Psychedelic-assisted therapy training for prescribers, assistants

Tuesday, 21 February, 2023

Psychedelic-assisted therapy training for prescribers, assistants

In response to Australia’s approval of MDMA and psilocybin use in therapy, Canadian psychedelic-assisted therapy training provider ATMA will offer training programs to Australia’s psychiatrists and healthcare professionals.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently approved psilocybin and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) therapy for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses. While details of how the treatment process will work have not yet been provided, prescribing psychedelics will be limited to psychiatrists and will begin 1 July 2023.

Psychiatrists will need to be approved by the TGA’s Authorised Prescriber Scheme and must demonstrate their training, robust patient selection, evidence-based treatment protocols and patient monitoring. They must also satisfy governance and reporting criteria.

MDMA wil be permitted for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and psilocybin will be allowed for treatment-resistant depression. According to the TGA, these are the only conditions where there is currently sufficient evidence for potential benefits in certain patients.

The TGA stated, “For these specific uses, psilocybin and MDMA will be listed as Schedule 8 (Controlled Drugs) medicines in the Poisons Standard. For all other uses, they will remain in Schedule 9 (Prohibited Substances) which largely restricts their supply to clinical trials.”

ATMA offers two core training programs: one for prescribers (CPD eligible) and one for therapy assistants. Both focus on competencies for MDMA-assisted therapy and psilocybin-assisted therapy. 

The ‘Physicians and Prescribers’ course program includes: 

  • Nine modules of online coursework with lectures from experts in the psychedelic realm covering psychedelic-assisted therapy, pharmacology and neurology;
  • The opportunity to work online, at an individual pace;
  • Access to regular live sessions, including live Q&A sessions, with leading experts;
  • Regular assignments and assessments throughout the course;
  • Connections with other like-minded professionals for peer support and common purpose in shaping the future of legal access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.

ATMA has been working to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy to many palliative care patients and running clinical trials for healthcare professionals over the last two years.

Image credit: Kelem

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