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Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate

Steeped in mindfulness and compassion training, Naropa's Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies leverages the University’s contemplative and psychotherapeutic expertise to further expand the unprecedented transformative healing potential within this emerging field.

Program Overview

The Naropa University Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies is a 10-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. In collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), we offer specialized training in the clinical use of MDMA in approved settings. Trainees also gain foundational competencies in 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.

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 cohort-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 appreciation of social justice, the historic roots of indigenous 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.

"Naropa has the capacity to hold two truths at once: we are earthly beings with earthly needs, and we are spiritual beings with spiritual needs. Being able to learn about the therapeutic use of psychedelics through this transpersonal model of development is why I chose to return to Naropa for this training."

--Marissa M. Grasmick, MA, LMHC, Naropa Alumnx and 2022 Certificate trainee

When Do Applications Open for 2023?

We're excited to share new developments, partnerships and training opportunities with you! Applications for the 2023 Certificate Program are expected to open in late October 2022. Subscribe to News and Updates to receive the latest on upcoming programs, events, and other psychedelic studies opportunities at Naropa.

Extended Campus

Key Program Dates (2022)

Applications opened: Nov. 15, 2021

Applications priority deadline: Dec. 15, 2021

Current Admissions Status: Closed

Program start: March 2022

Five-day Opening Retreat: March 14–18, 2022, Naropa University, Boulder, CO

Seven-day Intensive Retreat: July 31–August 7, 2022, Drala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO

Program ends: December 2022

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 Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate 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.

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


Program Format

Hybrid Online and Residential Retreat Model

The 2022 Certificate 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.

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Opening Retreat

The Certificate begins with a five-day opening retreat at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, March 14–18, 2022. This retreat focuses on community building and includes Right Use of Power™ training, which we believe is essential to training ethical psychedelic-assisted practitioners. The Opening Retreat will also include 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 training.

7 day retreat

Intensive Seven-Day Retreat

A seven-day residential clinical skills intensive, led by MAPS senior trainers in collaboration with Naropa faculty, will be held at Drala Mountain Center (DMC) in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, July 31–August 7, 2022. Trainees will deepen their therapeutic skills through role-plays, didactic training, contemplative practice, group discussions, and observing video sessions from MDMA clinical trials. Trainees will have the opportunity to join in a series of Non-Ordinary States experientials following the required retreat.


Synchronous Online Content Delivery Dates & Times

Trainees will move through the 10-month program with a series of monthly modules, in addition to the two in-person retreats. Attendance is required. Please see the program’s attendance policy below for instances of needing to miss sessions. As we confirm presenters, we will update lecture dates. 

Live Lectures: Second or Third Saturday of each month on zoom, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. U.S. Mountain Time: April 9, May 14, June 18, July 9, September and beyond TBD.

Integration Groups: Fourth Wednesday evening of each month.  

Curriculum Learning Modules

The Certificate’s online course components include 50 hours of asynchronous learning accompanied by five hours of live sessions each month. Trainees also spend two hours per month in facilitated small groups with a cohort integration leader. This combination of asynchronous learning, live instruction and small group integration allows trainees to fully engage with the themes and objectives of each course module.

MAPS MDMA Therapy Training

The MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program is a clinical training program provided by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) that facilitates learning in the theory, skills, and practice of MDMA-assisted therapy. The theoretical 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.

MDMA Can Be a Powerful Tool in a Therapeutic Setting

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) was invented by the Merck pharmaceutical company in 1912.  MDMA increases serotonin and causes the release of hormones — such as oxytocin and prolactin — associated with trust and bonding. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is a fundamentally different mode of treatment from the daily, chronic administration of antidepressants or other psychiatric medications. With many advantages over existing treatments, namely efficacy, tolerability, and duration of effects, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has the potential to greatly impact the lives of millions who suffer from PTSD worldwide. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is currently evaluating the drug for clinical use, with approval expected as early as 2024. Beginning in 2022, Canada allows limited distribution of MDMA and other psychedelics for therapeutic use upon approval by Health Canada.

