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Psychedelic-assisted Therapy

Psychedelic-assisted Therapy

  • Program Length 
    1 Year
  • Credential 
    Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate program

Psychedelic-assisted therapies are now legal in Canada, and they show enormous promise. There is a growing demand for well-trained health care teams to deliver psychedelic-assisted therapies. This 15-credit graduate-level certificate program is designed to meet that demand.

The program provides practical training you can use in the frontline of care. When you complete the program, you'll receive an accredited graduate-level Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Certificate. You'll also receive ongoing compassionate accountability from a community of practice.

See course outlines and admission requirements.

A radically different form of mental health care

Psychedelic-assisted therapies are radically different from the frameworks that most clinicians, therapists and clergy members train under. As a result, radically different training is needed. Physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual safety is paramount in this program. 

Psychedelic-assisted therapies centre on navigating non-ordinary states of consciousness. The goal is to re-establish a sense of connection to ourselves, our fellow humans and the natural world. These therapies promote the awareness, courage and compassion necessary to heal past wounds. They also help participants challenge belief systems that fuel disconnection and distress.

A living curriculum 

Developed by experts from British Columbia and in collaboration with the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia, the curriculum will continue to evolve. The curriculum is informed by:

  • Indigenous and Western ways of knowing
  • a growing body of literature
  • functional medicine theory
  • feedback from trainees

See the PATGC Skillfulness and Ethics Standards living

This program strives to respectfully work toward a relational approach that is inclusive of multiple ways of knowing, with a focus on Western and Indigenous approaches to healing - collaborating in ways that promote reconciliation, while also protecting the cultures from which the knowledge is emerging.

Our team is on a committed path toward true equality and anti-racism. We work within the health and education systems, which are laden with systemic racism. These systems are actively addressing systemic racism, as are we. We welcome all perspectives on how this program could discriminate against, marginalize or oppress any person or group. This helps us embody our ethics as we continue to develop this curriculum. We adhere to Health Standard Organizations, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultural Safety and Humility Standards.

Program options

Interested in progressing to a Master's Degree? 

We are developing a mechanism for students to apply these graduate level credits towards a Master's program, and in some cases, students will be able to transfer the credits to another institution (toward a master's degree). 

More information

See the program outline, admission requirements, start dates and application deadlines on the course details page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does this program include having the students go through the sessions as clients to experience the therapeutic effects of Psychedelics, or are students strictly the providers in the practicum?

A: Students are strictly providers, there is no experiential learning with substances during this program.  Alternative ways of achieving an altered state, such as a Breathwork experience may be made available at some point in the course. 

Q: Are you looking for people who would like to receive psychedelic treatments to help the students practice while in the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy program?

A: At this time, we are not performing any clinical trials that would require volunteer subjects.  Please see the link below to find all ongoing clinical trials in Canada and the world. 

See How to join a psychedelic clinical trial

Q: Is this program developed in the view that graduates will be able to be licensed to provide psychedelic assisted therapy legally once more medicines become legal for therapy in Canada? 

A: The regulatory environment is still unclear, but in short, VIU is forging a path for accredited education in this area to meet regulatory requirements.  Currently, graduates will be regulated under their existing discipline.

Q:  Is it possible to take only some of the courses? 

A: At this time the Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Program is a cohort-based offering, so the courses cannot be taken independently or as electives for other programs. 

Q: Are there financial support options available for this program?

A: Because the Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Program program is both part time and virtual, it is not eligible for government student loan funding or provincial bursary programs.  We have a list of external awards on our website, and there is a section for students doing graduate programs.  Potentially there may be something there you could qualify for.  You would apply directly to the initiator as these are not administered by VIU, we just post them.  Deadlines all vary.

Q: Where can I go for more information regarding the current state of Psychedelic-assisted therapy in Canada?

A: This is the content that we share during the program, however, you can go to Google Scholar and use the keywords psychedelic assisted therapy in Canada, try to filter your results to 2022 and 2023 peer reviewed articles. That will give you the research publicly available that speak to the topic. You can also visit the Psychedelic Association of Canada