ATMA Launches Canada’s First Psychedelic Training Program For Mental Health Professionals

Responding to the explosion of interest from the mental health community, the new training program will equip participants to help clients using legal psychedelic-assisted therapy

CALGARY, Feb. 12, 2021 – ATMA Journey Centers Inc. (“ATMA”), an Alberta-based company focused on delivering innovative psychedelic-assisted therapies internationally, announced today the launch of an innovative professional training program in conjunction with Wayfound Mental Health Group Inc. (“Wayfound”) that will equip mental health professionals with the knowledge and insight to work with psychedelic medicines as they become accessible and legalized in Canada. 

Starting in March 2021, ATMA and Wayfound will present the Psychedelic Therapy Training Program for Mental Health Professionals, which will take place through remote training as well as on-site at ATMA’s Calgary Journey Center. 

The training allows participants to apply for an exemption from Health Canada to experience legal psychedelic-assisted therapy using psilocybin, one of the active compounds found in ‘magic mushrooms’. Incorporating hands-on experience with psychedelics for therapists in a legal setting is a first for the mental health community in Canada. 

David Harder, Co-CEO of ATMA, said: “While Health Canada continues to increase access to legal psychedelic-assisted therapy for patients through their recent Section 56 Exemptions, there is a growing need in the mental health industry for therapists to have the appropriate training and knowledge to facilitate this important work.” 

Each participant of the professional training program will also be assisted in obtaining their own exemption from Health Canada so that they may personally undergo psychedelic-assisted therapy. This unique element of the training will provide each professional the personal perspective to truly understand and experience how psychedelics can benefit their patients. 

Health Canada has recently been taking steps to increase access to psychedelic medicine through its ongoing approvals of exemptions under Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), the legislation that governs controlled substances in Canada such as psychedelics. ATMA was the first private company in Canada to conduct legal psychedelic-assisted therapy using psilocybin on behalf of a palliative client who had been granted a Section 56 exemption. 

Health Canada also recently completed a public consultation period regarding the Special Access Program (SAP), with a view to reversing certain regulatory changes made in 2013 that prohibited access to restricted drugs (such as psychedelics) through the SAP. 

Added Harder: “We believe that Health Canada has recognized the need to consider increased access to psychedelic medicine for Canadians, and that a key element of this will be ensuring that there are professionals prepared and trained to support patients who undergo this innovative treatment.” 

The Psychedelic Therapy Training Program will commence in March and will feature a world-class faculty of instructors and practitioners that represent many of the leaders in the global psychedelic medicine community. Confirmed instructors include Dr. Rick Doblin, Founder and Executive Director of MAPS, a U.S. based organization widely considered to be the most influential player in the growing psychedelics renaissance. 

Harder noted: “We’ve seen extraordinary interest and response in this initial program, and we anticipate that this will be the first of many trainings we offer in the coming months. Our first group is almost at capacity already, so we’re working hard to expand our programming calendar to respond to the need.”

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