- Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is gaining momentum legally and economically.
- The psychedelic movement needs all kinds of skill sets and backgrounds.
- The best way to join the psychedelic renaissance is to join local groups and conferences.
The field of psychedelic-assisted therapy is marching forward. On the frontlines are the academics, the chemists, the policy advocates, and the therapists.
Behind them include the ranks of entrepreneurs and investors—all to usher in and prepare for the approaching legalization of psychedelic-assisted therapy. The DEA is in retreat. In the war on drugs, it seems the drugs are winning.
But if you are not a therapist, academic, or policy advocate, there are still many ways to get involved. There is a need for all kinds of skills: lawyers, imams, accountants, polyglots, and fire dancers. (Especially that last one, as anyone who has been to a festival can attest.) All kinds of psychedelic adjacent career fields are blooming. There is even such a career as a psychedelic interior designer. To boot, this column is authored by a psychedelic comedian. Clearly, no matter how trivial, all kinds of backgrounds are welcome.
Wondering how to get involved in the much-heralded renaissance of psychedelic science and psychedelic-assisted therapy? Go out and get an MD-PhD, then run for office and legalize everything. If you don’t have a dozen years and millions of dollars to spare plus family connections in politics, then just go out and meet people.
Find the Others
Yes, the most important way to get involved in the psychedelic renaissance is to meet others. Ideally, in physical human-to-human meet-space, as archaic as it sounds. Here are several ways to meet others with similar interests though the list is far from comprehensive.
For those in New York, several important gatherings are coming up. In September, there’s the Psychedelic Assembly, a two-day gathering of the various psychedelic tribes. Its lineup of speakers and themes promises to be historic. Attendees include psychiatrists, artists, mycologists, physicists, chemists, and many of the great minds at work in the larger psychedelic movement. It may shape up to be a re-invention of the human be-in of the 1969 Summer of Love.
Also in New York in October is the yearly Horizons Psychedelic Conference featuring the most cutting-edge academic discoveries in the field of psychedelic science. Plus, there are always the after parties where the real education begins. If you have doubts that the field of psychedelic science employs multi-threat talents, just check out the psychedelic variety show billed as an after-party for the conference. It has a potentially familiar host.
The event with perhaps the greatest anticipation is the MAPS conference hosted in Denver in the Spring of 2023. Conceived years ago by MAPS founder and psychedelic demi-god Rick Doblin, this conference is intended to bring together the world's psychedelic community and celebrate progress in the psychedelic renaissance in Denver in 2023. As its time comes near, it looks like there may be much more to celebrate if the Biden administration makes good on its promises.
Therapist Training and Groups
There are several ways to get involved directly, and there is a great demand if you possess a background in therapy, psychiatry, psychology, or life coaching. The first place to start is MAPS which has a helpful list of resources and regular training for psychedelic-assisted therapists.
Relatedly, Fluence is an organization specializing in the instruction of psychedelic integration, ketamine therapy, and even psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The need for integration therapists is vast, and the demand is immediate.
The Center for Optimal Living also trains therapists in the practice of harm reduction. This patient-oriented approach does not assume patients will abstain from drug use but focuses on how to optimize their life based on their choices.
For those without a formal background or license interested in directly helping patients undergoing psychedelic experiences, the Zendo Project might be a good resource to look into. The Zendo Project provides training to facilitate peer support systems at large gatherings. What does that mean? It means people having a “bad trip” at a music festival can be taken to a Zendo volunteer who will guide them towards peace and stability. Other ravers reading this may be interested in volunteering with DanceSafe, an organization dedicated to ensuring the safety of festival goers by testing their substances free of charge (although hugs are usually accepted).
The Cheerleading Section
Simply search your interest plus the word “psychedelic,” and you are bound to find a group yearning for your skillset or background. Lawyers can find the perfect melding of their profession and their passion with the Plant Medicine Law Group. Polyglots can help the Psychedelic Literacy Fund translate several seminal psychedelic works.
The “cool” kind of parents can commiserate and celebrate at one of the most ingeniously named organizations: Plant Parenthood. Academics may be interested in Chacruna, a research organization that promotes education through events about the indigenous origins of many plant medicines. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are quite engaging comedy shows about the subject. Then, of course, you can simply search for a local psychedelic society or Meetup group.
This list is certainly not exhaustive. It is meant simply to highlight several helpful groups and events to know about. There are fascinating documentaries to watch, books to read, social media accounts to follow, newsletters to subscribe to, and interdimensional prophets to hallucinate. But the best way to find out about those things is to find a community to tell you about them. There is no shortage of fascinating groups and people to commingle with.
As Timothy Leary said,
Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.
To find a therapist near you, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.