Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Listening To The Healers: Psytelligence Psychedelic Therapist Support Survey Report

Introduction: Psychedelic therapy has transformative potential for healing and personal growth. To gain a deeper understanding of the experiences, challenges, and needs of psychedelic therapists, we conducted a formative research survey (n=30) with a diverse group of practitioners. In this article, we will delve into the themes gathered from these therapists, providing a snapshot of their perspectives and shedding light on the evolving landscape of psychedelic therapy for future research.

Practice Settings: The survey revealed that 45% of therapists practice in private offices, while 20% work in clinics and 15% conduct sessions remotely. This diverse range of practice settings reflects the adaptability of psychedelic therapy.

Therapeutic Enjoyment for Psychedelic Therapists:

Therapists overall expressed a deep sense of fulfillment and enjoyment in their work as psychedelic therapists. The survey provided further insights into what therapists find most rewarding about their role. Here are the additional themes regarding therapeutic enjoyment:

  1. Helping people heal: A significant 45% of therapists find immense satisfaction in supporting individuals on their healing journeys. They derive joy from witnessing their clients overcome challenges, find inner strength, and experience personal growth. The opportunity to be a catalyst for positive change and witness the transformative power of psychedelic therapy is a source of great fulfillment.
  2. The promise for deep healing: 25% of therapists expressed excitement about the potential for deep healing that psychedelic therapy offers. They find fulfillment in witnessing the profound impact that psychedelic experiences can have on clients’ emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. The promise of healing and growth is a driving force behind their enjoyment of being psychedelic therapists.
  3. Seeing rapid positive changes: 10% of therapists mentioned that what they enjoy most about being a psychedelic therapist is the ability to witness rapid positive changes in their clients. They find it gratifying to see clients make significant breakthroughs, gain new insights, and experience profound shifts in their perspectives and well-being.
  4. Supporting others through their own healing transformations: 10% of therapists expressed a deep sense of honor and privilege in being able to support others as they explore their interior lives and embark on their healing journeys. They find fulfillment in providing a safe and supportive space for clients to delve into their emotions, traumas, and personal growth, and they value the opportunity to be a compassionate guide on this transformative path.
  5. The depth of work that can be accomplished: 10% of therapists appreciate the depth of therapeutic work that can be accomplished through psychedelic therapy. They find joy in the ability to explore the depths of the human psyche, address underlying issues, and facilitate profound healing and personal transformation. The opportunity to engage in deep, meaningful work with clients is a source of great satisfaction.

These responses highlight the deep sense of purpose, fulfillment, and joy that therapists experience in their role as psychedelic therapists. A significant percentage of therapists find immense satisfaction in helping people heal, witnessing rapid positive changes, supporting others through their own healing transformations, and engaging in deep, meaningful work. The promise of deep healing through psychedelic therapy is also a source of great enjoyment for therapists.

Excerpts: 

  1. Being able to support others while they explore their interior lives and witness their healing transformations brings me great joy.” – Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Physician Assistant (PA)
  2. I love the opportunity to really get to know my clients and see rapid positive changes in their lives through psychedelic therapy.” – Licensed Professional Counselors(LPC)
  3. The support of these consciousness-altering medicines in therapy allows for a more focused and meaningful treatment of psychological complications.” – Clinical Psychologist (PhD, PsyD)
  4. The honor of sitting with clients and witnessing their healing journeys is what I enjoy most about being a psychedelic therapist.” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  5. “The ability to offer clients an additional resource and support as they navigate life’s challenges is what I find most rewarding about being a psychedelic therapist.” – Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Challenges Faced by Psychedelic Therapists: Challenges Faced by Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Navigating Legal Issues: A significant challenge faced by psychedelic therapists is navigating the legal landscape surrounding psychedelic substances. Approximately 30% of therapists identified this as a major hurdle. The legal status of certain substances can vary, and therapists must carefully navigate regulations and restrictions to ensure compliance while providing effective therapy.
  2. Finding Clients: Another challenge mentioned by 25% of respondents is finding clients without traditional advertising methods. Due to the sensitive nature of psychedelic therapy and the legal restrictions, therapists may face difficulties in reaching potential clients. They often need to rely on word-of-mouth referrals or alternative channels to connect with individuals seeking psychedelic therapy.
  3. Constraints of Research Protocols: Around 20% of therapists highlighted the constraints of research protocols as a challenge. Many therapists engage in research studies to explore the efficacy and safety of psychedelic therapy. However, adhering to strict research protocols can limit their flexibility and autonomy in providing personalized treatment approaches to clients.
  4. Financial Barriers: Financial concerns were prevalent among therapists, with 30% expressing worries about the high costs associated with training and certification. Psychedelic therapy training programs and certifications can be expensive, creating barriers for therapists who may struggle to afford these resources. The financial burden can limit access to comprehensive training and hinder professional development in the field.

