"The training of clinicians for clinical work with psychedelics has not yet been a subject of formal inquiry or research. Related programs run by research centers or sponsors of psychedelic drugs progressing through the FDA drug development process are drug, indication, and trial specific1. Outside clinical trials, some postgraduate certificate programs offer training for licensed therapists wishing to add education and skills related to psychedelic medicines to their professional development, but do not directly or fully authorize graduates to participate as research therapists2, 3. Although other programs are related in their focus on the clinical applications of psychedelics, they are not specific to the COMPASS protocol, and are not a substitute for the training program described herein.
"Another salient question in the field of psychedelic therapy training is the need for, or relevance, of a therapist’s personal experience of the study drug. Some advocate for the inclusion of such experiences in training programs (23), and others have cautioned that the decision to have and discuss such experiences requires careful forethought by clinicians (31). No research has yet demonstrated the impact of therapists’ training, or other kinds of personal experience, with psychedelics on clinical outcomes, and the inclusion of such experiences may be a barrier to the inclusion of a diverse group of therapists, place trainers and trainees in dual roles, and even stigmatize those who choose to pursue psychedelic-assisted therapy as a professional.
"Still, there is anecdotal evidence that some therapists find some personal experiences to be helpful in their professional development [e.g., Halberstadt (32)]. The current program does not include opportunities for personal experience of psychedelics yet respects and allows for discussion of therapists’ experiences during training."
Tai, S. J., Nielson, E. M., Lennard-Jones, M., Johanna Ajantaival, R. L., Winzer, R., Richards, W. A., Reinholdt, F., Richards, B. D., Gasser, P., & Malievskaia, E. (2021). Development and Evaluation of a Therapist Training Program for Psilocybin Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression in Clinical Research. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 586682. doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.586682