Ahead of anticipated FDA approval of psychedelic therapies, two organizations joined together to publish guidelines for practitioners.
Earlier this month, the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA) and BrainFutures co-published guidelines on best practices in the still-evolving field of psychedelic-assisted therapy (1). APPA is an accreditation body in the psychedelic field and the national association for practitioners in psychedelic therapy, and BrainFutures is a national nonprofit promoting and improving brain research (2). The publication was created over the course of a year, with the collaboration of multidisciplinary experts–including clinicians, researchers, and advisors–and covered a wide range of topics including safety, ethics, and more (1).
“They are the first comprehensive guidelines for mental health providers practicing psychedelic-assisted therapy,” stated the BrainFutures press release (3). “The process of drafting these guidelines generated debate and consensus around professional standards for this treatment modality. They describe a benchmark of high-quality care as informed by existing clinical research and expert consensus in this area.”
“These are the most important first steps because they now set up the context for clinicians to use these particular compounds and medicines in a therapeutic way,” said APPA Executive Director, Stephen Xenakis (1).
The publication lists twelve guidelines with separate rationales for each one (4). The first three listed are as follows (4):
The guidelines are set to expire in two years of publication (4).
“Moving forward, the field is strongly encouraged to generate research on psychedelic-assisted therapy with a keen focus on the inclusion of diverse trial volunteers subject to expanded screening parameters to provide data that accurately identifies the patients who are likely to benefit,” stated the Conclusion and Recommendations for Future Work section of the guidelines (4). APPA also explained that further work within the next year includes developing guidelines for clinical practice and ethical practices plus accreditation standards (1).
Read the full 42-page guidelines from APPA and BrainFutures here.