Certificate: Psychedelics, Altered States and Transpersonal Psychology
Study the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience, altered states of consciousness and exceptional experiences.
Programme Leader: David Luke, PhD
With a renaissance in psychedelic research suggesting that traditionally prohibited substances such as psilocybin and MDMA might have a valuable role to play in revolutionising psychiatry and in the treatment of mental health problems, this programme offers a roadmap through the complex psychological terrain of the psychedelic experience and other altered states of consciousness within the intellectual and therapeutic envelope of transpersonal psychology.
This programme of study will explore the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience and other altered states, drawing upon transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, cross-cultural psychiatry, neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany, and the study of religions, among other disciplines. It will cover the study of a range of transpersonal and exceptional experiences, such as mystical, shamanic and mediumistic experiences, inter-species communication, entity (e.g., divine beings) encounters, psi experiences, out-of-body and near-death experiences, insight and creativity, love, compassion, connectivity and empathy, and other experiences and concomitants of the psychedelic encounter. In addition, you will learn of recent research developments in understanding the state induced by, and the potential applications of, psychedelics.
Taking a cross-disciplinary approach the programme will both encompass and challenge the prevailing ontology of materialistic-reductionism and draw upon multiple cross-cultural worldviews in the epistemology and interpretation of the psychedelic experience and other altered states.
Our Psychedelics, Altered States and Transpersonal Psychology Certificate Programme at Alef Trust (one-year) provides a collaborative environment to study the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience, altered states of consciousness and exceptional experiences.
- Explore the nature or altered states of consciousness induced by psychedelics and other techniques.
- Learn about the variety of exceptional human experiences induced by altered states, and what challenges and potential opportunities for growth these can provide for the individual, for society and our ecosystems.
- Discover the history and current uses of the study of altered states and psychedelics, the relevance of transpersonal psychology for personal growth, and the importance of multidisciplinary and transcultural perspectives in coming to understand the full spectrum of human experience.
- Investigate your own personal mythology, the realm of the unconscious, the cognitive processes of the psychedelic experience, shamanic worldviews, the healing potential of transcendence, the nature of mind and the limits of experience, among other things.
- Experience working with altered states as a means of personal growth and transformation, exploration, discovery, healing, connection and insight.
- Develop a deeper understanding of; the range of experiences of altered states, approaches to their study and management, and the knowledge and wisdom embedded within transpersonal, indigenous, clinical, therapeutic, academic and psychonautic perspectives on altered states and exceptional human experience.
This programme does not promote or in any way involve the consumption of psychedelics.
Discover more about the value of earning your certificate in Psychedelics, Altered States and Transpersonal Psychology with Programme Leader, David Luke, PhD.
Who benefits from attending the certificate programme?
Applications for the programme are welcome from those having an interest in psychedelic and other altered states therapy and research within the context of transpersonal psychology. Candidates will be required to be sufficiently fluent in use of English to be able to study at this level. A specific background in psychology or allied subject is not essential, although academic orientation to the subject matter will be beneficial. Those attracted to the programme may be therapists and other clinicians, psychologists and other researchers and academics with an interest in psychedelics, as well the interested lay public, such as practitioners of mind exploring activities (meditators, psychonauts, neo-shamans, lucid dreamers, etc.), those considering altered states practices for self-development or mental wellbeing, budding psychedelic researchers, entrepreneurs and investors interested in the psychedelic renaissance, as well the psychologically inclined and intellectually curious.
Does this programme of study offer me practical training in becoming a psychedelic psychotherapist?
This programme does not confer a qualification to work as a psychedelic psychotherapist, or as a therapist or counsellor, however it does provide a good grounding for those wishing to pursue such a career direction, and for clinicians, therapists and counsellors already working with altered states or seeking to do so. The programme offers both a sound academic approach, rooted in transpersonal psychology, and practical reflexive supervised experience in the observation, study, research, exploration, care, or guidance of experiences in altered states.
Are psychedelic studies becoming more widespread?
We are currently witnessing a psychedelic research renaissance, as evidenced by the surge in academic publications of research papers on psychedelics, with dedicated centres for research opening up last year at Johns Hopkins University, USA, and at Imperial College London (where the Programme Leader is an Honorary Senior Lecturer), and at UC Berkeley, USA.
Furthermore, the announcement in 2018 that psilocybin and MDMA have been granted ‘breakthrough therapy’ status by the FDA in the US indicates that these substances are likely tobe licensed for medical use in the next 2-3 years, ushering in venture capital investment in psychedelic pharmacology and therapy to the tune of an estimated $2bn this year. The UK has seen its first psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy clinic appear this year, and in the US there are now already 200+ ketamine clinics for treating depression and addictions, which looked poised to adopt new psychedelic substances as they become licensed and legalised for medical use.
In addition, the considerable growth in ‘plant medicines’ recently has seen numbers of retreat centres internationally grow exponentially (e.g., there are 70 ayahuasca retreat centres in the Iquitos region of Peru alone listed on Trip Advisor). The explosion of interest in psychedelics, coupled with the coming use in psychotherapy will require thousands of therapists, psychologists and ‘sitters’ (guides), versed in the transpersonal realms that emerge during a psychedelic experience.
David Luke (PhD)
Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College.