Find answers to our
most frequently asked questions
What does Gather Well Psychedelics offer?
Gather Well’s main objective is the preparation and training of psychedelic practitioners (guides). Gather Well offers these programs:
- Groundwork Program for those seeking personal development and transformation and to prepare themselves for the Apprenticeship Guide Training Program.
- An Apprenticeship-based learning program for those who want to be psychedelic guides.
What is important to know about Gather Well as a training organization?
- There is a rigorous admissions process
- Experiential, apprenticeship model of learning
- An emphasis on group work & collective well-being
- Systems awareness education: An expanded framework of “Set and Setting” to include cultural contexts and dynamics
- There are two programs at Gather Well: 1) The Groundwork Program 2) The Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program – the first is a prerequisite to the second.
- The cohorts are smaller and the learnings may take time. The focus is on quality rather than quantity of trained guides.
- A commitment to inclusivity and liberatory processes
- Gather Well is informed more by Indigenous practices and worldviews and less by the psychotherapeutic lens of pathology and diagnosis.
- Students are taught the critically important roles of preparation and integration. We require our guides to be proficiently trained in techniques that support the client, both in session and out of session in their daily lives.
- It leans on a collaborative leadership model
- Gather Well is supported by a Vision Council whose aim is to keep the org aligned with its deeper values.
- It is a Spirit led organization, ultimately, led primarily by queer and female bodied individuals.
- For a deeper dive visit “Our Vision” HERE
What is Psychedelic-assisted therapy and is that what Gather Well teaches?
“Psychedelic-assisted therapy” or PAT, is an approach to healing that combines traditional therapeutic modalities with the use of psychedelic substances. We are inclined to use the term “Psychedelic Healing Modalities” as it allows for more inclusivity for approaches engaging psychedelics that don’t follow a western psychotherapeutic framework. Further, it emphasizes the word “healing,” which is to make whole; a principle that Gather Well is deeply invested in.
Psychedelics alter our brain chemistry in such a way that they help reveal, amplify, or deconstruct unconscious perceptions, patterns, and behaviors and reveal one’s inherent goodness or essential self, ultimately providing opportunity for a sense of belonging and wholeness.
Departing from the standard definition of PAT, the Gather Well approach emphasizes somatic awareness and relational connections to self, nature, community and spirituality. Our approach weaves together indigenous practices with contemporary alternative healing modalities.
What “medicines” does Gather Well use as part of its methodology?
Psilocybin containing mushrooms, in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so. We anticipate including MDMA in time.
* Any engagement with psychedelics are conducted in a jurisdiction in which it is legal to do so (for example Oregon or Jamaica) and in compliance with regulation in that jurisdiction.
Are Gather Well programs legal?
Psychedelic-assisted therapies are currently federally legal in the United States with the use of Ketamine by prescription only. MDMA, Psilocybin, and other substances may be approved by the FDA to treat or manage various diagnoses in the coming years. Some states have passed measures to provide a regulatory framework for state regulated services with specific psychedelics. Our training programs do not engage in any illegal activity. All activities engaging in the use of psychedelic substances are done in jurisdictions where it is legal, and following those jurisdictions’ policies such as Jamaica, the Netherlands, or the state of Oregon via its regulatory framework.
What kind of training programs are available?
The Groundwork Program:
The Groundwork program has been crafted to have value on its own as well as being a prerequisite into the Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program. It is designed to offer participants an opportunity to inquire deeply into their intentions, motivations, and capacities around their desire to guide psychedelic healing spaces. During the program, students will participate in two experiential psilocybin group retreats. It serves as a preparatory and foundational program before one applies to the Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program, and/or to strengthen their education if they have trained as guides elsewhere. Groundwork is a hybrid of online and in-person training.
* Completing Groundwork does not guarantee entrance to the Apprenticeship Program.
* Retreats offered in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so.
The Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program:
An in-depth program for those seeking to become psychedelic guides. It combines theoretical knowledge and protocols for safe and ethical practice, contemporary science backed approaches, an indigenous informed framework, and highly hands-on and supervised exposure to group work with psilocybin. The Apprenticeship Program is a hybrid of on-line and in person experiential learning.
Students will have opportunities to experience psychedelic work themselves as well as to observe and apprentice in real time with multiple, skilled practitioners. Students will leave our program with an embodied confidence of knowing how to guide through substantial experience, feedback, guidance and support. Following program completion, guides are supported by mentors and peers in a dynamic community of practice, for continued development, accountability and a sense of belonging. See HERE for more info.
* Psilocybin experiential groups offered in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so.
Who is the Groundwork Program for?
Individuals who have a desire to either become psychedelic guides or who are already guiding transformational spaces of some kind (psychedelic and otherwise) and who wish to engage in a rich process of personal inquiry and transformation. Visit our program page HERE for more information of who this program may best serve.
Who is the Apprenticeship Program for?
Those who have completed the Groundwork Program and are interested in becoming psychedelic guides. We especially encourage those who are interested in the potential of psychedelics medicines to assist in addressing division and areas of discord in our current global culture to engage with our program. Our program will have a particular focus in this area, and toward increasing the capacities a guide may need to serve such work in their communities. Students will have opportunities to experience psychedelic work themselves as well as to observe and apprentice in real time with multiple, skilled practitioners. Students will leave our program with an embodied confidence of knowing how to guide through substantial experience, feedback, guidance and support. Following program completion, guides are supported by mentors and peers in a dynamic community of practice, for continued development, accountability and a sense of belonging. See HERE for more info.
* Rare exceptions may apply for direct entrance into the Apprenticeship program.
* Engagement with psychedelics are conducted in jurisdictions in which it is legal to do so (for example Oregon or Jamaica) and in compliance with regulations in that jurisdiction.
How does one become a guide through Gather Well?
Those that wish to become guides apprenticed by the organization need to:
- Complete our Groundwork program (Part A & B)
- Apply for the Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program
- Complete our Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program
- Complete and evaluative process and receive an in-house certification recognizing you as a Gather Well Guide.
Who facilitates the programs?
Program facilitators have the foundational following personal and professional qualifications.
- Capacity to skillfully move the group toward and hold difficult material and conversations.
- Has excellent embodied ethics and a stance of service in taking up the role of facilitator and in any healing, therapeutic, or community support work they may do outside the organization.
- Has ease and familiarity drawing on somatic resources or other practices that bring mindfulness and nervous system regulation.
- Well-versed in assessment, informed consent, and trauma-informed practices.
- Demonstrated capacity around direct communication. Does not avoid or shy away from giving challenging, difficult, direct feedback if there are areas participants need improvement in, but is able to give feedback in a supportive manner, providing an opportunity for learning and growth.
Guest facilitators with a special focus on areas of interest will join components of the program.
You can see more information on our staff on our team page HERE.
What kind of certification or credential will I get if I complete a program?
Our Groundwork program does not result in a certification. The Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program will have the option of in-house certification. The process will evaluate your learning progress throughout the program and indicate where you may benefit from further support of skill development. This may happen immediately after completing the program, or, if necessary, after some further practice or skill development.
Our aim is for Gather Well trained guides to meet all requirements that would enable them to integrate smoothly into the developing field. For example, our Psychedelic Guide Apprenticeship Program has been designed to satisfy the regulations laid out by the state of Oregon, and we will align our practices as closely as possible with future established certification boards or professional associations.
How much does it cost to train at Gather Well Psychedelics?
Gather Well program tuition is proportional to each student’s income and financial resources. We will provide a formula to determine your tuition in relation to your financial means.
For example: The market value* for the full 8-month Groundwork program is approximately $14,000. Based on this value the income based tuition assessment allows for a range of tuition from $5,000- $29,000 based on your means**. All participants receive the same program quality and retreat accommodations.
We will offer some work study options for the residential retreat modules.
