This group of thirteen individuals became the first to be licensed to facilitate psilocybin experiences in the United States (outside of clinical trials) in over 50 years.
On the 9th of January 2023, the Changa Institute opened its doors to its accelerated training program, one of the courses that Changa offers on Psilocybin Facilitation which has been approved and licensed by the board of higher education. This is the most intensive psilocybin facilitator training course available right now. The course takes about 10 weeks to complete. This program is designed to cater to individuals with varying backgrounds and lifestyles, including full-time working professionals, freelancers, and retirees.
On March 12th 2023, the first accelerated cohort graduated from the Changa Institute. This group of thirteen individuals became the first to be licensed to facilitated psilocybin experiences in the United States (outside of clinical trials) in over 50 years. After months of rigorous training, practice, research and examination, the cohort has demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes and has shown a high level of skill in guiding individuals through their psychedelic journeys.
The Changa Institute's Psilocybin Facilitator Training Program is a comprehensive program designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills required to facilitate psilocybin- assisted experience. The program covers a wide range of topics, including the history and science of psilocybin, harm reduction, ethics and legal considerations, and the practical aspects of guiding individuals through their psychedelic experiences.
The successful completion of the first cohort is a significant milestone for the Changa Institute and the field of psychedelic facilitation. The institute is dedicated to advancing the responsible and safe use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes and training qualified professionals to guide individuals through their healing journeys.
“The successful completion of our first cohort of psilocybin facilitators is a significant accomplishment for the Changa Institute,” said Lisa Ginzburg Founder and Director of the institute.
“We are excited to see these highly skilled and trained facilitators bring their expertise to the field of
psychedelic therapy and contribute to the growing body of research on the use of psilocybin for
Two of the first people to qualify as ‘psychedelic facilitators’ in Oregon were Jeanette Small and David Naftalin. Jeanette and Dave are a part of a very small group of people who can officially say that they have been trained and licensed by the US government to facilitate psilocybin experiences. Before graduating from the Changa Institute, Jeanette Small worked for years as a clinical psychologist with violent offenders and gangs in California. In her previous role, Jeanette had seen many different patients on many different medications, however, she tells us that:
“Psilocybin is a medication that makes a difference unlike other medications. People need personal engagement with other humans to heal, taking a pill every morning does very little to heal the soul. Patients engaging in talk therapy very occasionally go through very transformative healing, but these ‘ah ha’ moments come through VERY rarely. People used to get this transcendental experience engaging with religion but even this is deteriorating in modern society for various reasons. Building a relationship is difficult, especially with what is essentially a stranger. Psilocybin itself does very little to ‘physically heal’ the patient but does wonders to allow the participant to let down their emotional guards and address deep rooted trauma that would otherwise be inaccessible for many people.”
When Jeanette was going through the application process and weighing up the various centers, there was a sense of nervousness about how ‘proper’ the whole process might be as this was a cutting-edge intervention and she was about to be part of the first cohort of students to go through that training.
Similarly, when Dave attended his first training session, he was surprised that “the other students couldn’t be a more diverse group, but everyone’s intentions couldn’t be more aligned.” Despite the different backgrounds of all of the other students and the relatively short amount of time they spent together on the accelerated course, by the end of the training Dave tells me that “we felt like family after the course was complete.”
Despite the initial fears that both Dave and Jeanette experiences, they were both positively surprised and impressed with the level of professionalism shown by the staff at the Changa Institute. The Changa Institute is proud to have trained and certified individuals from different countries and cultural backgrounds, reflecting the institute's commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Being one of the earliest pioneers, Dave was also somewhat wary about the level of professionalism at the facilitator training programs, so he ensured to research all of the various facilitator training centers to find the right one for him. He chose the Changa Institute for three
1. World class educators with distinct expertise about psychedelics.
2. Ethically led teaching, with specific training related to social equity.
3. A practically minded curriculum, that prepares students with a holistic understanding of the
Now that Dave, Jeanette the other ten students have graduated, they are taking the next step and moving towards opening a service centre in Oregon. Service centres are the facilities in which psilocybin will be administered to clients by the facilitators. Dave’s service centre Drop Thesis has been approved and will be open to the general public by Summer 2023. Jeanette intends on opening this service centre to help her old clientele, violent offenders, a group that is often excluded from clinical trials and shunned by the psychedelic community.
The Changa Institute looks forward to continuing to train and certify qualified professionals in the use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes and to promote the responsible and safe use of psychedelic substances. To further its mission, the Changa Institute is looking for collaborators who share its vision and values. The Institute is interested in working with researchers, healthcare providers, therapists, and other organizations who are committed to advancing the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Collaboration opportunities include joint research projects, training programs, and advocacy efforts.
We welcome organizations in the United States and around the world. Interested parties can learn more about collaboration opportunities and submit proposals on the Changa Institute's website visit www.changainstitute.com.
Name: James Bunn