Level 1: General psychotherapeutic modes of action
Empirical psychotherapy research has identified several general change mechanisms which are thought to underlie the effectiveness of all psychotherapies. Hence, the distinct techniques used in different schools of psychotherapy ultimately drive the same common factors. One conceptualization of common factors in psychotherapy that is empirically well established and practically useful was proposed by Klaus Grawe, who identified five general change mechanisms:
- Resource activation
- The therapeutic relationship
- Problem activation
- Clarification of meaning
These general change mechanisms capture the essence of all effective psychotherapies, allowing for productive discussions across different psychotherapeutic schools and traditions. Furthermore, the general change mechanisms view is immensely helpful for understanding, and making use of, the therapeutic potential of altered states of consciousness. The common factors perspective is therefore strongly emphasized throughout the APT program.
Level 2: Theories & Methods of Psychedelic-Augmented Psychotherapies
- Specific verbal strategies for addressing integration issues
- Cognitive-behavioral methods
- Methods and strategies based on ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
- Creative methods: Artwork and music
- Guided imagery methods
- Basic therapeutic movement methods and bodywork
- Mindfulness techniques
Level 3: Relevant aspects of specific mental disorders for psychedelic-augmented psychotherapy
We will address disorder-specific aspects and methods based on the scientific literature and our specialized speakers’ and facilitators’ extensive experience in treating these disorders.
Level 4: Existential dimensions of psychedelic experiences (philosophy and spiritualities)
Psychedelic experiences regularly raise existential questions about birth and death, the role of pain and joy, or the relationship to self, others, and life itself. Addressing these in a psychotherapeutic context is a demanding but common challenge in psychedelic-augmented therapies. Thus, we will systematically discuss these topics, drawing upon psychotherapy research findings, philosophical theories, and a reflexive engagement in the varieties of post-modern spiritualities.
Level 5: Therapist personality, self-development, and ethics
The therapeutic relationship has been identified as a critical mode of action and factor for success in psychotherapy. Since both beneficial and problematic therapeutic interaction dynamics tend to be enhanced in psychedelic-augmented psychotherapy, analyzing and addressing these on an individual level will be a significant focus of the training program.
Level 6: Working in therapeutic teams and networks
The APT program is based on a transdisciplinary approach, incorporating aspects of different psychotherapeutic backgrounds and various scientific findings from disciplines like neuroscience, medicine, and psychology to public health, anthropology, and philosophy. Since augmented psychotherapies are ideally put into practice within therapeutic teams, we will address what is necessary to build and sustain these and efficiently work in different roles.
Another focus will be on becoming part of and advancing a therapist network for professional exchange and development as well as patient referrals.
- Lectures (during the intensive trainings)
- Interactive online colloquia (8 x 90 min per year, 24 in total)
- E-learning course on psychoactive substances, set and setting (Drug Science Program)
- Reading groups (10 x 90 min per year, 30 in total)
- E-learning course on critical thinking and transdisciplinarity
A solid theoretical understanding of psychoactive substances, contextual factors (set and setting), and general psychotherapeutic modes of action are crucial if you want to provide integration and/or Augmented Psychotherapy services professionally. APT is based on scientifically evaluated theories and relevant research findings in psychotherapy and psychedelic science. Together with top clinicians and researchers, these theoretical frameworks will be reflected upon with a strong focus on their clinical application.
Experiencing and integrating altered states of consciousness as a professional is an essential part of the Augmented Psychotherapy Training. Through various non-pharmacological methods, such as breathwork or stroboscopic light, and pharmacological methods, such as Ketamine (in a clinical setting) and Psilocybin sessions (in a study setting for healthy subjects; given study approval), you will be encouraged to explore potentials and limitations of augmenting psychotherapeutic processes first hand.
- Working with a psychedelic case book
- Case assessment and treatment planning
- Contributing cases to case book
Working with clinical cases is a core aspect of the training program. By addressing (1) actual cases from participants, (2) utilizing a psychedelic integration case book for case assessment, and (3) hands-on training practice, you will be able to gain differentiated practical knowledge for working with patients.
Patient Actors & Roleplay
- Practicing treatment strategies with patient actors
Patient actors provide the opportunity for hands-on practice of the therapeutic methods conveyed during the training. This will be complemented by using case vignettes and role-playing methods to gain familiarity with typical dynamics in psychotherapy in the context of psychedelic experiences.
- In-person mentoring sessions (during intensive trainings)
- Monthly mentoring sessions in small groups (online)
- Individual consultation with mentors (optional)
Mentors with extensive psychotherapeutic experience will accompany you throughout the three years. Clinical discussion of Integration and Augmented Psychotherapy-related cases will be part of the mentoring, as well as guidance concerning your process of personal development as a clinician.
Mindfulness & Neuromeditation Training
- Neuromeditation training
- Meditation self-practice
Mindfulness is a constructive attitude and valuable skill when working with altered states of consciousness in therapeutic settings. In our thorough Neuromeditation training, you will be able to utilize Neurofeedback sessions (EEG) to develop or deepen your meditation practice. This personal training will support you in skillfully including mindfulness and other meditation techniques when working with patients.
Working in Dyads
- Therapist-patient dyads during self-experiential and role-playing parts (alternating roles)
A diverse self-experience process will be an essential part of the intensive training weeks. To practice all phases of facilitating integration or a psychedelic experience, you will work in dyads. For example, one person will have a Ketamine-assisted session and be supported in this process continuously by the other (under the supervision of a medical doctor). They will switch roles in return the next day.
- Simple forms of bodywork
- Guided imagery
When working with altered states of consciousness, non-verbal therapeutic interventions are essential for completing the therapeutic toolbox. We will teach you how to utilize these methods appropriately and according to the ethical and situational needs.