To learn more about MDMA, its use in clinical research, published data, pharmaceutical properties, safety profile, and history, please read the MAPS Investigator’s Brochure.

The MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program curriculum is fully integrated into Naropa’s Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate. Trainees will complete aspects of the training throughout Naropa’s 10-month Certificate program, and will also participate in a week-long residential clinical skills intensive retreat, led by MAPS senior trainers in collaboration with Naropa faculty. 

To be recognized as a fully trained MDMA-Assisted Therapy practitioner, trainees must complete: 1) the MDMA Therapy Training Program course; 2) Experiential Requirement; and 3) Consultation and Clinical Experience. The Naropa Certificate is authorized to act as an equivalent to the 100-hour MAPS PBC MDMA Therapy training program, and also includes support for identifying an experiential elective that meets the MAPS requirement. Upon completion of the Certificate, Naropa trainees will be ready for the Consultation phase of the MAPS training. Please see the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training site to learn what is required for the Consultation requirement post-certificate, should trainees wish to become fully authorized to provide MDMA-assisted therapy in their clinical practice.

Because the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program comprises a large part of Naropa’s Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate program, prospective participants who’ve already completed the MAPS Training are asked to consider other Naropa training opportunities to further their psychedelic education.


Non-Ordinary States Immersive Experience Requirement

Experience with non-ordinary and extra-ordinary states of consciousness is central to Naropa’s Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate program and required by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for certification as an MDMA-assisted therapy practitioner. 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 2022 Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies curriculum requires trainees to complete a minimum of 10 hours of approved Non-Ordinary States Immersive Experience. Because Naropa values individual commitments as well as diversity in practice and experience, trainees are permitted to select their preferred Non-Ordinary States Immersive Experience from a range of options. Trainees will select one Non-Ordinary States Immersive Experience; more than one is optional. Please note that the cost of these options is not included in the Certificate program tuition, and that some immersions may require an additional time commitment beyond the required 10 hour minimum.

Naropa recognizes that trainees may have prior experience with psychedelic substances and/or non-ordinary states and associated modalities. However, trainees are encouraged to fulfill this requirement while enrolled in the Certificate program so as to expressly facilitate intentional engagement within the context of the full program training arc and dynamic cohort-based learning process. Trainees may choose from a diversity of options in diverse legal contexts. Experiences that do not involve mind-altering substances are also possible, including  sweat lodge, meditation retreat, breathwork practice and more.

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. As described above, there are several options for Non-Ordinary States Immersive Experiences available to program participants. Trainees will be educated in the competencies required for Federally-approved medical treatment and psychedelic research. Participation in Immersive Experience opportunities involving ketamine or psilocybin shall be entirely voluntary, and all reference to such options will be to clinics or facilitators located in jurisdictions where the use of these substances for therapeutic or educational purposes is legal under both foreign and domestic laws.

Program Faculty

Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies Faculty

Jamie Beachy, Ph.D, MDiv

Jamie Beachy PhD, MDiv, Assistant Core Faculty, Naropa University. Jamie brings two decades of experience in professional chaplaincy, spiritual care education (ACPE) and ethics consultation to her teaching, and she currently serves as a therapist with the MAPS MDMA-assisted therapy phase III study in Boulder. Jamie holds a deep interest in earth-based approaches to end of life care and advocates for the role of chaplaincy in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Sara Lewis, Ph.D, LSW

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 MA from the University of Chicago, specializing in psychological anthropology and clinical social work. She is author of Spacious Minds: Trauma and Resilience in Tibetan Buddhism, (Cornell University Press, 2019) and a former Fulbright fellow. Sara is a therapist with MAPS MDMA-assisted therapy study site in Boulder, CO and has conducted research on how psychedelics can be a catalyst for change in psychotherapy.

Travis Cox, Ph.D

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.

