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Post: Why Psychedelic Therapy Needs Specially Trained Therapists

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Why Psychedelic Therapy Needs Specially Trained Therapists

Key points

Psychedelic-assisted therapies (PAT) are on the cusp of being approved for treating mental health disorders.

More therapists need to be trained to meet the anticipated demand for PAT.

Therapist training standards are needed to improve outcomes and ensure safety in the delivery of PAT.

By Norma Mancini Stevens

The use of psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) is gaining momentum, with 2024 potentially a transformative year: MDMA could be approved for treating post- traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ) as early as August, and forms of both LSD and psilocybin have been designated “breakthrough therapy” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As these therapies approach the market, there is an urgency to train therapists to meet the anticipated demand and ensure patients receive safe and effective treatment.

As a therapist long specializing in trauma and Internal Family Systems (IFS), I wanted to explore whether PAT would help some patients move beyond seemingly intractable issues. I trained to become a therapist in psychedelic medicine. Five years later, the move has proven to be highly rewarding, and I’ve learned much about preparing therapists for this emerging field. Becoming a PAT therapist In psychedelic medicine, the opportunities to help patients heal are tremendous, but they come with very particular challenges and risks for which clinicians must be prepared. PAT differs from traditional approaches, and it is critical to address the differences with effective training.In contrast to traditional approaches, in which the therapist serves as an expert, PAT therapists facilitate a person’s discovery […]

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