Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate

Naropa University will ​launch a Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate Program beginning in 2022.

The Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is a ten-month, 200-hour non-degree training program featuring a hybrid delivery of online and retreat-based learning. The certificate will provide post-graduate level training for licensed and certified clinicians, who will receive an in-depth education in essential aspects of Psychedelic Assisted Therapy. In collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), we offer specialized training in the clinical use of MDMA in approved settings. Trainees will also gain foundational competencies in other psychedelic medicines, including ketamine and psilocybin. 

Naropa takes 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 program begins with an intensive Right Use of Power training, and we invite applications from trainees who are ready to thoroughly investigate power, privilege, and oppression as part of deep training in psychedelic-assisted therapies.   

What Makes Us Unique?

As North America's leading institution of contemplative education, Naropa is uniquely positioned to offer this innovative Certificate utilizing an experiential learning approach that is cohort-based, mindfulness-infused and socially engaged. The entire program is grounded in contemplative practice training—an orientation we feel is essential for engaged psychedelic therapists. Naropa began as a Buddhist-inspired university and now flourishes as an institution that brings together contemplative pedagogy and activism from a variety of traditions.

Program Format

The Certificate program utilizes a combination of online and residential retreat delivery. The 2022 Certificate curriculum consists of 200 total hours of instruction. Online course components include asynchronous modules accompanied by regular live sessions with both the full group and with facilitated small-group cohorts, which will be conducted on evenings and weekends. The retreat component includes two residential intensive skill-building retreats as listed above, both of which will be held in Colorado.

Trainee Eligibility

Naropa seeks to enroll training cohorts from diverse training backgrounds and welcomes certified practitioners in the following areas: mental health professionals including counselors, social workers, and psychologists; chaplains; medical providers including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and traditional medicine practitioners; and somatic body workers, depending on the level of training. Naropa University especially encourages practitioners from historically underrepresented groups to apply.

  • Applicants must hold an active license or registration in a counseling/psychotherapy field; a medical degree, or chaplaincy certification (BCCI)  OR
  • In a post-doctorate, post-graduate internship, residency program, or have completed four units of ACPE-certified Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Applicants currently enrolled in a graduate degree program may be considered if they can demonstrate a minimum of 1000 direct clinical hours.

Licenses or certifications include: LSW/LCSW; LPC/LPCC; PhD psychologists; LMFT; MD; DO; ND; PA; RN; PsyD.; BCCI, and others.

More information will be available soon. If you would like to be informed about this upcoming Certificate program and other opportunities for psychedelic studies at Naropa University, please sign up for news and updates:


Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies Faculty

Sara Lewis, PhD, LSW

Faculty Co-Director

Dr. Sara Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University. She earned her PhD from Columbia University and two master’s degrees from the University of Chicago, specializing in psychological anthropology, global mental health, and clinical social work. She is author of “Spacious Minds: Trauma and Resilience in Tibetan Buddhism,” (Cornell University Press, 2019) which explores how Buddhist concepts of mind, memory, and emotion shape responses to trauma in the Tibetan diaspora. She is a former Fulbright fellow, and her work has been supported by the Mind and Life Institute, and the Mellon Foundation. She is also a psychotherapist in private practice, and has conducted research on how psychedelics can be a catalyst for change in therapeutic settings.

Travis Cox, PhD

Travis Cox, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Masters in Ecopsychology at Naropa University. He has been studying consciousness throughout his career in academia, both as a student and as faculty. His interests in psychedelics are at the intersection of activism, philosophy, sustainability, and ecopsychology. He presented on psychedelics and sustainability at the 2019 AASHE conference, helped organize the "Can Exceptional Experience Save the World?" conference at the Claremont Graduate School of Theology in 2019, and was a part of the "Philosophy and Psychedelics" conference at the University of Exeter in April of 2021.

Jamie Beachy, MDiv, PhD, ACPE

Faculty Co-Director

Jamie Beachy PhD, MDiv, serves as Assistant Faculty for Naropa’s Master of Divinity program. Jamie has worked as a chaplain, ACPE certified spiritual care educator, and ethics consultant in diverse contexts including academic medical centers, trauma hospitals, hospice, and palliative care settings. In addition to her role at Naropa, Jamie serves as a therapist with the MAPS MDMA-assisted therapy study site in Boulder. She has presented and convened gatherings on psychedelics and chaplaincy including a recent panel at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, and a forthcoming article on chaplaincy and psychedelic therapies in the MAPS Bulletin.

MAPS Therapy Trainers

Marcela Ot’alora G., MA, LPC

Principal Investigator   

Marcela is dedicated to the treatment and research of trauma, through art and through the use of MDMA-assisted therapy. She worked as a co-therapist in the first government approved MDMA-assisted therapy study in Madrid, Spain and is the Principal Investigator of the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted therapy trials in Boulder, Colorado. She received her MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and MFA from University of Greensboro in North Carolina. She was born and raised in Colombia, South America and now lives in Boulder, Colorado. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.  

Bruce D. Poulter, MPH

Sub-Investigator & Supervisor   

Bruce has worked extensively with people in chronic pain as an educator and Rolfer and has served as a Sub-Investigator and Clinical Supervisor on the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted therapy trials. What Bruce appreciates about MDMA-assisted therapy is its’ deeply intimate nature; driven by a profound love for self, community and other; participant centered; respectful of participants processes; it leverages a person’s native inherent wisdom; and invites/demands authenticity of all parts and parties involved in the at times mysterious, service of healing.  


2020 Pilot Course in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

Naropa University was pleased to offer a course in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 2020. This training included the MDMA-​assisted ​psychotherapy curriculum developed by MAPS PBC (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Public Benefit Corporation), together with training in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa faculty in the Graduate School of Counseling Psychology.

MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) catalyzes healing and well-being through psychedelic drug development, therapist training programs, and sales of prescription psychedelics prioritizing public benefit above profit. Founded in 2014, MAPS PBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The Naropa cohort of trainees brought together 50 therapists from diverse backgrounds across the United States, Canada, Chile and Somalia. Due to Covid, the training retreat was held online. This allowed trainees from all over the world to join the cohort and we look forward to bringing this group through the full MDMA Therapy Training Program.

This course was offered by MAPS ​PBC Trainers Marcela Ot’alora G. and Bruce Poulter with Sara Lewis and Lauren Casalino, Naropa University faculty in the Graduate School of Counseling Psychology. Trainees who successfully completed all course assignments can apply their experience for credit for Part A and B of the MDMA Therapy Training Program operated by MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. This cohort is now eligible to complete the remaining training requirements with the MDMA Therapy Training Program to receive a certificate of completion for the 100-hour program. Certification with the MAPS PBC MDMA Therapy Training Program is dependent on passing evaluation of therapist competencies, completion of supervised clinical work in an approved setting, and final evaluation. Learn more about the MDMA Therapy Training Program.