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Ph.D

Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, religion, and social justice. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines and serves as Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is also Visiting Scholar at Naropa University’s Center for Psychedelic Studies and Advisor at the Synthesis Institute. Additionally, she is Diversity and Inclusion Chair at Veterans of War. Dr. Labate is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil and editor of its site since. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-five books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles (

2022 Certificate Instructors

Shoshana Aal

Shoshana is a psychologist who provides ketamine assisted psychotherapy through their practice at The Kaleidoscope Center (previously known as Watermark Counseling). Their practice is located in Lakewood, Colorado. They have a passion for social justice, advocacy work, and assisting marginalized populations. Their work has focused on a variety of matters including, trauma, relationships,  grief/loss, BIPOC experiences, complex trauma, intergenerational trauma, cultural diversity, LGBTQIA experiences and women’s experiences. They have experience in both psychedelic and psychoanalytic doses. The therapy is always client centered, providing a variety of modalities that shift based on what a client is needing. Shoshana has worked as a student teacher for the Integrative Psychiatry Institute and a cohort leader for the Naropa Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Certificate. In their personal life they are a parent, a foster parent and an artist, using photography. Shoshana currently runs the Colorado KAP Consultation group and The Book club for Socially Aware Womxn. Memberships and volunteer experiences includes several psychedelic organizations and social justice initiatives such as The Nowak Society, SPORE, SPORE’s Equity Team, SPORE Cultural/Community Workgroup, MyCoallition, and The Zendo.

Amanda Aguilera, Ph.D

Driven by core values of curiosity, courage, and connection, Dr. Amanda’s personal mission is to be courageous in the service of reducing and repairing harm in relationship and promoting the cultural shift toward power conscious conflict positivity and conflict competency. Amanda is the Founder of Restorative Integration and Senior Director of Mission, Culture & Inclusive Community at Naropa University where she currently supports students, faculty, and staff in critical consciousness raising, understanding power dynamics and expanding capacity for difficult conversations.

Rachel Aidan, Ph.D

Prosocial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience working on projects across the U.S., East Africa, and Europe. Rachel is the CEO at Synthesis Institute, a legal, medically-supervised, psilocybin retreat center based in Amsterdam. Rachel holds a B.A. in Transformative Education & Leadership, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Mindful Trauma-Informed Leadership, and Ph.D. in Integral/Transpersonal Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies, research focused on psilocybin-assisted treatment for Complex Trauma.

Brian Anderson, MD, MSc

Brian Anderson, MD, MSc, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF Weill Institute for the Neurosciences, and he is an attending in the Psychiatric Emergency Services at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. His research has included both ethnographic studies of religious practitioners who use psychedelics in community settings, and clinical trials of psychedelic therapies. In 2018, he conducted a pilot study of psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralization in older, long-term AIDS survivor men. And he is a co-founding member of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. 

German F. Ascani, MD, MS

German F. Ascani, MD, MS, is a psychiatrist in clinical practice in Colorado and California.  He has collaborated in published research regarding Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). He is passionate about the potential for psychological, emotional and spiritual healing that new and emerging psychedelic medicines bring to the mental health field.  He supports the use of these powerful transformative tools.He is a graduate of the University of California Davis School of Medicine. Completed his psychiatric training at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.  He has a Masters of Science in Physiology from Georgetown University and a BA in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. He presently serves as co-faculty for PRATI in their KAP training retreats and is a therapist for the MAPS phase 3 research trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Fort Collins.

Natalie Avalos, Ph.D

Natalie Avalos is an assistant professor in the Ethnic Studies department at University of Colorado Boulder. She is an ethnographer of religion who received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a special focus on Native American and Indigenous Religious Traditions and Tibetan Buddhism. She is currently working on her manuscript titled The Metaphysics of Decoloniality: Transnational Indigeneities and Religious Refusal, which explores urban Indian and Tibetan refugee religious life as decolonial praxis. She is a Chicana of Apache descent, born and raised in the Bay Area.  