*Tuition pricing is based on comparison to other training programs and retreat offerings in this field. The number of program hours and number of retreats were considered and calculated. Tuition includes room and board at 2 residential modules, but does not cover your travel expenses or the psilocybin mushrooms, which can be purchased directly from a 3rd party vendor for a nominal fee and in accordance with regulations of the jurisdiction in which the residential modules will be conducted.
** Slight adjustments to range may occur through July 2023. Individuals considered “high net worth” will engage a different tuition assessment in consideration of their substantial means.
What kinds of demands will training with Gather Well make in my personal life?
The programs are purposefully rigorous and are sure to stir up material that may be impactful. We hope this is a fruitful experience of growth for you, both in moments of inspiration and difficulty. How you experience the content of programs will be influenced by many factors including your own capacities and growth edges, your familiarity with navigating your own internal process and group spaces, what the conditions of your life are and have been, how supported you are, etc. It is Gather Well’s intention that you are transformed as much by moving through this system as you hope to transform the lives of those you come into contact with as a practitioner.
If you feel called to participate, please carefully read the information about the specific program you are interested in, the commitment you’ll need to make, and the eligibility requirements. Once you apply, our admissions team will help determine your readiness and placement.
Does Gather Well provide treatment with psychedelic healing modalities?
Gather Well does not provide treatment at this time. In time we will begin to provide retreats in jurisdictions that allow it, in support of our students’ skills building.
What lineage informs the practices and methodologies taught at Gather Well?
- Mindfulness-based practices
- Relational practices
- Trauma-informed practices
- Somatic counseling and bodywork practices, informed consent
- The traditional practices of the ceremonial use of psilocybin containing mushrooms by the Mazatec from Huatutla de Jimenez, Mexico. In particular, the Casimiro Estrada family.
Where do Gather Well’s psychedelic practices originate?
Gather Well is rooted in an Indigenous Framework. The practices are informed by our work with the Mazatec of Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico, their ceremonial use of sacred plant medicines and fungi, and their thriving relationship with spirit, prayer and the land they inhabit. Several key Gather Well staff have an ongoing relationship with the Casimorio Estrada family of Huautla de Jimenez and continue to learn from them.
Gather Well is an institution of the west and operates within and in close relationship with industrialized systems. That said, the guiding motivations and principles that influence our way of operating, and the heart of the actual work we do, are rooted in our learnings from the sacred ways of the indigenous frameworks we have been exposed to. We hold an ecological worldview based on the reality of interconnectedness or “interbeing.” Guides trained by us, hold this work as sacred while having the ability to apply it to a range of contexts, including practices with a more clinical lean.
With an emphasis on group work, will there still be training for individual client sessions?
Gather Well will conduct its psychedelic experimental work in a group format and will teach its apprentices how to guide group format work. The development of community and meaningful connections with peers on a similar healing trajectory is in itself part of the healing and way by which people can overcome challenges. Those that want to learn the individual work formats will be able to take additional shorter training to learn the unique aspects of that model of care.
Why is systems awareness embedded into the curriculum at Gather Well?
At Gather Well we consider “set” and “setting” to include the context of the social, collective and ecological experience. We feel becoming aware of conscious and subconscious conditioning and participation in various social and cultural dynamics is essential for true cultural change towards a more equitable and healthy global culture. Guides who are interested in being a part of a shift in collective consciousness must have capacity to engage this lens. Our programs help support and develop this capacity.
What do we mean by “collective healing?”
Collective, societal and institutional norms manifest within the experience of the individual. Under the current standards of mental health care the individual bears the burden for managing and healing within themselves, the impacts of imbalanced and unhealthy societal norms and institutions. These norms and systems are often premised and even in service to separateness and isolation. For instance, someone suffering from poverty, a systemic / collective issue, cannot thrive within the system they find themselves. When they become unwell, either physically or emotionally (often these go hand in hand) or fall prey to what we call “addiction” the culture tends to blame the individual for their condition rather than the system that is causing the dis-ease in the first place. The particular ways the individual is impacted by these bigger systems needs acknowledgement, attention and care. These larger unhealthy systems are impacting individuals, and that needs to be contextualized and normalized. We are dynamic products of our context, culture and life experience. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with an individual that fails to thrive in an oppressive system, in fact, the opposite is true.
