Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Certification Board and a Professional Association?
Both entities are important aspects to the legitimacy and regulation of psychedelic-assisted therapies. A Certification Board is a consumer protection agency whose mission is to assure consumers that certified providers have met the training requirements and practice within the established standards of care. A professional association is a community of providers whose mission is to examine the evidence and build consensus around standards of care, continue to foster community amongst current and future providers, engage with the larger healthcare ecosystem, and advocate for social and legal policy positions.
Is this the same as decriminalization?
No. There are three primary categories of efforts in regards to psychedelic use: Decriminalization-Legalization, Religious Exemption, and Clinical Use-Medicalization. There are overlapping interests and values amongst these efforts, each with important contributions to the psychedelic policy ecosystem. Decriminalization/legalization seeks to remove or lessen the legal consequence of psychedelic use and in doing so, allow for easier pathways for ongoing research and responsible personal use. Religious exemption acknowledges the spiritual aspect of psychedelic use and seeks pathways towards sanctioned psychedelic use via our first amendment right to freedom of religion. Clinical Use-Medicalization seeks to build scientific evidence to establish the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapies to treat or relieve symptoms of recognized illnesses to be incorporated into the broader healthcare system. Our effort falls under the Clinical Use-Medicalization category.
Why should there be national standards of care?
National standards of care are the baseline minimum guidelines that the field has deemed as necessary to provide effective treatment to clients. This lends to client safety and baseline consistency for provider training, while not precluding going above and beyond those standards in the course of clinical practice. As with any other medical or psychological illness, scientists and providers convene to examine the evidence and make professional and unbiased recommendations for treatment guidelines and standards of care. These standards serve as the basis for consumers to know they are getting established and effective care and serve as the basis for training programs to teach the next generation of providers. In practical terms, while some consumers may want to conduct their own analysis, it should not be required of the consumer seeking care to evaluate the scientific integrity of evidence or the qualifications of providers. This is certainly not to say there will be a single way psychedelic-assisted therapy is practiced, but rather that each way that is established as a standard of care is based on the consensus of an experienced community of experts.
Who would make up the members of this professional association?
Membership structure of the professional association will ultimately be determined by the founding board, pending clarity around the specifics of FDA approval as well as practitioner certification criteria. As with other associations, membership would likely consist of certified psychedelic practitioners, those eligible for certification, and those whose wisdom traditions may serve to inform the clinical practice. Our group’s effort is focused on creating a representative process by which a founding board will be formed. As such we are seeking participants with a variety of clinical approaches and perspectives, with clinical and/or systems background, to focus on the foundational processes.
What do you mean by “foundational processes” of forming a board?
The legitimacy of an organization that will represent a professional field begins with the buy-in of the professionals it represents. Engaging stakeholders in creating a transparent process by which founding board members are nominated and elected is a crucial part of building an organization with legitimacy and integrity. Forming the foundational process for a professional association prior to clinical practices being legally sanctioned and prior to a certification process for practitioners is perhaps most akin to the Continental Congress, a self-limited effort that consisted of relevant stakeholders establishing the rules by which our federal government was initially formed. In that same way, foundational processes for this professional association will include ongoing stakeholder engagement, hashing out the rules of an election (of representation, scope, term limits, etc.), and building consensus around that process so that the results of the election are viewed as legitimate and fair.
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