Paulo Cesar Ribeiro Barbosa, Ph.D

Paulo obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in 2008. He also holds a degree in Social Sciences (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, 1992) and Psychology (Faculdade de Ilhéus, 2019). Paulo was appointed Professor of Science Methods in 2002 at the Departamento de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (Brazil) and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of New Mexico (USA) between 2011 and 2013. Paulo’s main research interests and activities concern the relationship between psychiatric and psychological methods in evaluating the effects of ayahuasca in Brazilian urban settings.

Yvan Beaussant, MD, MSc

Yvan Beaussant, MD, MSc is an instructor in the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School in Boston. He trained as a hematologist and palliative care physician, holds a Masters in medical ethics, and graduated from the Certificate program in Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), where he serves as a mentor. His research investigates the potential role and modalities of psychedelic-assisted therapies to address psycho-existential distress in patients with cancer and at the end of life.

Pierre Bouchard, LPC

Pierre Bouchard is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Boulder and Denver CO, adjunct faculty at Soundmind Psychedelic Healing Center and professional vinyl DJ. He specializes in blending somatics, embodiment, attachment theory, and trauma therapy with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. He offers supervision around ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and training on music selection.

You can find out more here and on Instagram @pierre.bouchard.lpc

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NiCole Buchanan, Ph.D

NiCole Buchanan, Ph.D., Professor, co-Chair of the APPA Board of Directors, member of the Board of Directors and the Racial Equity and Access Committee for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicine and has trained with MAPS, the CIIS Certificate for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, and the Polaris Insight Center.

Dr. Buchanan is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and has received international awards for her contributions to the field. An accomplished consultant, writer, and scholar with over 120 publications and international speaker including TEDx and National Public Radio.

Carla Burns, MDiv

Carla Burns, MDiv, is an Instructor in Naropa’s Core College including BA Contemplative psychology courses, and meditation practicums. She serves as faculty for the MA Contemplative Psychotherapy residential retreat program, and for Naropa’s Compassion Initiative. She co-developed Naropa’s Embodied Mindfulness in Teaching retreat program and is the Program Manager for the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education. Her specialties include the integration of corporeal, elemental, and spatial knowledge as a means to bring more dimension into our field of awareness; to cultivate the natural-receptive wisdom energy of the body that is inherently connected, wise, and spacious; and to close the distance between enlightenment and ordinary freedom. 


Lauren Casalino, LPC

Lauren Casalino has trained hundreds of therapists in her role as core faculty in the Master’s Program in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University from 1999-2021.  She has also trained therapists at Samtse College in Bhutan and at Mahidol University in Thailand.  She conducts a private psychotherapy practice with individuals, couples, and groups and she co-founded Windhorse Family and Elder Services.  Lauren is dedicated to the cultivation of health in its myriad dimensions on individual, interpersonal, and societal levels, recognizing they are not separate.  She is an explorer of worlds, inner and outer, one who is committed to the cultivation of awareness, aliveness, and action in service of the wellness of all beings.

Celina De Leon, MDiv

Celina De Leon, MDiv, is a leader on the training team at the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP). She has twenty years of experience in the field of psychedelics and contemplative practice with particular experience working with various indigenous and spiritual lineages. She received an M.Div from the Graduate Theological Union-Starr King School for the Ministry and she is the founder and director of Circle of Sacred Nature 501c.3 church. Her long-standing relationship with the Kamentsa indigenous community of the upper Putumayo of Colombia informs her perspective on valuing how indigenous knowledge contributes to our understanding of the spiritual and therapeutic uses of psychedelics. Celina is deeply committed to indigenous reciprocity and incorporating social justice principles in all aspects of her work.

Wael Garas, MD

Wael Garas, MD received his medical degree from Ohio State University and completed his residency at the University of Nevada. Dr. Garas also completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine through the University of Arizona under the direction of Andrew Weil, M.D.  Dr. Garas currently serves as the co-principal investigator and study physician for the Phase 3 research trial of MDMA-assisted therapy for severe PTSD in Boulder.

