What Do Licensing Boards Think of Psychedelic Integration Therapy?

Psychedelics are growing more popular for treating mental health problems and public demand for integration services is growing in sync with this demand. Many therapists have begun offering psychedelic integration therapy for clients who are already using or experimenting with psychedelics, but also have questions about legal and ethical risks involved in doing this kind of work. Psychedelic integration work is a relatively new practice and guidelines are still developing. Practicing in any new areas entail risk, so it’s important to think about how to manage it. A common question is, “What will my licensing board think?”

These two activities are particularly risky when it comes to licensing boards: 

  1. Helping clients access psychedelics, for example by referring them to an underground guide 
  2. Doing therapy with clients while they are under the influence of psychedelic substances that they obtained themselves.  

Both of these are likely to lead to licensing board sanctions if your licensing board finds out. They could even put you at criminal risk as an accessory to a crime or due to drug house laws that forbid hosting a place for people to use illicit drugs. 

It would be ideal if we could just ask our licensing boards what they thought, but licensing boards typically do not make generalized statements about ambiguous situations, especially in cases where there may be a legal or ethical gray zone.  

So, we are left thinking this through on our own. First off, we might consider What is the role of a licensing board? Licensing boards have a primary duty to protect the public and take disciplinary action against providers in situations such as: 

Becoming familiar with common types of licensing board violations can provide a better sense of how to practice within ethical boundaries. In evaluating your own practice, take some time to imagine how a licensing board might perceive what you are doing. To help mitigate risk around psychedelic integration therapy, here are some things to think through. Taking each of these steps is likely to reduce your risk of licensing board sanctions should a complaint be filed against you. 

  • Ethical violations 
  • Sexual misconduct 
  • Illegal activities 
  • Provider impairment 
  • Billing or insurance fraud 
  • Practicing outside areas of expertise 
  • Malpractice 

Stay within the law: With some exception, most psychedelics remain illegal. Therefore, do not help clients obtain access to drugs, or even access to other people who can supply drugs such as underground guides. Do not allow clients to attend therapy sessions while under the influence of drugs. 

Obtain education and trainingThe more training and education in the area of psychedelics that you have, the more you can argue that you are practicing within an area of competency. Be able to demonstrate that this is an area of expertise. 

Consult with others: If you choose to incorporate client usage of psychedelics into your therapy practice, consult with other therapists who are doing the same thing. This is especially important when you are confronted with situations or dilemmas that you aren’t sure how to respond to. 

Be clear with clients: Aiming for clarity in communicating with clients is key in reducing the risk that a client may misunderstand what you are offering. Make sure that clients understand what it is you can offer, and what it is you can’t offer.  

In the end, there is no guarantee of protection against disciplinary action by a licensing board. However, taking steps to lessen risk can allow you to provide psychedelic integration therapy to clients who have an increasing need for this service.  

Written by Brian Pilecki Ph.D. & Jason Luoma, Ph.D. 

Do you ever find yourself getting stuck as a therapist?

Do you ever get stuck as a therapist?

Our next workshop is about this topic. We are bringing in one of the most popular ACT trainers in Europe, Rikke Kjelgaard, to deliver this unique workshop about getting unstuck as a therapist, while treating yourself with kindness and compassion. Rikke Kjelgaard is an extremely dynamic and engaging presenter who will help you explore your stuck places and help you get free to be the therapist you most want to be (and also a good friend to yourself).

She wrote this inspiring blog post so that potential attendees have a sense for what it will be like to be in a workshop with her:

https://www.rikkekjelgaard.com/blog/thestucktherapist/

Here are a few excerpts from the post:

“I wanted to walk the talk. I wanted to show her ACT. I wanted to sit with her inside of the darkness with kindness and compassion. She was not alone. Nor was I.”
“My invitation is that you ask yourself what lessons you could take away from whatever experiences you have had of being stuck? And might you offer yourself some kindness and compassion for being human? ”

The Compassionate and Flexible Therapist-Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Bring out the Best in you as a Therapist
Presenter: Rikke Kjelgaard, ACT Denmark
Date and Location: April 17-18, 2020, Portland
To sign up or get more info: https://portlandpsychotherapytraining.com/workshops-and-classes-for-therapists/

We’re thrilled to be able to bring Rikke out from Denmark and hope you will join us for this unique opportunity to see such a powerful and inspiring trainer present.