These challenges reflect the complex landscape that psychedelic therapists navigate, including legal considerations, client acquisition, research limitations, and financial barriers. Despite these challenges, therapists remain committed to providing effective and transformative psychedelic therapy to those in need.

Excerpts: Challenges Faced by Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Navigating legal issues surrounding psychedelic substances” – Somatic Relational Trauma-informed Facilitator
  2. Finding clients without traditional advertising methods” – “Figuring out how to make this type of therapy affordable for more people, particularly if insurance isn’t an option.” – Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  3. High costs associated with training and certification” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  4. Fear from being underground” – Somatic Relational Trauma-informed Facilitator
  5. Legal issues resolved, consistent standards, and openness to discuss this treatment modality without threat or concern around licensure.” – Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Resources Needed by Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Support for Ethical Research: A significant resource needed by psychedelic therapists is support from the community and government to conduct ethical research. Approximately 40% of therapists emphasized the importance of having the necessary support and infrastructure to conduct research studies that adhere to ethical guidelines. This includes access to funding, regulatory frameworks, and collaboration with academic institutions or research organizations.
  2. Opportunities to Connect with Clients: Around 35% of therapists highlighted the need for opportunities to connect with clients. This includes platforms or channels that enable therapists to reach individuals who are interested in experiencing psychedelic therapy. Creating avenues for therapists to connect with potential clients is crucial for expanding access to psychedelic therapy and ensuring that those who can benefit from it can find the support they need.
  3. Trusted Peers for Collaboration and Resource Sharing: Collaboration and resource sharing among therapists are essential for professional growth and development. Approximately 30% of therapists expressed the need for trusted peers with whom they can collaborate, exchange knowledge, and share resources. Building a supportive community of like-minded professionals can enhance the quality of care provided and foster a sense of camaraderie within the field.
  4. Reliable Information about Certification Pathways and Training Programs: Psychedelic therapists require reliable information about certification pathways and training programs. Approximately 25% of therapists mentioned the need for clear and accurate information regarding the steps and requirements for becoming certified in psychedelic therapy. Access to comprehensive and reputable training programs is crucial for therapists to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to provide safe and effective psychedelic therapy.
  5. Financial Support for Clients: Financial barriers can limit access to psychedelic therapy for many individuals. Approximately 25% of therapists emphasized the need for financial support, such as subsidies or insurance coverage, to make psychedelic therapy more affordable and accessible to a wider range of clients. Ensuring that financial resources are available can help remove barriers and increase equity in accessing psychedelic therapy.

These resources are crucial for supporting the growth and development of psychedelic therapists, enabling them to provide high-quality care, conduct ethical research, and expand access to psychedelic therapy for those in need.

Excerpts: Resources Needed by Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Support from the community and government to conduct ethical research.” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  2. Opportunities to practice, trusted peers, and colleagues who want to share resources.” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  3. Access to quality ongoing training and development as a therapist and options for providing psychedelic-assisted therapy outside research to a diverse population.” – Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  4. Solid, informed, next-level community and advocacy.” – Pre-licensed in Clinical Mental Health and Art Therapy
  5. Regular clients, no legal fears.” – Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Vision of Success for Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Legal Access to Safe Medicines: A key aspect of success for psychedelic therapists is the availability of legal access to safe medicines. Approximately 40% of therapists emphasized the importance of removing legal barriers and ensuring that individuals can access psychedelic substances in a safe and regulated manner. Legalization can provide therapists with the tools they need to offer effective and evidence-based psychedelic therapy to their clients.
  2. Availability of Safe Spaces for Facilitation: Creating safe and supportive environments for psychedelic therapy is crucial for therapists. Around 30% of therapists highlighted the need for safe spaces where therapy sessions can take place. These spaces should be conducive to the therapeutic process, providing a comfortable and secure setting for clients to explore their inner experiences.
  3. Collaboration with Experienced Clinicians: Collaboration with experienced clinicians is seen as a valuable resource for success in the field of psychedelic therapy. Approximately 25% of therapists emphasized the importance of working alongside experienced professionals who can provide guidance, mentorship, and support. Collaborative relationships with seasoned clinicians can enhance the quality of care provided and contribute to professional growth.
  4. Existence of Foundations that Subsidize Treatment: Therapists recognize the importance of making psychedelic therapy accessible to individuals who cannot afford it. Around 20% of therapists expressed the vision of success that foundations or organizations exist to subsidize treatment for those who lack financial resources. This would help ensure that psychedelic therapy is not limited to those who can afford it, promoting equity and inclusivity in accessing this form of therapy.
  5. Ability to Focus on Medicine Sessions: Many therapists aspire to focus their efforts on conducting medicine sessions rather than being burdened by administrative tasks. This vision of success was mentioned by several therapists. By minimizing administrative responsibilities, therapists can dedicate more time and energy to providing effective therapy and supporting their clients’ healing journeys.
  6. Making a Positive Impact on Clients’ Lives: Ultimately, therapists measure success by the positive impact they have on their clients’ lives. This vision was shared by many therapists, highlighting the deep satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from witnessing clients heal, grow, and transform through psychedelic therapy. Making a meaningful difference in the lives of clients is a central goal for psychedelic therapists.