Dan Hirshberg, Ph.D

Dan Hirshberg, PhD is the founder and Executive Director of SŌTERIC Contemplative Training in Boulder, CO. He completed his MA in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (Shedra Track) at Naropa University and his PhD in Tibetan Studies at Harvard University. He then held postdocs at UC Santa Barbara and LMU Munich, was an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Mary Washington, where he directed one of the first Contemplative Studies programs for undergrads and installed a Japanese-style garden, and served as a Visiting Contemplative Fellow at UVA’s Contemplative Sciences Center. His first book, Remembering the Lotus-Born: Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet’s Golden Age (Wisdom Publications, 2016), won Honorable Mention from the Association for Asian Studies. He also serves as a Karunika in Nalandabodhi International under the direction of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche.

Monica King

Monica King is a Somatic Psychotherapist specializing in trauma and resilience. She has been working with individuals and groups in the tradition of Curanderismo for 20yrs in the US and Mexico. Her integrative style includes ancestral guidance, nutrition, herbal teas, energy work, and rites of passage. She has been initiated in several indigenous traditions of healing from Mexico and Africa blending both Western mental health perspective and ancient healing modalities. She is passionate about working with members of the BIPOC community, serving teens and adult clients dealing with issues around identity, diversity, power/privilege, family systems, and intergenerational trauma.  @moderncurandera

Emma Knighton, MA, LMHC

Emma Knighton, MA, LMHC, is a white, queer, able-bodied femme. She is a somatic trauma therapist, psychedelic integration therapist, embodied organizer, and conscious leader. In their clinical work, Mx. Knighton works at the intersection of complex PTSD from childhood abuse, queer identity development, and consciousness exploration. Her clinical and leadership approach is grounded in queer, consent, feminist, and anti-oppression/pro-liberation theories. Mx. Knighton teaches courses on integrating trauma-informed consent practices into psychedelic-assisted therapy and strives to be in service to the psychedelic space with integrated mind, body, spirit, and community. Mx. Knighton holds a master's in counseling psychology from Bastyr University, a Certificate in Psychedelic Assisted Therapy and Research from CIIS, and a master’s level Certificate in Holistic Health from St. Catherine University. A lifelong learner, she is in sacred relationship with their ancestors, tree elders, plant teachers, and the collective consciousness.

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Rafaelle Lancelotta, MS, LPC

Rafaelle Lancelotta, MS, LPC is a Nationally Certified Counselor and a PhD student at The Ohio State University College of Social Work researching the importance of human relationship in psychedelic-assisted therapy, especially in intersectional LGBTQIA+ individuals. They have worked as a somatic-focused, trauma-informed therapist supporting clients in cannabis or ketamine-assisted therapy and worked on many psychedelic-related research studies. They have served as a founding board member of Source Research Foundation since 2017, supporting grant funding for students wishing to study psychedelics. Rafaelle aims to contribute to changes in the mental healthcare system that can serve to improve mental health outcomes for people from all walks of life.

Caroline Leach, MA, LPC, NCC

Caroline is co-founder and clinical supervisor of The Mind Embodied, a group psychotherapy practice specializing in trauma, sexuality, and relationships. She received her MA from Naropa University in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology and currently serves as adjunct faculty in this program, primarily for the residential meditation retreats. She has designed curricula in Contemplative Psychology for the Royal University of Bhutan and Tergar Institute of Engaged Buddhism. Devoted to the healing of trauma on individual and collective levels, Caroline infuses somatic approaches of rewiring the attachment and nervous systems with the wisdom teachings on nature of mind as inherently clear, compassionate, and indestructible.

Ray Lewey, MA, LPC

Ray Lewey, MA, LPC is adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Psychology and the BA Psychology program at Naropa University. He teaches on the intersections between Western psychology, Buddhist philosophy, and contemplative practice, while also providing meditation instruction in both retreat and classroom settings. Ray earned his MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa and works in private practice. He specializes in explorations of gender and is curious about how synchronizing mind and body leads to deeper and more authentic confidence to meet experience directly. Ray also practices traditional kung fu as a path for personally exploring these topics. 

Ismail Lourido Ali, JD

Ismail Lourido Ali, JD (he/him or they/them) has been personally utilizing psychedelics in celebratory and spiritual contexts for over fifteen years, and has been actively participating in the drug policy reform movement since 2013. As the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ strategy, organizational development, and ethics work. Ismail is a founding Board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association and also presently serves on the Board of Directors for Sage Institute in the California bay area. Ismail advises, is formally affiliated with, or has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in the drug policy reform ecosystem, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Chacruna Institute, and the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. In addition, Ismail works with clients on matters related to the religious use of psychedelics as sacrament.

Sean McAllister, JD

Sean McAllister is a lawyer focused on the psychedelic space. His work includes advising religious organizations on their rights to use psychedelics as sacraments, seeking DEA licensure for a public company manufacturing psilocybin for clinical trials, helping psychedelic-assisted therapists understand the risks of these activities, advising on what is legal in decriminalized cities, and understanding new state regulatory laws like Oregon’s Measure 109. Sean is a member of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel, which is working on implementing psilocybin decriminalization in that city. He is on the Board of Directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.

Nicky Methani, MD, MPH

Nicky Mehtani, MD MPH is an addiction medicine and HIV specialist with the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Street Medicine team, and a NIDA post-doctoral research fellow at the UCSF, where her studies focus on the potential of psychedelic therapies in the treatment of substance use disorders. She completed medical school and internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins prior to pursuing a clinical addiction medicine fellowship at UCSF in 2019. Her research interests center on understanding the safety and feasibility of psychedelic therapy in supporting addiction treatment among people who may be less likely to seek care in conventional healthcare settings.   

Scott Shannon, MD

Scott has been a student of consciousness since his honor’s thesis on that topic at the University of Arizona in the 1970s. Following medical school, MDMA assisted psychotherapy became part of his practice before this medicine was scheduled in 1985. Scott has published four books on holistic and integrative mental health. Scott is a past President of two national medical organizations and currently teaches ketamine-assisted psychotherapy widely. He serves as a site Principle Investigator and therapist for the Phase III trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD sponsored by MAPS at the Wholeness site on Fort Collins.

Regina Smith, MA

Rooted in embodied contemplative philosophies, Regina Smith is known for her magical creativity, intellectual clarity, and mission-centered collaborative leadership. As an equity-informed coach, she is passionate about supporting leaders in navigating complex power dynamics with heart, and as a consultant and trainer, she brings radical honesty and expertise in mindfulness to helping organizations create inclusive cultures for the greater good.  She currently serves Naropa University as Vice President for Mission, Culture, and Inclusive Community, is the Queen Dreamer at the Center for Radical Connection, and is pursuing her doctorate in Women's Spirituality at the California Institute for Integral Studies. In addition, she is currently studying unconditional love and humility as a student of her beautiful and brilliant six-year-old son Zen

Joe Tafur, MD

Joe Tafur, M.D., is a Colombian-American family physician originally from Phoenix, Arizona. After completing his residency at UCLA, Dr. Tafur spent two years in academic research at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry. After his research fellowship, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual where he trained in ayahuasca shamanism with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo. In his book, “The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine," Dr. Tafur shares his unique experience and integrative medical theories. He leads the nonprofit organization

Kylea Taylor, LMFT

Kylea Taylor, M.S., LMFT is a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC #34901) who has been thinking, writing, and teaching about ethics for almost three decades. She developed InnerEthics®, a self-reflective, self-compassionate, approach to relational ethics which she is now teaching in psychedelic psychotherapy trainings. Kylea started studying with Stanislav Grof, M.D. and Christina Grof in 1984 and was certified by them as a Holotropic Breathwork® practitioner in 1990. She worked with Stanislav Grof and Tav Sparks as a Senior Trainer in the Grof Transpersonal Training throughout the 1990s, and worked for nine years in a residential substance abuse recovery program where she managed a women’s program and facilitated Holotropic Breathwork®. She is the author of The Ethics of Caring: Finding Right Relationship with Clients, The Breathwork Experience, Considering Holotropic Breathwork®, and is the editor of Exploring Holotropic Breathwork®.

