A new group formed to promote professionalism and standardized practices in psychedelic therapy announced its launch this week and is reaching out to therapists, practitioners, and other professionals to join the organization. Dubbed the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA), the nonprofit group is launching its membership drive at the 15th Horizons Perspective on Psychedelics Conference being held in New York City this week.
The APPA was formed to foster safe, ethical and accessible psychedelic therapy, which is gaining traction as an emerging field for mental health researchers and clinicians. The group aims to provide support, community, education, and mentorship for the psychedelic community, while serving as a trusted resource for practitioners. The APPA also plans to build consensus for the development of training standards and standards of care, which have not yet been seen in the field of psychedelic therapy. The group is led by a diverse group of professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, lawyers, professors, researchers, and traditional medicine healers, and is dedicated to advocating at the national level for safe, effective, and accessible care for all who can benefit from psychedelic medicine.
“The importance of standardizing practices in this space is critical, and we are grateful we are leading the way with standards as a collective group,” Nicole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., APPA co-chair and a member of the board of directors, said in a statement from the group.
Psychedelic Therapy and Mental Health
Psychedelic drugs show strong promise as potential treatments for an array of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance misuse disorders. However, the drugs also commonly induce altered states of consciousness that can leave patients susceptible to harm or exploitation by unscrupulous professionals. And while the field of psychedelic therapy is evolving quickly and shows promising potential to help patients with serious mental health conditions, negative stereotypes commonly associated with psychedelic drugs and the stigma assigned to those who use them threaten to undermine the full realization of their benefits.
Dr. Alex Cardenas, the executive director of the APPA, says that developing standardized training and best practices can help protect patients while fostering effective care and maximizing the benefits of psychedelic therapy.
“By establishing standards, guidelines, and accreditation of training programs while also collaborating with partner organizations focused on certifying practitioners, we hope to reassure the public and policy makers that psychedelic assisted therapy is an evidence-based and expert-informed option for their care that will be provided by trained and competent practitioners,” Cardenas told Forbes.
New Members Welcome
The APPA is hosting a membership drive at the 15th Horizons Perspective on Psychedelics Conference being held at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City this week. The group invites professionals in the psychedelic, mental health, therapy, and psychology fields “to sign up to receive support from APPA and learn the critical evolution of regulations and best practices in how patients are treated in this space.”
“It is time for the dispersed and diverse psychedelic practitioner community to come together to further establish, develop, and legitimize the field,” Cardenas said when asked what inspired the formation of the group. “To ensure safe, effective, equitable, and accessible care, a professional association is needed to support our community in centralizing the evidence and building expert consensus towards standards of care and of training and ethical guidelines of practice.”
Professionals interested in the APPA are encouraged to apply or find more information online. The nonprofit organization has also launched a fundraising drive, with a goal of raising $2.5 million to support its efforts.
“We are thrilled and humbled to provide a platform to share with practitioners and psychedelic industry members, and bring standards to this space through community, collaboration, and coordinated advocacy,” Cardenas said in the statement from the APPA.