, ND

Belinda Eriacho

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Ph.D

Austin R. Pick, MA

Audra Barber Headshot

Audra Barber, MA

Jacob Goldberg

Featured Faculty

Rachel Aidan, Ph.D

German F. Ascani, MD, MS

Paulo Cesar Ribeiro Barbosa, Ph.D

Yvan Beaussant, MD, MSc

NiCole Buchanan, Ph.D

Carla Burns, MDiv

Travis Cox, Ph.D

Celina De Leon, MDiv

Wael Garas, MD

Rafaelle Lancelotta, MS, LPC

Nicky Methani, MD, MPH

Marcela Ot’alora G., MA, LPC

Bruce D. Poulter, MPH

Scott Shannon, MD

Regina Smith, MA

Gita Vaid, MD

Hanifa Nayo Washington, BA

Joshua White, JD

Ready To Apply?

The Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is designed for advanced professionals working in relevant therapeutic areas such as mental health counseling, psychiatry, chaplaincy, social work and other licensed practice areas.

See the Application Process and Policies page for further details on applicable credentials.

Psychedelic Studies at Naropa

The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is facilitated by the Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies in partnership with the Naropa Extended Campus. Guided by a vision for a contemplative approach to psychedelic studies, the Center for Psychedelic Studies was established to support the development and integration of psychedelic studies at Naropa, and to offer a range of public education opportunities focused on the unprecedented transformative healing potential within this emerging field. Naropa Extended Campus offers continuing education, professional development, personal enrichment and public programs for the lifelong learner within us all, bringing the immersive quality and embodied richness of the on-campus experience into accessible, learner-centered online and hybrid learning formats. 

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