Gita Vaid, MD

Gita Vaid, MD is a board certified psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing ketamine assisted psychotherapy in New York City. She is a co-founder of the Center for Natural Intelligence, a multidisciplinary laboratory dedicated to psychedelic psychotherapy innovation and clinical practice ( Dr Vaid completed her residency training and is on faculty at NYU Medical Center, psychoanalytic training at the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. She trained as a fellow in clinical psychopharmacology and neurophysiology at New York Medical College and completed a research fellowship at NYU Medical Center. Dr Vaid serves as the Director of Psychedelic Awareness and Consciousness research at The Chopra Foundation and is on Faculty as a lead instructor at The Ketamine Training Center.

Will Van Derveer, MD

Will Van Derveer, MD is co-founder of Integrative Psychiatry Institute, which trains psychotherapists in psychedelic-assisted therapy in collaboration with MAPS and Usona. His clinic in Boulder, CO provides integrative psychiatry and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression and PTSD

Dr. Van Derveer was a coinvestigator on MAPS studies investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic PTSD, now in Phase III under break-through designation by FDA.

Emphasizing the role of trauma as a key underrecognized cause of a wide range of human suffering is a central message of his work, due in part to his personal journey healing his own childhood trauma.

Hanifa Nayo Washington, BA

Hanifa Nayo Washington, she/her/hers, is a social entrepreneur, cultural producer, creative, and healing justice practitioner with 20 years in nonprofit leadership. As the co-founder and the Chief Strategy Officer for Fireside Project, Hanifa supports the design, facilitation, and communication of Fireside Project’s mission, vision, strategic initiatives and future goals. Hanifa, a facilitator, reiki master practitioner, and creative, works at the intersection of mindfulness, place making, and social justice to create organizations, gatherings, spaces, and experiences rooted in the values of beloved community. 

Joshua White, JD

Joshua White (he/him) is Founder and Executive Director of Fireside Project, which operates the first-ever national peer support line for psychedelics. Before Fireside Project, Joshua spent several years as a volunteer crisis counselor on Safe & Sound's TALK Line and peer-support volunteer at the Zendo Project. Joshua has spent 17 years as a lawyer, including 11 years at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where he focused on suing businesses exploiting vulnerable communities. In that capacity, he co-taught a nationally renowned clinic at Yale Law School, where he helped students generate and litigate public interest impact litigation lawsuits.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Instructors

Marcela Ot’alora G., MA, LPC

Marcela Ot’alora G. was born and raised in Colombia where her mother, aunt, and grandmother were instrumental in cultivating compassion and kindness as the highest values for engaging with others and the world. Their teaching led her to view success from this lens. Currently she lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, dogs, and daughters nearby.  She has an MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  For over 20 years Marcela has been in private practice working primarily with PTSD. In addition to private practice, she has dedicated her professional life to training and research.  Beginning in 1999, she has worked on various studies sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) as a Principal Investigator and therapist using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. Additionally, she is a lead trainer and supervisor for MAPS’ training program.

Bruce D. Poulter, MPH

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.

Visiting Luminaries

Rick Doblin, Ph.D

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children.

Rev. Joan Jiko Halifax

Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

Additional Program Instructors

to be announced as confirmed

Staff Leadership Team

Austin R. Pick, MA

Executive Director, Naropa Extended Campus

Jacob Goldberg

Extended Campus Program & Enrollment Manager  

Clayton S. Ickes

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Program Coordinator   

Rob Colbert, MA, Ph.D, LPC

As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Dr. Rob Colbert specializes in working with young adults, persons experiencing major life transitions, and persons using or considering using psychoactive substances. As a social artist, Dr. Colbert is passionate about professional education and training, community organizing, and acting as a social change agent. He is a founding member of the Nowak Society, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and organize psychedelic communities, and give voice to the essential values and pressing issues of the psychedelic movement, and he is actively involved in the Psychedelic Research and Training Institute in Fort Collins.

