Psychedelics and Social Justice | Online

This course explores the intersections of social justice, psychedelic research, and Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration.

Get TicketsCourse is full

Event details

Psychedelics and Social Justice

Winter 2021

Faculty: Kelly Sykes, PhD, & Elizabeth Nielson, PhD

Guest Speakers have been invited: please check this page again soon for details.

Dates/Times: Mondays, 9:30-11 AM Eastern Time (EST through March 13, EDT starting March 14th).

Group meeting dates: 2/22, 3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10




$1,200 for 12-sessions

Optional CE certificate for $65

A limited number of diversity scholarships are available, please complete this application.

This group is by application only, Please click here to apply.

Certificate Program

This course can be taken in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychedelic Integration Therapy or the Postgraduate Certificate in Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy.

Course Description

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is making its way through the established medical system’s approval process and moving towards becoming a mainstream treatment for conditions such as PTSD and Depression. This comes after years of prohibition of psychedelics through international drug conventions and local laws often disproportionately enforced in marginalized communities. Psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapy offer a unique vantage point for examining key social justice topics such as healthcare disparities, oppressive psychiatric treatments, and stigma experienced by people who use drugs. This reading group will cover a range of literature -- from both academic and other sources -- to encourage critical and creative thinking about both the present challenges and future opportunities for addressing social injustice in the field of psychedelic medicine, focusing on the role of the clinician’s voice in context of the larger healthcare system. The instructors will contribute from their own insights into the social justice implications of psychedelic-assisted therapy gleaned from working in forensic psychology (Dr. Sykes) and psychedelic-assisted therapy research (Dr. Nielson).

This class will engage participants in the use of mindful listening and self-reflection practices to encourage participants’ self-inquiry and develop intuitive understanding and choice of action based therein. We will start with introductions and exploration of participants’s relationship to the material and intentions for joining the course. Throughout our time together, participants will be invited to bring curiosity and openness to their own experiences, both in and out of the classroom, with a focus on developing insight and understanding based therein. As we bring the course to a close participants will be invited to engage in a reflective writing exercise to clarify what they have learned and how they desire to incorporate these insights into their lives going forward. We will spend our last class with open time for sharing and discussion, with the goal of each participant completing the course with a sense of how they would like to integrate the material and a clear path to doing so.

This reading and study group will meet weekly for 12 weeks, and maintain the same membership for the 12 week period. The group will have a syllabus with papers or chapters that participants are expected to read. The format will include a short review of a selected paper by the group leader, followed by discussion of the content and related matters. This group will not be a forum for case presentations or extended sharing, either personal or clinical. The group is open to all, but will assume that members are interested in studying the academic literature on psychedelics and social justice. We are asking Reading Group members to commit to the full 12-week series upon registration. Readings will be available via links from our online classroom or curtesy copy from the instructors.

This group is by application only, Please click here to apply.

Weekly Topics

Week 1: Introductions, listening practice and reflection, setting the stage for our time together.

Week 2 How we got here: A quick look at drug policy

Week 3: Mainstreaming Psychedelic-assisted therapies and critiques of the mental health model

Week 4: Sanism and Abstinence

Week 5: Diversity and inclusion in psychedelic-assisted therapy

Week 6: Challenges to challenging the status quo

Week 7: Do decriminalization and medicalization infringe on people’s rights?

Week 8: Gender and the male-female co-therapist team model

Week 9: Veterans and Moral PTSD

Week 10: Ethics statements and community guidelines

Week 11: Licensed and unlicensed professionals, epistemologies, personal experiences, and stigma

Week 12: Closing session: Drawing on our experience to inform the path forward

Learning Objectives

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to…

  1. Critique the implications of drug policy that impact marginalized populations’ access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  2. Describe the mental health and policy barriers that perpetuate stigma and inequitable access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  3. Explain the ways in which bias against individuals with mental illness are used to invalidate their  perspectives, and how this relates to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  4. Analyze the role of ethnic and racial identity in psychedelic-assisted therapy research.
  5. Analyze Intersection between research, policy, corporatization of psychedelics and its impact on indigenous communities  
  6. Describe current psychedelic decriminalization efforts in the US and their relationship to existing drug and religious use policies.
  7. Describe the role of gender within psychedelic therapist dyads, and between dyads and participants.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of unique aspects of PTSD in military populations that may impact their treatment with psychedelic-assisted therapy.  
  9. Explain the role and application of leading ethical guidelines for psychedelic-assisted therapy.
  10. Demonstrate knowledge of controversies related to therapist self-disclosure of personal experience with psychedelics.

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals

CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

LCSWs, MFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.

For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Elizabeth Nielson, For questions about CE, visit or contact David Lukoff, PhD at