Psychedelic medicine and therapies have arrived.
The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies (BPMT) is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to creating board certification for psychedelic medicine practitioners and educating practitioners, the health care system, and potential consumers about the inherent value of the certification process.
Psychedelic medicine remains in its professional infancy. Clinical standards are ill defined and informal. Psychedelic medicine has no current metrics to assess skill and competency for practitioners. Training is difficult to obtain, inconsistent in depth and without agreed upon competencies. Various subcultures exist within psychedelic medicine and each carries different beliefs and unique paths of study. Research centers have begun to appear around the country at major universities and the risk of over medicalization for this field remains quite high.
Liability issues are enormous and difficult to even assess right now. Insurance reimbursement and equitable access are many years away. The professional risk for personalized experiential training with these agents remains substantial even though most thought leaders within the field endorse the direct benefit to clinical practice. Psychedelic medicine has attracted a growing number of venture capitalists and for-profit clinical models with the full spectrum of integrity represented. This is currently a very risky, confusing and chaotic frontier of practice for any professional to enter, especially without a clear career path. For this field to become more than a fringe treatment option for the elite and affluent we need clarity, credibility and reimbursement.
Certification carries a wide range of benefits. It creates unified clinical standards for psychedelic medicine and, in doing so, protects the public through rigorous safety and ethical standards. Certification also reduces the liability risk for practitioners and promotes equitable access to effective mental health care in the United States. This work is seen as critical to define the parameters of the field, enhance public confidence, clarify educational curricula, augment professional credibility, insure broad access, and create a distinct career path. Certification is the most direct path to accomplish these goals. This certification will speed psychedelic medicine towards its incredible promise to become a widely available treatment option.
Our Mission and Vision
Mission: The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies will certify psychedelic-assisted psychotherapists to ensure the competent, safe, and ethical delivery of psychedelic medicine in an equitable and accessible manner for members of diverse populations.
Vision: BPMT aspires to a future where psychedelic psychotherapy contributes to healing people and the planet with equitable, safe and accessible care for all populations.More About Us
Our Board of Directors and Staff
Robert Koffman, MD, MPHBoard Chair
Amy EmersonBoard Member
Benjamin Kelmendi, MDBoard Member
Diana Quinn, NDBoard Member
Janis Phelps, PhDBoard Member
Sara Reed, MS, LMFTBoard Member
Robert Strayhan, MDFormer Board Member
Malynn Utzinger, MDBoard Member
Monnica T. Williams, PhD, ABPPBoard Member
Scott Shannon, MDChief Executive Officer
Kirk MarckwaldInterim Executive Director
Gina MagañaProgram Manager
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need psychedelic medicine?
Mental health care in this country is in crisis and failing by almost every measure. Psychedelic medicine holds the promise to shift our paradigm in mental health to a model that embodies real transformation. Current research has indicated sustained benefits, and in many cases, a complete resolution of the underlying clinical issue after a few treatment episodes with either MDMA or psilocybin. Our current model of psychiatric care requires daily administration of medicine to reduce symptoms. Psychedelic medicine has the potential to become a new paradigm in mental health treatment that offers real hope and substantive progress.
What does certification offer the practitioner?
A certification test provides a clear and coherent career path for practitioners. It will assess the skills and knowledge tailored to therapeutic work with psychedelic medicines, in particular MDMA and psilocybin. Practitioners who pass will be credentialed as a Board-Certified Psychedelic Practitioner (BCPP). This credential will identify those healthcare providers who are qualified to treat mental disorders using approved psychedelic medicines and therapy practices. The BCPP designation confirms that certified practitioners have met the requirements for certification through initial assessment and periodic recertification. This credential then can be applied to reimbursement requests, job applications, professional advancement and client confidence.
How does the board determine what needs to be tested?
The actual work of the psychedelic therapist remains to be well defined in a coherent fashion. This critical step in the emergence of psychedelic medicine will be accomplished by a process called job analysis. The BPMT will elaborate, analyze, and refine the specific tasks and competencies involved in this new profession. This job analysis framework will be a detailed and formal study that defines and validates the knowledge, skills, and tasks required in the work of a psychedelic psychotherapist. It will thus define the core competencies necessary for safe and effective practice with psychedelic medicines. These specific knowledge, skills, and abilities endorsed by the BPMT will establish the clinical guidelines for the practice of psychedelic therapies that apply across various professions and disciplines from social work, psychiatry, marriage and family therapy to psychology. By creating a core set of practice guidelines, the BPMT seeks to address practitioner liability issues, protect public safety, and find an appropriate balance between medical and psychotherapeutic practices. The test will closely reflect the skills and knowledge needed to effectively and safely practice psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
What does the practitioner need to know?
The qualified professional will be required to possess both adequate clinical skills and a sufficient knowledge base in the realm of psychedelic medicine. The knowledge base required will include the history, cultural origins, clinical characteristics, applications, risk factors, time course, and other common features of each medicine. Beyond this, the certified practitioner will be required to possess sound clinical skills to appropriately screen in and out candidates based on mental health background and characteristics. Each certified practitioner must understand, embrace, and adhere to the code of ethics for psychedelic medicine. They will also need to possess the expertise needed to sit for and facilitate for a range of journey styles and complications. This includes comfort in managing extreme states, ability to respond effectively to adverse events, and the facilitation of a therapeutic set and setting. The board will post the content outline for the exam and weighting of each section later this year, well ahead of the test application process.
Who will be eligible to become certified?
Once the job analysis framework is completed, the BPMT will define the basic eligibility requirements for the BCPP certification. It is critical that these eligibility guidelines reflect the emerging profession and the systemic demands for both safety and credibility. The first tier assessed will be health care providers licensed in the US. While the exact eligibility requirements have not been formally established by the BPMT, we expect candidates will be experienced healthcare professionals, licensed in the United States with demonstrated proficiency using psychedelic medicines in a therapeutic setting to plan and provide treatment for a range of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other traditionally difficult to treat conditions. As certified and licensed mental health care professionals, BCPPs are expected to practice in independent offices, hospital-based clinics, retreat centers, and multidisciplinary clinics among other settings. They come from a range of existing medical and mental health professions such as social work, psychology, psychiatry, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists to name a few. The eligibility requirements will be posted later this year, once the job analysis is completed.
How have you addressed diversity, equity, and inclusion?
The striking lack of diversity in the psychedelic arena concerns us deeply. We have addressed this issue in a number of ways. The practitioner work group held a laser sharp focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as they contributed to the electoral process. As a result, a number of electors were directly allocated to minority representatives. Once the fourteen electors were identified (they include Stan Grof, Andy Weil, Mary Cosimano, Sylver Quevado and 10 others), they were instructed to hold DEI concerns prominently in the nomination process. The Ad Hoc group also hired a DEI consultant to advise about the electoral process and governance issues. The bylaws of the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies include a direct statement about the central importance of DEI for this project as we move towards certification. This intention will be held each step of the way as we develop metrics for knowledge, assessment of skills and tools for discernment. Finally, we believe that the diversity represented in our current Board of BPMT reflects our commitment to this grave responsibility.
What is the timeline?
Members of the Board of Directors convened their inaugural meeting in December 2021, to adopt bylaws, elect officers of the organization, and begin its various organizational tasks. We expect to identify Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from the field to create the certification test in the first half of 2022. SMEs will begin crafting test items through the summer and fall of 2022. We will post the content outline for the exam in the Fall of 2022. We hope to have a test piloted in late 2022 and open applications for the first formal certification test in the first half of 2023. We will post all of these steps as they occur and provide regular updates in our newsletter.
Our Contact Information
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