forest mushrooms

Psychedelic-assisted Therapy

  • Program Length 

    1 Year

  • Credential 

    Graduate Certificate

  • Location Offered 

    Online / In-Person 

As psychedelic medicines re-emerge in Canada, this 15-credit graduate-level certificate program is designed to meet the demand for university accredited training for healthcare providers aiming to support the delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapies. 

Upon completion, the program will position professionals and those with relevant skills to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy, supported by an interdisciplinary community of practice, designed to provide ongoing support and compassionate accountability.

While our team is on a committed path toward true equality and anti-racism, we recognize we are working within the requirements of the health and educational systems, which are laden with systemic racism. These systems are actively addressing systemic racism, as are we individually. We welcome any and all perspectives on how this program could be discriminatory, marginalizing and/or oppressive toward any person, cultural background, or group so we may truly embody our ethics and adhere to best practice and HSO First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultural Safety and Humility Standards as we continue the development of this curriculum.

A focal point of this program is to work towards embodying Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall’s guiding principles of Etuaptmunk (“Two-Eyed Seeing”) approach, enabling us “to see from one eye with the strength of Indigenous ways of knowing, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing, and to use both eyes together (Marshall, 2004, p.335).” – bringing together the best of Western and traditional perspectives.

A Radically Different Form of Mental Healthcare

Watch a 3-minute introductory video outlining the program information.

Amid an ongoing mental health crises in Canada and in many areas across the globe, a growing body of research continues to demonstrate that psychedelic-assisted therapies show enormous promise for mental health conditions that first line therapies are failing to adequately treat. As a result, there is a need to build capacity and safety mechanisms necessary to prepare interdisciplinary healthcare teams to safely and effectively deliver them.

The healing mechanism of Psychedelic-assisted therapies centres on navigating non-ordinary states of consciousness to re-establish a sense of connection to our whole selves (mind-body-spirit), to our fellow humans and to the natural world.  When held in communities that mirror unconditional positive regard, psychedelic-assisted therapies promote the awareness, courage, and compassion necessary to heal the past wounds and belief systems that fuel disconnection and distress.

The therapeutic mechanism inherent in psychedelic-assisted therapies are radically different from the biomedical and psychotherapy frameworks that most clinicians, therapists, and clergy members train under. Unlike traditional therapy, psychedelic-assisted therapies involve traversing non-ordinary states of consciousness, helping to reorient people away from unhelpful patterns and toward an empowered framework of awareness. As a result, radically different training is necessary, led by interdisciplinary teams, where physical, psychological, cultural, and spiritual safety are paramount. 

A Living Curriculum 

Weaving hands, picture by Autumn SkyAutumn Skye (www.autumnskyeart.com)

The program is designed to provide pedagogy that is both critical and practical, enabling rapid translation to the frontline of care.

Developed by a consortium of experts from British Columbia and in collaboration with the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia, the curriculum will continue to evolve, informed by Indigenous and western ways of knowing, a growing body of literature, functional medicine theory, and feedback from trainees.

Modes of Delivery

The certificate includes three 3-credit theory courses and one 6-credit practicum course. This combination of courses provides community of practice and experience-based learning with an interdisciplinary approach that includes research, personal enrichment and embodiment, wisdom traditions, and hands-on experience.

Theory

Theory courses are provided virtually for 3 hours each week enabling trainees from across Canada to participate.   For the fall cohort beginning September of 2022, all theory courses will run on Thursdays from 10am-1pm.

Participants come together in a large group with an expert in the topic area, followed by a small group setting to translate the content into real life psychedelic-assisted therapy scenarios (optimizing healing potential and navigating sticky situations). The small group learning environment is supported by an interdisciplinary community of practice, augmenting one’s therapeutic capacity to serve as a human BEing that provides safe and inclusive care.  

Semester Course Title Course Description
September - December PaT 501 (3) Introduction to Psychedelic Medicine Providing the landscape of psychedelic medicine as it re-emerges in western psychotherapeutic modalities and medical paradigms. We will bridge Indigenous traditional knowledge and practice with scientific research and explore ethics, guiding / social justice principles and developing practice standards for reducing harm, and maximizing potential benefits.
January - April  PaT 502 (3) Trauma Informed and Inclusive Care An exploration of the interconnection and application of principles of inclusion, cultural safety, trauma informed practice and spiritual care in psychedelic medicine, in the western healthcare context.  Considerations will include intersectionality, equity, diverse cultural and spiritual systems, expanded states of consciousness, and multigenerational trauma.
May - August  PaT 503 (3)  Professional Practice This theory course provides the nitty gritty details of psychedelic-assisted therapy in practice.  It is designed for multidisciplinary professionals preparing to support psychedelic-assisted therapy in medical or therapeutic roles. Building on foundational knowledge, participants will develop practice frameworks for diverse clients including intake and preparation; therapeutic methods and transformative processes; integration and community engagement; and cultivating essential practitioner competencies.   

An interdisciplinary team of content experts with lived experience, representing various ways of knowing deliver the curriculum. By working in interdisciplinary teams, we are actively decolonizing how we deliver healthcare as we collectively flatten power hierarchies, embrace the various perspectives across disciplines and cultures, and cultivate the relational environment necessary for inclusive and safe care.

Content is applied in small interdisciplinary groups, in a community of practice environment that promotes rich dialogue and authentic relationships that are intended to provide ongoing support, collaboration and accountability in the delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapies.

Supervised Practice

Semester Course Title
Floating PaT 504 (6) Psychedelic-assisted Therapy in Practice. 

Local trainees gain hands on experience in agencies that provide psychedelic-assisted therapies, such as the Roots to Thrive program, which provides ketamine-assisted therapy for treatment resistant mental health conditions and psilocybin-assisted therapy for end-of-life care. Alternate practicum arrangements can be made for those who live remotely, depending on geographic preferences and site availability. 

gail and marsha

All courses are delivered through a community of practice model, where experiential learning naturally emerges. Additionally, the 90-hour practicum provides the opportunity to translate the knowledge gained from the theory courses into practice.  

Participants who successfully complete all four courses will receive an accredited graduate level Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Certificate from Vancouver Island University.

See the Program Outline, Admission Requirements, Start Dates, and Application Deadlines.

Learn more about the Program

Find out more about the instructors and mentors involved in the program.

Meet the Teaching Community

Developments

Interested in the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training?

For those interested in also completing the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training, we are actively collaborating with MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, working towards a dual certificate program, which would enable those who complete the PaT Certificate to also satisfy the requirements of the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program.

Contact us for information about MAPS MDMA Therapy Training 

Interested in Progressing to a Master's Degree? 

For those wanting to continue on in their education,  we are actively developing a conjoint stepping stone program in collaboration with professors from the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia, which (upon approval) would enable credits from this certificate program to apply toward a master's degree.

Contact us to be added to the Master Degree Interest List