Author: Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

Jason is a psychologist who researches ways to help people with chronic shame and stigma and also works clinically with people struggling with those same problems.

New books on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 2017


We do our best to update our Learning ACT Resource Guide with the newest resources on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that come out each year.

You can download the newest version of the guide here.

As part of the guide, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of all the ACT that have ever been published.  Below are the 11 new books we discovered when wee revised the guide at the end of 2017:

Books for therapists:

ACT Books for the public:

We hope you find this new version of the Learning ACT Resource Guide useful in your practice. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it!

Disclosure: These links are affiliate links, meaning Portland Psychotherapy will be receive a small commission if you decide to buy something through Amazon after clicking on them. If you appreciate our work in putting this guide together (which we’ve done for free), then maybe you’ll be happy to have that happen, but if not, just buy the book without clicking on the link. It doesn’t cost you anything either way.

CEO of Portland Psychotherapy publishes second edition of “Learning ACT”

Our CEO, Jason Luoma, Ph.D., has just published the second edition of the book Learning ACT!

Learning ACT, Second Edition has been thoroughly rewritten with new exercises, references, and totally new chapters. It also pulls together resources on ACT from across the literature to guide therapists who are new to ACT.

In this fully revised and updated edition you’ll find exercises to help you practice, in the therapist role, ACT’s unique six process model. Numerous therapy vignettes illustrate how ACT actually looks in clinical practice and give you a chance to step into the role of therapist, to practice your skills before stepping into the room with an actual client. There are also downloadable extras that include role-played examples of the core ACT processes in action.

The two most novel parts of the book (outlined here in more detail) and based on recent changes in contextual behavioral science are:

  • A thoroughly rewritten chapter on flexible perspective taking/self-as-context that makes this often confusing process much more accessible and useful
  • A new chapter on how to tailor ACT to take into account different cultural contexts and identities

Read more on the New Harbinger website

Learning ACT second edition

Praise for Learning ACT:

“In this authoritative text, Luoma, Hayes, and Walser present a clearly written and practical step-by-step guide for therapists who are using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Firmly rooted in contextual behavioral science and derived from a well-articulated theory, this text clearly describes and illustrates the concrete strategies to target a set of key processes that are critical to improve the lives of people. Every clinician should be familiar with it. It is a masterful book. I highly recommend it.”
—Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD, professor of psychology at Boston University, past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and author of Emotion in Therapy

“This second edition is an exceptional guide for the skillful and flexible implementation of ACT principles. The chapters outline the six core flexible ACT processes and their methods, with case examples and dialogues that bring the information to life. The book includes a unique and invaluable set of training tools and tests of core competencies. This is a masterful ‘how to’ for ACT suitable for clinicians at any level of training and experience.”
—Michelle G. Craske, PhD, distinguished professor, and director of the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles

“Firmly grounded in contextual behavioral science (CBS), superbly organized with lucid and comprehensive explanation of all ACT concepts and competencies, and loaded with clinical pearls and pitfalls to avoid, this book lives up to the title and then some, as one of the best books for learning ACT. Further, the clinical vignettes and self-reflective exercises will deepen and advance the practice of more seasoned practitioners of ACT. The updated text and the new inclusion of an excellent chapter on culture and diversity make this edition more relevant and invaluable than ever in this diverse, globalizing world. This book is simply a ‘must-have’ for any serious ACT practitioner!”
—Kenneth P. Fung, MD, FRCPC, MSc, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto; clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health at the University Health Network; and president-elect of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture

“ACT has been at the forefront of the pioneering third-wave cognitive behavioral therapies for many years. Not only has it uniquely linked the human evolution of language and symbol formation to mental processes that can cause suffering (relational frame theory [RFT]), but it has articulated six clear processes for therapeutic intervention centered around developing psychological flexibility. For both novice and expert therapists of any orientation, you could not want for a more clearly articulated, easily accessible, and therapeutically wise approach than this by these leaders and pioneers in the field. Full of therapeutic transcripts with clear, insightful descriptions of the therapeutic process, this beautifully written book is an outstanding contribution to therapeutic literature that is bound to become a classic and an essential text.”
—Paul Gilbert, professor at the University of Derby, creator of compassion-focused therapy (CFT), founder of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, and author of The Compassionate Mind

