Pre-Conference Workshop

Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy: Background, Current Research, and Basic Skills

August 11-12, 2022

Register for Workshop

Click to download. Please submit a completed application to

Continuing Education:

10.5 hours


Natalie Gukasyan, MDb
Alan K Davis, PhDa,b
Diana Quinn, NDa,c


aThe Ohio State University College of Social Work
bJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
cNaropa University, Center for Psychedelic Studies

Course Description

Psychedelic substances produce cognitive effects ranging from psychologically challenging to spiritual, mystical, and insightful. Although several factors are related to the type of psychedelic experiences one might have (i.e., dose, purity of substance, substance used, individual/environmental factors), many report that these experiences are psychologically helpful. For example, cross-sectional surveys and laboratory experiments suggest that psilocybin can have psychotherapeutic benefit, with published reports documenting positive outcomes. Furthermore, evidence suggest that the acute psilocybin experience is associated with positive clinical outcomes and with persisting changes in attitude, mood, personality, beliefs, and behavior among clinical samples with depression, PTSD, addiction, and anxiety.  Furthermore, clinical discussion of these experiences has been found to be a key part of gaining maximum benefits. Therefore, this workshop aims to briefly review the empirical literature supporting the study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, provide a basic framework of the possible acute effects occasioned by psilocybin, and assist attendees in developing a foundational set of skills which can be used to respond to and explore such experiences when clients bring up such content in psychotherapy. Case examples will be used to illustrate content from the didactic portions of the training, and role-play exercise will elucidate practical applications of relevant skills.


Topics Covered

  • Brief history of psychedelics
  • Similarities across psychedelic experiences
  • Acute psilocybin effects
  • Outcomes of psilocybin-therapy clinical trials
  • Setting/Contextual Factors
  • Different approaches regarding therapist role during drug administration session
  • Basics of psychedelic preparation, dosing, and integration 


Learning Objectives

At the end of this program the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the evidence supporting psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy and understand the range of acute subjective experiences one might have during a psilocybin session.
  • Identify the types of challenges and benefits people may have following psychedelic experiences and ways in which they may need support from professionals in understanding their experience and in integrating such experiences into their daily lives.
  • Apply a foundational set of skills they can use to respond to and explore psychedelic experiences with a client.


Instructional Methodology

  • Lecture
  • Audio/Visual
  • Case Presentation
  • Interactive Exercises


Costs for the event

$500 for continuing education credits

$750 for continuing medical education credits

This cost includes continental breakfast and lunch both days as well as all materials associated with the 2-day training.


Application Registration

Tickets are limited to 40 people. Interested participants will complete a brief application and submit to the training facilitators for review. If accepted, you will be notified with next steps in order to register for the workshop. Applications will be accepted starting 5/1 and announced via the mailing list.

Natalie Gukasyan bio photo

Natalie Gukasyan, MD

Natalie Gukasyan, M.D. is a psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University. After receiving her M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine Dr. Gukasyan completed her internship and residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. Her current research focuses on the feasibility and efficacy of novel treatment strategies including psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for mood, addictive, and eating disorders. Dr. Gukasyan is also a clinician at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Community Psychiatry Program serving patients with co-occurring mental illness and addictive disorders.

Alan K. Davis, PhD bio photo

Alan K Davis, PhD

Dr. Davis is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Psychiatry at Ohio State University. His is also on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Alan has extensive clinical experience working with US Military Veterans and civilians suffering with addiction, PTSD, and depression. His research explores alternative treatments for addiction and mental illness, including psychedelic-assisted therapies, and how to increase access to current treatment systems through reducing provider stigma about substance misuse and alternative treatment approaches. Alan has published over 70 scientific articles and book chapters and presented research at dozens of national and international scientific conferences. Published landmark trial in 2021 on the use of psilocybin therapy for depression in JAMA psychiatry. In 2022, he launched the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education at Ohio State University, wherein he will conduct the first psilocybin therapy trial for Veterans with PTSD.

Diana Quinn, ND

Dr. Quinn is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a focus on psychoneuroimmunology and integrative mental health. Her clinical work has centered care of marginalized communities, including people of color, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and low-income populations. Dr. Quinn is a graduate of the CIIS Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research program. She sits on the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies where she serves as co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee. She is a member of the board of Source Research Foundation, where she chairs the Community Grant program, and is a member of the Chacruna Institute Racial Equity and Access Committee. Dr. Quinn provides support to psychedelic-assisted therapy training programs at CIIS, Naropa University, and the Alma Institute. She serves on multiple advisory boards dedicated to building ethical integrity, equity, accessibility, and structural competency in the field of psychedelics.