At Gather Well, the emphasis is on increasing a sense of belonging, building community, and improving culture so that the collective conditions are more supportive to the individual. Our ethos is fundamentally one based on interbeing. Everything is connected. There can be no individual healing without addressing collective illness, systemic oppression and disconnection.
How does Gather Well intend to foster inclusivity and accessibility?
- By considering who has influence over the organization’s direction, infrastructure and decisions and valuing and employing a diversity of perspectives from varied life experiences, cultural contexts and professional backgrounds.
- By embedding anti-racist and anti-discriminatory learning at both the organizational and educational levels and celebrating diversity and liberatory practices.
- Program tuition will be based in an income responsive tuition model to allow tuition to be proportional to one’s means. This will help to address inclusivity in relation to socioeconomic position.
- Our programming includes affinity group processes for intentional support and growth work related to identity. See more on our program page HERE.
See our commitments for further nuance on our commitments to liberation, inclusivity and belonging HERE.
How did Gather Well Psychedelics come to be? What was the intent?
Gather Well Psychedelics was created through the vision of Naama Grossbard, the founder of two prior entities, The School of Consciousness Medicine(SCM) & The Center for Consciousness Medicine (CCM).
Naama has decades of experience with psychedelic healing modalities and was eager to co-create an organization using the wisdom of the lineage she was apprenticed in, including the Mazatec tradition from Huautla de Jimenez in Mexico. These were organizations created with the specific intent of creating a legal training program for psychedelic practitioners. Together with a team of dedicated, skilled practitioners and organizers, Gather Well Psychedelics was formed as a way to provide immersive, comprehensive training to those seeking to be psychedelic guides.
What is Gather Well’s leadership model?
We are most aligned with leadership styles not as commonly used by the dominant culture. We are leaning into collaborative leadership that seeks to provide each member of the team an opportunity to participate from a place of soulfulness, feeling the support of the other members, avoiding burnout and ideally being nourished by the work they do with Gather Well. Naama Grossbard, the founder, has the role of vision lead, working in tandem with an operational lead, a program delivery lead, and in partnership with advisors and the Gather Well team.
What is Gather Well ’s code of ethics?
HERE is a link to our ethical stance.
Are the practices Gather Well teaches safe?
While no one can guarantee absolute safety with any modality of healing, psychedelic modalities when used skillfully, are relatively safe. This, of course, depends on both adequate training, mentorship, and accountability of the practitioner and a thorough mental and physical health assessment of the client.
Safety in these practices is paramount to what we teach at Gather Well. We emphasize screening and informed consent practices. In the Gather Well programs, we work extensively with transference, countertransference and erotic transference. We also engage ongoing with a team of ethicists to ensure our practices and program development are looked at through an objective and expert lens.
What do I do if I have a grievance, concern or want to give feedback about someone at Gather Well ?
HERE is a link to our grievance procedure.
Is Gather Well a not-for-profit organization?
Yes. Gather Well is a registered 501c3. HERE is a link to our ownership model.
Can I donate to Gather Well Psychedelics?
Yes. Gather Well Psychedelics is recognized by the IRS as a not for profit- 501(c)3. Donations are tax deductible.
Your contributions go towards the operation and accessibility of our programs and to the proliferation of well-trained psychedelic guides, unless a differing specific donation use is indicated by a donor. They also provide a fair living wage for our program staff and operational staff. Investing in the growth of Gather Well is investing in a future of less suffering individually, socially, and environmentally.
You can offer your contribution via Paypal, or for larger donations speak directly with a team member. We also accept stock donations.
Your giving journey with Gather Well can begin by visiting the donations page HERE.