Belinda Eriacho

Belinda is of Dine’ (Navajo) and A:shiwi (Pueblo of Zuni) descent. Her maternal clan is One-Who-Walks-Around and she was born for the Zuni Pueblo people. Belinda was born and raised on the Navajo reservation, located in Arizona, United States of America. 

She is the wisdom carrier, healer, and founder of Kaalogii LLC, focused on cultural and traditional teaching, inner healing, and an international speaker on various topics impacting Native American communities in the United States.

Belinda holds degrees in Health Sciences, Technology, and Public Health. In addition, Belinda has participated in the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MDMA People of Color, and Eye Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy Training Programs.

Belinda is also a Founder and Board member of the Church of the Eagle and the Condor, a Program Advisor for Naropa University, and a Native American Traditional Advisor for SoundMind.

She is the author recent articles that are available on  “Considerations for Psychedelic Therapist when working with Native American People and Communities”, “ Guidelines for Inclusion of Indigenous People into Psychedelic Science Conferences” and “This is not Native American History, this is US History with Belinda Eriacho”.  In addition, a contributing author to the recently published Psychedelic Justice: Toward a Diverse and Equitable Psychedelic Culture.


Diana Quinn, ND

Dr. Quinn is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a focus on psychoneuroimmunology and integrative mental health. Her clinical work has centered on care of marginalized communities, including people of color, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and low-income populations. Dr. Quinn is a graduate of the CIIS Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research program. She is a member of the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies, where she serves as co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and is a member of the Ethics Working Group with the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association. She serves on the board of Source Research Foundation, where she chairs the Community Grant Program, and is a member of the Chacruna Institute Racial Equity and Access Committee. Dr. Quinn is the Training Director of Alma Institute, a psilocybin facilitator training program and service site in Portland, Oregon. She serves on multiple advisory boards dedicated to building ethical integrity, equity, accessibility, and structural competency in the field of psychedelics.


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


Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

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

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The Synthesis Institute

The Synthesis Institute is a global leader of the modern psychedelic movement, advancing scientific research, training and education to create access to safe, legal psychedelic experiences for integrative healing and expansion.


Psychedelic Training and Research Institute (PRATI)

PRATI is a not for profit organization with the purpose to Restore Connection to the Sacred: Self, Community, Nature, and Spirit. Through psychedelic medicine, PRATI nurtures a new approach to mental health, and illuminates a pathway for individual and planetary healing. We do so by expanding professional capacity for transformational care, restoring a relational paradigm of health and healing, and conducting clinically relevant research. PRATI imagines a planet where people flourish and thrive in right relationship with the natural world.

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Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines

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.


Fireside Project

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.


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. Naropa wishes to publicly thank Maya, PBC and Ligare for their generous financial support of 2022 Certificate cohort participant scholarships.

How This Certificate Prepares Practitioners 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. In many instances, this certificate will serve as a prerequisite for more advanced training.  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. 

To be recognized as a fully trained MDMA-Assisted Therapy practitioner, trainees must complete: 1) the MDMA Therapy Training Program course; 2) Experiential Requirement; and 3) Consultation and Clinical Experience. The Naropa Certificate is authorized to act as an equivalent to the 100-hour MAPS PBC MDMA Therapy training program, and also includes support for identifying an experiential elective that meets the MAPS requirement. Upon completion of the Certificate, Naropa trainees will be ready for the Consultation phase of the MAPS training. Please see the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training site to learn what is required for the Consultation requirement post-certificate, should trainees wish to become fully authorized to provide MDMA-assisted therapy in their clinical practice.

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.

Psychedelic Studies at Naropa

The Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies Certificate 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.  

2020 Course in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

Naropa University was pleased to offer a short training course in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in 2020. This course included curriculum developed by MAPS PBC, together with training in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa faculty. This collaboration will continue for the non-degree Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies.

Who Can 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.

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