The Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum: State of the Art – 2016 – highlighted topics such as the current state of MDMA research for alleviating PTSD; Ayahuasca therapy to treat eating disorders; Psilocybin and its implications for cancer patients and end of life issues; training possibilities for psychedelic psychotherapists; as well as mounting a legal challenge to existing laws that will eventually pave the way for patients to safely and legally use psychedelics for their own healing. We also considered the establishment of a new profession of “psychedelic supervisors” which includes governance, supervision, and set and setting controls while working with clients.

Registrants were encouraged to participate actively and to engage in small group discussions/forums in order to facilitate stimulating dialogue and a fruitful exchange of vision, ideas, research, and experiences.


Keynote Address – Mainstreaming Psychedelics: Six Decades of Cultural Evolution from 1966 to 2026
Rick Doblin, PhD

This talk discusses why it’s essential for long-term sustainability of the human race that psychedelics become legal and mainstreamed, how the preliminary results of the MAPS- sponsored Phase 2 research investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for social anxiety in autistic adults, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening illness and our ibogaine for opiate addiction observational studies , can lead to legal availability of MDMA and other psychedelics, first for medicine in highly regulated contexts and then for otherwise healthy people in the less regulated legalization contexts, and how MAPS study of medical marijuana for PTSD in 76 veterans (along with similar studies in BC by Tilray and USydney), and our Zendo Project for psychedelic harm reduction, will also contribute to the creation of a post-prohibition world.

Current State of MDMA Research
Rick Doblin, PhD; Dr. Donna Dryer; Dr. Ingrid Pacey, Marcela Ot’alora, MA, LPC; Dr. Hayden Rubensohn; Moderator: Richard Yensen, PhD

Hear about the current state of MDMA research, its progress and challenges — from Dr. Donna Dryer, transpersonal psychiatrist, and Richard Yensen, transpersonal psychologist, and Dr. Ingrid Pacey, psychiatrist — who are playing key roles as investigators and therapists in the MAPS sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research in Vancouver, BC. Also hear from Marcela Ot’alora, who has worked as a co-therapist in the first government approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in Madrid, Spain, and is the Principal Investigator of the Phase II MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in Boulder, Colorado.

MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy: A Personal Journey
Meaghan Buisson

Meaghan Buisson, 47-time Canadian national champion and current world record holder in the sport of inline speed skating, shares her personal journey/story as one of six Canadian participants in the Phase II clinical trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD.

The Road Forward to Legal Psychedelic Psychotherapy: the Moving Forward Project                                            

Rick Doblin, PhD; Bruce Tobin, PhD, RCC; Trevor Millar

The way forward to legal psychedelic psychotherapy will involve changes in both regulation and law. Rick Doblin will review the history of both in the U.S., and suggest what to expect in the future. Trevor Millar will share his experience with the Canadian government regarding medical ibogaine. Bruce Tobin will launch the Moving Forward Project: a legal initiative to provide a path to legitimate clinical use of psilocybin in psychotherapy for Canadians most in need. This will likely involve a court challenge based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, one that will lead to a constitutional exemption for approved clients similar to that recently granted by the Supreme Court for medical cannabis. This session will also be an opportunity for participants to discuss any other legal or ethical issues relating to psychedelic psychotherapy.

Training the Psychedelic Psychotherapists: Harvard or Hogwarts?
William Richards, PhD; Richard Yensen, PhD; Dr. Donna Dryer; Dr. Hayden Rubensohn; Moderated by Kata Kálmán

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) predicts that, as early as 2021, we will see therapists approved to work clinically with clients using MDMA. As research possibilities open up, other previously banned substances such as LSD, DMT and Psilocybin may follow suit.

The first cohort of Canada’s first formal training program in psychedelic psychotherapy has just graduated. Find out more about this training program. Also, the California Institute for Integral Studies is now offering a Certificate for Psychedelic-assisted Therapies and Research licensed or licensable professionals in mental health and medicine. What credentials will qualify therapists to work legally with psychedelics?

A Post-Prohibition Model for the Regulation of Psychedelics
Mark Haden, MSW; Sarah Mattson

This model proposes the establishment of a new profession of “psychedelic supervisors” which has a speciality of “psychedelic psychotherapists”. This presentation/forum discussion, aims to engage existing and potential supervisors and therapists in the development of the details of this vision and to start to develop a cohesive voice.

The prohibition of currently illegal drugs is facing increasing challenges and alternative models of regulation and control are being proposed by a number of authors. The Health Officers Council of British Columbia has proposed regulatory models based on public health principles and this paper continues this work by proposing a model for the regulation of psychedelics. Recent research on psychedelics and the determinants of benefit and harm from psychedelics is described. A public health based model, which includes governance, supervision, set and setting controls, youth access, supply control, demand mitigation, and evaluation is outlined.

Psilocybin Studies and Implications for Cancer Patients/End of Life Issues
William Richards, PhD

William Richards will share about the John Hopkins psilocybin studies and implications for psychotherapy, cancer patients and end of life issues.

Potential Mechanisms Behind The Treatment Of Chronic Depression With Psilocybin
James Jesso

The clinical research surrounding psilocybin’s potential for the treatment of various mental disorders in growing rapidly. At the same pace, the underground psychedelic culture is drawing similar conclusions out of first hand knowledge. One emergent theme out of these two camps is the hypothesis/personal result of psilocybin as an effective means for treating depression. Gathering data from the anecdotes of the underground, the research of the academics and of James Jesso’s own personal experiences, this lecture presents a postulate for the potential mechanisms behind psilocybin as an effective treatment for clinical depression, with or without ‘the clinic’ involved. It combines research in the neurobiology of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, psychoneuroimmunology, nueroplasticity, and the
psychopharmacology of psilocybin with theories of trauma development and behavioural psychology.

