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Digital Seminar

The Use of Mind-Altering Substances: MDMA, Psilocybin, and Marijuana for Treating PTSD and other Mental Distress

For the first time in over four decades, researchers are returning to examining the therapeutic benefits of mind-altering substances, including MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (mushrooms), marijuana and LSD.  In the 1970s the study of all psychedelics was criminalized in the US, despite emerging evidence of their medical value. Over the past decade, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS) has helped to revive psychedelic research, sponsoring studies across the United States and around the world, including MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, and end-of-life anxiety. The results have been very positive, lasting over 72 months of follow-up, with few adverse effects. Psychedelics may promote a deepening and acceleration of the psychotherapeutic process. During therapy, people often are able to access and find peace with disavowed, “exiled” parts of themselves. In this workshop, the principal investigator of the Phase I and II level trials will discuss outcomes and processes. Two of the most prominent neurobiologists of psychedelics, Robin Carhart Harris and Sue Carter will present their findings about fundamental mechanisms, and the Boston MDMA study team will discuss clinical experiences and applications. In appropriate therapeutic contexts, psychedelics may prove to be more effective than most conventional treatments, as well as safer and more cost-effective.


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Michael Mithoefer, MD |  Rick Doblin, Ph.D. |  Phil Wolfson, MD |  Sue Carter, PhD |  Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD |  Andrew Penn, RN, MS, NP, CNS, APRN-BC |  Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. |  Anne Wagner, PhD, C Psych |  James W. Hopper, Ph.D. |  Elizabeth Call, Psy.D. |  Susan Walker, MD |  Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW |  Michael Alpert, MD |  Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
3 Hours 59 Minutes
May 18, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Continuing Professional Development Certificates - PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 4 hours CPD.



Michael Mithoefer, MD's Profile

Michael Mithoefer, MD Related seminars and products

Michael Mithoefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2009, he completed & published the first FDA approved clinical trial of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD, followed by completion of a Phase II trial. He is overseeing a multisite Phase III study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 13 sites around the US (including the Trauma Research Foundation), and another MDMA-assisted psychotherapy multisite study in Europe and Israel.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Michael Mithoefer receives a salary and grants from MAPS Public Benefit Corp and is a clinical assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Non-financial: Michael Mithoefer is a member of the non-profit MAPS.


Rick Doblin, Ph.D.'s Profile

Rick Doblin, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Executive Director, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); chair of the board of directors MAPS Public Benefit Corporation.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Richard Doblin is the founder and executive director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Inc.
Non-financial: Richard Doblin has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


Phil Wolfson, MD's Profile

Phil Wolfson, MD Related seminars and products

Phil Wolfson, MD, is Principal Investigator for a Phase 2, FDA approved 18-person study of MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy for individuals with significant anxiety due to life threatening illnesses. His clinical practice with ketamine has informed his leadership role in the development of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. Phil’s book The Ketamine Papers has been published by MAPS and is the seminal work in the burgeoning ketamine arena. Phil is a sixties activist, psychiatrist/psychotherapist, writer, practicing Buddhist and psychonaut who has lived in the Bay Area for 38 years. He is the author of Noe – A Father/Son Song of Love, Life, Illness and Death (2011, North Atlantic Books). In the 1980s, he participated in clinical research with MDMA (Ecstasy). He has been awarded five patents for unique herbal medicines. He is a journalist and author of numerous articles on politics, transformation, psychedelics, consciousness and spirit, and was a founding member of the Heffter Research Institute. Phil has taught in the graduate psychology programs at JFK University, CIIS and the UCSF School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Philip Wolfson is the founder and CEO of The Ketamine Research Foundation. He has an ownership interest in Progressive Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Wolfson will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Philip Wolfson has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


Sue Carter, PhD's Profile

Sue Carter, PhD Related seminars and products

C. Sue Carter, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist, Rudy Professor Emerita of Biology at Indiana University Bloomington and from 2014-2019 was Director of the Kinsey Institute. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago and formerly held the position of Distinguished University Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland and prior to that was Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Ecology, Ethology and Evolution at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Carter is a past president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and holds fellow status in that Society and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has a career long history of federal research funding include an NIMH Research Scientist Award. Dr. Carter is the scientist who discovered the relationship between social behavior and oxytocin. Her current work examines the developmental consequences of oxytocin and the role of oxytocin pathways in human sociality.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: C. Sue Carter is the Distinguished University Research Scientist and Rudy Professor Emerita of Biology at Indiana University.
Non-financial: C. Sue Carter has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD's Profile

Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD Related seminars and products

Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD, is a psychologist and neuroscientist and Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London. He coordinated the first clinical study of psilocybin in the UK and the first clinical study of a classic psychedelic drug in the UK for over 40 years.

After being awarded an MA in Psychoanalysis at Brunel University, London, Carhart-Harris completed his PhD in psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol. In 2009, under the mentorship of Professor David Nutt, he relocated to Imperial College, London to continue his fMRI research with the classic psychedelic psilocybin. In conjunction with David Nutt, he built up a program of psychedelic research that includes fMR and MEG imaging with psilocybin, fMR imaging with MDMA, and plans for an MRC-sponsored clinical trial to assess the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for major depression.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Robin Carhart-Harris is the Head of Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.
Non-financial: Robin Carhart-Harris is a member of the Association for Psychological Services; Neuropsychoanalysis Association; International Society for Research on Psychedelics; and the British Association for Psychopharmacology. He is an advisory council member for the Massachusetts General Hospital, Psychedelic Research Centre.