These visions of success reflect the aspirations of psychedelic therapists to create a supportive and accessible environment for psychedelic therapy, collaborate with experienced professionals, and make a positive impact on the lives of their clients.

Excerpts: Envisioning Success as Psychedelic Therapists:

  1. Anyone who is interested in experiencing psychedelic therapy, especially those in vulnerable populations who aren’t able to afford years and years of therapy and don’t want to take medications.” – No license
  2. Supporting myself by helping people to heal.” – No license
  3. Being part of a psychedelic clinic where I could focus my efforts on medicine sessions and not on administrative necessities.” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  4. Working as an independent practitioner/therapist out in the open, legally with medicines that are currently illegal – MDMA & psilocybin primarily.” – Pre-licensed in Clinical Mental Health and Art Therapy
  5. “A cozy healing center in a beautiful place with a vast array of therapeutic offerings for clients as individuals, couples, and groups, in a world where psychedelic therapy is legal, insurance is available, and all have access to these resources.” – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Demographics

Clinical License and Psychedelic Therapy Certification: Out of the respondents, 40% did not possess a clinical license, highlighting the current ambiguity and lack of standardized regulations in the field. Additionally, 35% reported having no psychedelic therapy certification, indicating the need for clearer certification pathways and opportunities for hands-on experience.

License

  1. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC): 28%
  2. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW): 20%
  3. Clinical Psychologists (PhD, PsyD): 8%
  4. Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT): 8%
  5. Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA): 8%
  6. No license: 8%
  7. Integrative & Holistic Medicine MD: 4%
  8. ND (Naturopathic Doctor): 4%
  9. Pre-licensed in Clinical Mental Health and Art Therapy: 4%
  10. Somatic Relational Trauma-informed Facilitator: 4%
  11. State licensed psilocybin facilitator: 4%
Forms response chart. Question title: My clinical license type is:. Number of responses: 30 responses.

Certification

  1. MAPS: 16%
  2. Integrative Psychiatry Institute: 12%
  3. CIIS: 8%
  4. Naropa University: 8%
  5. No certification: 8%
  6. Changa Institute: 4%
  7. Therapsil: 4%
  8. Underground Training with a Doctor: 4%
  9. Vital: 4%
  10. Numinus: 4%
  11. KTC & InnerTrek: 4%
  12. The Center for Medicinal Mindfulness/Psychedelic Sitter’s School: 4%
  13. Fluence/Journey Clinical: 4%
  14. CIIS/CPTR: 4%
  15. Inner Trek: 4%
  16. Fluence: 4%
Forms response chart. Question title: My psychedelic therapy certification is from:. Number of responses: 30 responses.

Practice Settings

Forms response chart. Question title: I am currently practicing:. Number of responses: 30 responses.

Conclusion: The insights gathered from psychedelic therapists provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of the field. The challenges they face, such as legal restrictions, financial barriers, and the need for clearer regulations, highlight the importance of advocacy and support. By addressing these challenges and providing essential resources, we can foster an environment that promotes safe, accessible, and effective psychedelic therapy. With continued research, collaboration, and the development of comprehensive frameworks, psychedelic therapy has the potential to revolutionize mental health care and facilitate profound healing and personal transformation.

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