Board-licensed mental health professionals are therapy experts who help people with personal change and healing, to understand and process trauma, to identify and manage symptoms, cope with emotions, gain insight, and integrate new insights into their lives. Other ways that licensed therapists are suited to provide therapy is that they are:
If you work with a therapist you can, if desired, also work with a guide or facilitator, during psilocybin-assisted therapy. Visit our PAT Model page for more information on the most evidence-based method of using psilocybin for improved mental health outcomes. This should include preparatory sessions prior to psilocybin dosing/administration and follow up or integration sessions. Prep sessions are an important part of preparing and educating yourself and can be done individually, with a facilitator, guide, or sitter, or possibly with your therapist.
Because psilocybin is thought to open up a window of increased ability to integrate new information (enhanced "neuroplasticity"), integration sessions are an excellent way to track and make the best use of this window of time after a psilocybin experience for your ongoing benefit. Research suggests this enhanced neuroplasticity may last for weeks or months after one administration session of psilocybin.
Please refer to the chart above for an easy reference on general differences between incorporating a licensed-mental health therapist and other individuals who may be involved in your PAT treatment.
Have questions about who should be a part of your experience?
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If you have received a medical diagnosis you want to address with psilocybin, we recommend a licensed, psychedelic-friendly therapist be involved in your process if possible, in order for you to have the best chance at improving your mental health. Research has been ongoing since the 1950's and more is needed, but there are numerous studies showing symptom improvement in diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, and addiction.
While a licensed therapist will likely not be able to participate in the dosing session and be with you during your entire 6-8 hours experience, other individuals can be present. In Oregon, someone trained as a facilitator through Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) alone does not have the training or credentials to provide therapy or mental health treatment. For the best results, we encourage you to follow-up your psilocybin experience with integration sessions with a licensed therapist or professional.
For more information on the most evidence-backed method of using psilocybin for improved mental health outcomes, see our PATA Model page and download our free guide.
Outlined below are the major categories of practitioners that you may want involved and their pros and cons.
Facilitators must be individuals over the age of 21 who have attained a license from the State of Oregon in psilocybin facilitation. Minimum requirements are for adults to have a GED education and have passed a required 120-160 hours from a licensed training program. Services in Oregon were allowed to begin as of January 3, 2023.
Licensed facilitators are not required to have a mental health therapy degree or licensure. Licensed therapists may become facilitators if they complete facilitator training, but they are not allowed to provide therapy during a psilocybin session.
Be advised: the originator of Measure 109 that resulted in legalizing OPS has stated publicly that OPS is "primarily an informed-consent model." That means that, similar to skydiving or horseback riding, it only requires a brief risk assessment and for you to sign a waiver (a.k.a. "informed consent"). While an OPS facility will inform you of their process, it is not their job to provide a mental or physical health assessment, give medical advice, or provide therapy.
While OPS will require a preparation session by a facilitator and recommend at least one follow-up integration session, this will be insufficient for some people. Using psychedelics can lead to challenging and difficult experiences. Unless you're familiar with psilocybin and/or psychedelics, we recommend you don't do it alone and that you make use of the ongoing effects of psilocybin through integration therapy, support/sharing groups, talking with trusted friends or family, or other ways to process.
Entheogenic practitioners is a vague term that encompasses different guides and sitters that will accompany you during your psilocybin session. While another person being with you during your experience is not illegal, the sale of psilocybin is still a criminal offense and psilocybin is federally illegal. Thus, finding a sitter could be easier than acquiring psilocybin.
Some cities have decriminalized the possession of psilocybin, meaning it is not a law enforcement priority. However, purchasing psilocybin is still illegal except when using an Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) facilitator at a licensed facility.
Therefore, if you need to find a sitter and acquire psilocybin without using OPS, you may have to look for an “underground” sitter and be creative in the search for psilocybin. In Oregon, possessing small amounts of psilocybin is technically illegal, but is decriminalized. The sale of psilocybin is still illegal, even in Oregon.
There is no official licensure, certification process, or educational knowledge required to be a practitioner outside of OPS in Oregon. Some people may have training in certain types of alternative therapy approaches or knowledge of indigenous cultural ceremonies.
Disclaimer: The Psilocybin Assisted Therapy Association aligns with the harm-reduction model, which means we do not focus on ensuring people abstain from substances like psilocybin. PATA does NOT recommend or encourage the purchase or possession of illegal substances. Please research what is legal in your area and abide by local, state, and federal laws.
Types of practitioners and their scope: