There is some amazing news for mental health professionals in Canada who are interested in learning more about psychedelic-assisted therapy and receiving dedicated instruction on and insight into how psychedelic medicines can be leveraged as they become legally accessible across Canada.
Back in February, the ATMA Journeys Centers in Calgary, AB announced their Psychedelic Therapy Training Program for Mental Health Professionals program – providing Canadian mental health professionals for the first time with access to top-tier training in magic mushroom therapy. The initiative was launched with the full blessing of the Federal and Provincial governments, in conjunction with the Wayfound Mental Health Group, Inc. and the Psychologists Association of Alberta.
The course was massively popular, selling out in a matter of days, and now boasts a substantial waiting list as rave reviews have come pouring in after the first 3-month cohort concluded.
About ATMA Journeys Centers
ATMA Journey Centers is a clinic founded by Dr. David Harder and Dr. Vu Tran in Calgary, AB. ATMA is dedicated to advancing accessibility to psychedelic therapy in Canada. On their website, they claim that they “believe that psychedelics hold the key to actually resolving the root causes of mental health issues that affect so many.” Their self-stated mission is “to deliver effective and innovative healing and transformative experiences that awaken the inner healer and allow a deeper connection with self and with the world.”
About The Wayfound Mental Health Group
The Wayfound Mental Health Group was founded in Calgary, AB over 21 years ago by Dr. William McElheran. McElheran has been widely regarded as a pioneer at the cutting edge of the most effective emerging techniques in trauma treatment, and this reputation has attracted some of the best counseling talent in the world to his clinic. The partnership with ATMA represents their first official foray into the world of psychiatric therapy.
About The Program
It is unsurprising that the demand for mental health therapists has shot up dramatically over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising unemployment, concerns about health, and increasingly isolated lifestyles are suspected to contribute to this unprecedented level of demand.
David Harder, Co-CEO of ATMA says, “we’re seeing substantial interest from therapists who are looking for more effective tools to help their clients. Significant evidence-based research around psychedelic medicine continues to emerge which is highlighting how promising psychedelic medicine is. There appears to be a shift in the industry where therapists have heard about the potential of psychedelic medicine and are now stepping forward to learn about it.”
ATMA and Wayfound saw a gap in the increasing demand from Canadian patients and the availability of training for mental health professionals in this same area. Harder commented,
“One of the major obstacles in increasing access to psychedelic therapy is an acute shortage of therapists who have the education, knowledge, and resources both from a psychological and psychedelic perspective to provide the necessary support and guidance to patients. This training program provides an accredited base of understanding for therapists who are seeking information and therapy involving psychedelics.”
Consulting with leading authorities on psychedelic therapy from all over the world, this course consolidates their teachings to help address that problem, and provide Canada’s most forward-thinking therapists with access to top-of-the-line training in therapy with magic mushrooms in Canada.
On the importance of training mental health professionals on how to properly apply psychedelic therapy in their own practices, Megan McElheran, CEO of Wayfound said:
“Research has shown that psychologists are uniquely skilled to support the psychedelic process, and the psychotherapeutic process is proven to be an essential component to the success of psychedelic treatment. For this reason, I support psychologists and other health care providers to build their capacity and skills through training that prioritizes professional, clinically-sound, ethical practice and due diligence in the delivery of care.”
With psychedelics increasingly entering into the mainstream of the media, more and more people looking for access to magic mushrooms in Calgary, and all signs pointing to rapidly impending legalization in Canada, Vu Tran emphasizes the importance of trained therapists in helping guide psychedelic therapy. He commented,
“The training program is just the first step of our plan to create solutions for the industry to scale and support therapists who wish to participate in psychedelic-assisted therapy…. We want to see more therapists educated on the benefits of psychedelic therapy in hopes that more awareness will help the legislative and policy frameworks move forward in a timely manner. Mental health professionals will face great challenges with capacity in the coming years, so we’re working towards a support structure for therapists to progressively look at psychedelic therapy as a growing part of their business without a steep learning curve. Psychedelics have the proven ability to reduce lifelong ongoing patient therapy, and this can assist in reducing the burden on the health care system.”
The first cohort of the month-long program concluded in May, and the 2nd sold-out cohort began in June of this year. One of the therapists who graduated from the first training, Dr. Angela Grace, had this to say:
“The training program provides an excellent overview of psychedelic therapy with experienced practitioners and researchers in the field. The learning, discussions, experiences, and connections made are invaluable as an introduction to the field.”
Information on Upcoming Programs
According to ATMA and Wayfound, the feedback has been immensely positive across the board. So much so that they immediately launched a second training, and have three more planned for later this year, on September 7, October 5, and November 2.
David Harder comments: “We encourage any mental health professional to contact us to discuss the training programs. This emerging field is a significant opportunity for licensed therapists who want to add another effective tool to their practice and learn how psychedelics can integrate into an existing practice.”