Andrew Penn, RN, MS, NP, CNS, APRN-BC's Profile

Andrew Penn, RN, MS, NP, CNS, APRN-BC Related seminars and products

Andrew Penn MS, PMHNP, UC San Francisco trained psychiatric nurse practitioner. Associate clinical professor in the UCSF School of Nursing, practicing at the San Francisco VA. He has worked as study therapist on a MDMA-assisted therapy protocol for PTSD.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Andrew Penn is an associate clinical professor at UCSF School of Nursing. He has an employment relationship with the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital. He is a steering committee member and nurse planner for North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME). Mr. Penn is a study therapist for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies, UCSF Langley Porter Institute, BAND Lab. He will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Andrew Penn is the co-founder of the Organization of Psychedelic and Entheogenic Nurses. He is the founder of UCSF School of Nursing Psychedelic Therapy Journal Club. Mr. Penn is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.


Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D.'s Profile

Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. Related seminars and products


The Center for Self Leadership

Richard Schwartz began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called "parts." These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s.

IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.

In 2013, Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Richard Schwartz is the Founder of The Center for Self Leadership. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Richard Schwartz is a Fellow and member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.

Anne Wagner, PhD, C Psych's Profile

Anne Wagner, PhD, C Psych Related seminars and products

Anne Wagner, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology & Associate Member, Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University, Toronto. Trainer in CBCT and CPT. Team member, MDMA trial for Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy (CBCT) for PTSD. Founder of Remedy (, a centre for mental health innovation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Anne Wagner is the founder of Remedy. She is an adjunct professor, department of Psychology at Ryerson University. Dr. Wagner is an associate member, Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University.
Non-financial: Anne Wagner serves on the board of directors for Casey House. She is a member of the Canadian Psychological Association – Traumatic Stress Section; International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies; the Ontario Psychological Association; International Society for Psychedelic Research; and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies – Trauma and PTSD Special Interest Group.


James W. Hopper, Ph.D.'s Profile

James W. Hopper, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

James W. Hopper, Ph.D., Independent consultant and instructor in psychology, Cambridge Health Alliance & Harvard Medical School. Co-editor, Mindfulness-oriented interventions for trauma: Integrating contemplative practices. The MDMA Team, Trauma Research Foundation.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: James Hopper is a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School; and at Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a sub-investigator and therapist at The Trauma Research Corporation. Dr. Hopper will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: James Hopper is a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is on the advisory board for Callisto.


Elizabeth Call, Psy.D.'s Profile

Elizabeth Call, Psy.D. Related seminars and products

Elizabeth Call, Psy.D., Psychologist in private practice. Therapy team member, MDMA study, the Trauma Research Foundation.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Elizabeth Call maintains a private practice. She receives a consulting fee from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Dr. Call receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Elizabeth Call has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Susan Walker, MD's Profile

Susan Walker, MD Related seminars and products

Susan Walker, MD, Instructor in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.  Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Cambridge Health Alliance. MDMA Therapy Team Member, the Trauma Research Foundation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Susan Walker is a clinical sub-investigator at the Trauma Research Foundation. She will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Susan Walker is a member of the American Psychiatric Association; the Massachusetts Psychiatric Association; the New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW's Profile

Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW Related seminars and products

Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW, Private practice, Cambridge, MA; MDMA Therapy team member, The Trauma Research Foundation.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Francis Guerriero maintains a private practice. He will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Francis Guerriero has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


Michael Alpert, MD's Profile

Michael Alpert, MD Related seminars and products

Michael D. Alpert, MD, Psychiatrist, South Cove Community Health Center, Boston Harvard Medical School; MDMA Therapy team member, the Trauma Research Foundation.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Michael Alpert is a clinical faculty member of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Harvard Medical School. He is an attending psychiatrist at South Cove Community Health Center. Dr. Alpert is a therapist with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. He is a mental health consultant for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, LLP. He will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Michael Alpert has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.'s Profile

Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Related seminars and products

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress.  His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma.  He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR. 

He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects. 

His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.  He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School.  He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine.  He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial:  Bessel van der Kolk has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

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Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Debate the emerging research of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy (MDMA-AP) and describe effective ways of integrating it into ongoing psychotherapy to improve clinical outcomes for clients with PTSD. 
  2. Investigate the history and contemporary research of Psilocybin and evaluate the effectiveness of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) in facilitating psychotherapy. 
  3. Synthesize methods of integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy in contemporary treatment for mental illness. 
  4. Differentiate key areas of investigation regarding therapeutic potentials of classic 5-HT2A agonist psychedelics for mental healthcare. 


  • The emerging research on MDMA and MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy 
  • The history and contemporary research on Psilocybin and Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy 
  • Integration of psychedelics in contemporary treatments for mental illness 
  • Investigations regarding neurotransmitters and psychedelics 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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Your satisfaction is our goal and our guarantee. Concerns should be addressed to: PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000 or email

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