“The tremendous dedication of thought and care Luoma, Hayes, and Walser infused into this second edition of Learning ACT is evident in the breadth and depth of every chapter. Their labor of love resulted in a preeminent and indispensable guide for novice and advanced ACT practitioners alike. Especially valuable are the fifty core competency exercises that stimulate experiential engagement. The chapter on adapting ACT to cultural contexts makes this a cutting-edge treatment for individuals from every walk of life who want to move in valued directions while welcoming all their thoughts and feelings.”
—Mavis Tsai, PhD, coauthor of A Guide to Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, and research scientist and clinical faculty at the University of Washington

 

A look at the future of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

After many hours of work, the second edition of Learning ACT is out! I’m so thankful to all those who helped in its revision, putting in many hours of work and making fantastic suggestions for how to improve it. Thanks so much to those who resulted in this much improved book.

Here’s a list of the key changes in the second edition:

  • Most of the core competency exercises were updated based on reader feedback
  • Experiential exercises added or updated
  • The case conceptualization process and form was updated
  • The flexible perspective taking/self-as-context chapter was completely rewritten
  • A new chapter on considering culture in using ACT
  • A new appendix on using ACT in different settings
  • New audio recordings of exercises
  • New videos
  • Updated recommendations on resources for further learning based on all the new resources in the ACT universe
  • Inclusion of new theory based on evolution science and social extensions of the model
  • Updates to the core competencies of ACT

In addition to the book, I wrote a blog post about what I believe are some of the key changes happening in the world of ACT and how these are reflected in the book. The ACBS world is constantly learning more about the therapy based on practice and research, and we tried our best to incorporate the most important changes. If you buy the book, I hope you find it useful.

Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

Author: Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

Jason is a psychologist who researches ways to help people with chronic shame and stigma and also works clinically with people struggling with those same problems.

 

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENTS


Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Guide Exposure Therapy: The Basics

Brian Thompson, PhD, Brian Pilecki, PhD, and Joanne Chan, PsyD
September 17th, 2021 from 12-3pm

This is a beginner workshop intended to provide the foundations of exposure therapy including types of exposure interventions and design effective exposure exercises for various anxiety disorders and OCRDs. Participants will learn how to use ACT processes to guide the implementation of exposure techniques and how ACT processes may be enhanced by traditional exposure methods. This workshop will provide some background in theory and will emphasize applying exposure to clinical contexts using case studies, exposure demonstrations, and the practice of new skills by participants. Read More.


Overcoming Barriers to Effective ACT-Informed Exposure Therapy

Brian Thompson, PhD and Brian Pilecki, PhD
October 15th, 2021 from 12-3pm

This workshop will offer a brief introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-informed exposure and focus on practical ways to address common problems in implementation. Case examples will be provided to illustrate common client barriers such as lack of buy-in and difficulty grasping core ACT concepts. Strategies for overcoming these barriers will be offered and participants will have the opportunity to practice newly acquired skills through role-plays and break-out rooms.Read More.


Therapy and Research in Psychedelic Science (TRIPS) Seminar Series

Second Friday of each month from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (PT)

TRIPS is an online seminar series that hosts speakers discussing science-informed presentations and discussions about psychedelics to educate healthcare professionals. This series was created to guide healthcare providers and students preparing to be professionals towards the most relevant, pragmatic, and essential information about psychedelic-assisted therapy, changing legal statuses, and harm reduction approaches in order to better serve clients and communities. This seminar series is a fundraiser for our clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder that Portland Psychotherapy investigators are preparing for and starting in the Fall of 2021. All proceeds after presenter remuneration will go to fund this clinical trial. Read more.

September 10th, 2021 – Cultural Considerations in Outreach to and Assessment of Minoritized/Marginalized Individuals in Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy with Terence Ching, Ph.D.

October 8th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Dr. Elizabeth Nielson

November 12th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Anthony Bossis, Ph.D.

December 10th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Jamilah R. George

January 14th, 2022Presentation Title TBA – Jordan Sloshower, MD, MSc