An Invitation to Wholeness: Psychedelics and the Future of Medicine
Dr. Devon Christie

Devon will weave together her expertise in Functional Medicine, Mindfulness, and Relational Somatic Therapy to illuminate why and how Psychedelic Psychotherapy poses great potential for catalyzing deep healing and transformation for a multitude of conditions, in the context of a holistic treatment program. From theoretical and experiential wisdom, to emerging functional MRI mappings of the brain, to microbiological mechanisms – you will be invited into a unique synthesis that serves as a rationale for her vision of a healing system for our collective future.

Feeding the Soul with Ayahuasca-assisted Therapy: A Promising Treatment for the Healing of Eating Disorders
Adele Lafrance, PhD

Although illegal in some countries (due to it containing trace amounts of the controlled substance dimethyltryptamine), a body of anecdotal evidence, preliminary scientific studies, as well as a strong history of ethnomedical use suggest that ayahuasca has promise for the treatment of substance abuse, including for some non-responders to conventional treatment. Eating Disorder and substance use disorders share many similarities with respect to etiology, clinical presentation and treatment approaches. The themes identified suggest that ceremonial ayahuasca use can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool, giving hope to those along the continuum of disordered eating, including individuals with refractory Eating Disorder those for whom standard medical treatments have not been effective.

Relieving Symptoms of PTSD with MDMA
Marcela Ot’alora, MA, LPC

Marcela will provide some findings from a Phase II clinical pilot study sponsored by MAPS, which explores the safety and efficacy of administering MDMA in conjunction with Psychotherapy to participants with treatment resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This talk will focus on methodology as well as individual participant experiences.

A New Medical Model: Holistic Medicine and Psychedelic Psychotherapy
Dr. Devon Christie; Julia Allen, MCP, RCC; Sasha Cuff, RTC(c), Moderated by Dr. Krista Stogryn

This panel examines pain management and trauma through the lens of holistic medicine and looks at the promise and possibilities for healing with psychedelic medicine through the eyes of three health care professionals.

The Mystical Experience in Psychedelic Work
William Richards, PhD; Frank Echenhofer, PhD; Adele Lafrance, PhD; Moderated by Kevin Parker, MA, RCC

Tying Your Shoes in Hyperspace: Integrating the Psychedelic Experience
Yalila Espinoza, PhD, RCC; Frank Echenhofer, PhD; Dawn Rabey, PhD, RCC; Dr. Devon Christie; Sasha Cuff, RTC(c); Moderated by Richard Yensen, PhD

While an increasing number of people are turning to plant medicines and psychedelics for healing, many of these therapeutic tools remain illegal, forcing patients to either go abroad or underground if they desire to work with these substances. Often there are scant resources available to help clients successfully integrate the psychedelic experience and few practitioners available to help navigate the, sometimes challenging, terrain. This panel looks at how therapists can work with clients to integrate experiences that may range from blissed out ecstasy to abject terror and how clients needing help with integration and grounding can find the help they need.

Medical Cannabis & Mental Health Research Under the MMPR*: a Brief Overview
Philippe Lucas

The legalization and regulation of medical cannabis in Canada and around the world is resulting in a renaissance of research examining therapeutic applications for cannabis. While federal governments and traditional pharmaceutical companies continue to shy away from medical cannabis research, the evolution of more permissive access policies and stable regulatory regimes have empowered public and private companies to investigate the harms and benefits of medical cannabis at an unprecedented level. This presentation will provide a brief overview of Canadian medical cannabis and mental health research examining post-traumatic stress disorder, problematic substance use and impacts on quality of life sponsored by Tilray, a federally authorized medical cannabis company located in Nanaimo, BC.

[Note: *Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations]

Psychedelic Entrepreneurship
Trevor Millar

Trevor Millar, owner of Liberty Root Therapy Ltd., has be providing the legal psychedelic Ibogaine to patients for more than three years. From underground beginnings, to stepping into the light of legitimacy, it’s been an interesting and exciting entrepreneurial journey. In this presentation, tailored towards others interested in psychedelic entrepreneurship, Trevor will share some of the ups, downs, and insights learned while creating a business in this cutting-edge field.

Holotropic Breathwork(TM)
Dr. Ingrid Pacey; Carolyn Green, PhD; Bruce Tobin, PhD, RCC; Moderated by Veronika Gold, MA, MFT

Holotropic Breathwork(TM) opens the door to psychedelic states, and constitutes a genuine psychedelic psychotherapy. Come hear about how Holotropic Breathwork(TM) works and its clinical applications. Find out how Holotropic Breathwork(TM) compares and contrasts with medicine-based psychedelic psychotherapy, and how it can compliment the use of psychedelic medicines.

Psychedelic Therapy and Third-wave Behaviorism: New Directions for the Prevention of Interpersonal Violence
Zach Walsh, PhD

In this talk we present data from jail and community samples demonstrating protective effects of hallucinogen use for intimate partner violence. We also examine mechanisms by which psychedelic experiences might reduce violence and other high-risk behaviors, and explore approaches to psychotherapy that could support psychedelic-assisted behavior change in this context. The discussion of psychotherapy will focus on potential synergies between psychedelic psychotherapy and “third wave” behavior therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).



Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum III: State of the Art has been approved by two associations – by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) for a total of 11.75 CE credit hours, and by the  Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) for a total of 13 CE credit hours.


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