Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future

An in-depth understanding of the history and science of psychedelics

Course Overview

Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future is a foundation course oriented towards clinicians, therapists, professionals, and the general public who are looking to develop a broad, in-depth understanding of the history and science of psychedelics. This overview of psychedelics encompasses their role in shamanic healing and world religions and significance in the Psychedelic Renaissance including clinical research and therapeutic applications. It also explores emerging psychedelic career opportunities and professional specializations in multiple disciplines including business, education, psychology, and public policy.

This course includes six recorded sessions that you can study at your own pace. There is no specific start and stop date/time.

Your Instructors

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, ethnomycologist, and award-winning educator. He is Founding Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, where he teaches a course on “Psychedelics and Culture.”

Julie M. Brown, M.A., LMHC, is a psychonaut and retired integrative psychotherapist who utilized guided imagery and psychosynthesis in her private practice. For three decades, she worked mainly with women’s issues and cancer patients.

Jerry and Julie Brown are coauthors of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, 2016; “Entheogens in Christian Art: Wasson, Allegro and the Psychedelic Gospels,” Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 2019; “Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Insights from Guided Imagery Therapy with Cancer Patients," Psychedelics Today, 2020; and “Mystical Experience with Cancer Patients,” Global Journal of Medical Research, 21(3):1-7, 2021.

Watch our Promo Video

Introduction to Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future

Course Outline

This course includes six (6) recorded sessions. The topics covered in the six recorded sessions are:


  • The Hero’s Journey: 10 Landmarks in Psychedelic History - In highlighting the discovery of LSD by Albert Hofmann in 1938, the development of LSD psychotherapy by Stanislav Grof in the 1950s, the dawn of the Psychedelic Renaissance in the 2000s, and the legalization/decriminalization movements of the 2010s, this session profiles courageous psychonauts and major events in the history and science of psychedelics.
  • Storming Heaven: Psychedelics in Shamanism and World Religions - Explores the role of psychedelics in shamanism (Huichol of Mexico, Fang of Gabon, Siberian Reindeer Herders) and world religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism), including their significance for healing and for generating the divine within. The presentation illustrated with Julie and Jerry Brown’s original photos of psychoactive mushrooms in medieval Christian art.


  • Royal Road to the Unconscious: Psychedelics for Passion and Purpose - In the context of well-documented varieties of the psychedelic experience, this session engages an intimate conversation about set, setting, and personal psychedelic journeys to find a passionate life purpose (through psilocybin mushrooms), to choose love over fear in relationship (through LSD), and to overcome deep depression (through ayahuasca).
  • The Second Coming of Psychedelics: Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy - Summarizes seminal studies on psychedelics and spiritual experience; explores the influential role of mystical experience generated in psychedelic clinical studies as the key to healing anxiety, depression, PTSD, and overcoming fear of death. Discusses the dynamics of the Psychedelic Renaissance including the “Psychedelic Underground,” a Code of Ethics for therapists and guides, and the new Neuroscience of Brain Imaging.


  • Will Psychedelics Survive Success? Business, Law and Public Policy – Discusses the medical model vs. the decriminalization/legalization approach to mainstreaming psychedelics, proprietary commercialization of psychedelic therapy modalities, argument for “cognitive liberty," 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 2020 Oregon Psilocybin Services Initiative, and microdosing as a potential game-changer.
  • Follow the Path with Heart: Emerging Career Opportunities - Explores expanding career opportunities and professional specializations including: clinical research, neuroscience, and pharmacology; therapy guides and integration coaches; microdosing consultants; non-profit education and political activism; news media and communications. It also discusses entrepreneurial innovations by psychedelic medicine companies and the future establishment of psychedelic mental health clinics and sacred centers.

This course is appropriate for healthcare practitioners, professionals, and the general public. Each session will include resources (articles, podcasts, videos) for further study supplemented by an extensive course bibliography; a list of the 100 most influential people in psychedelics; and a directory of key organizations, research centers, and therapy training programs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain key landmarks and seminal discoveries in the history and science of psychedelics.
  • Discuss clinical applications of psychedelics in the context of past and contemporary scientific research and public policy.
  • Explain the role of sacred psychoactive plants in Indigenous shamanic practices and in world religions.
  • Discuss the implications of past use of sacred plants for current practices (guiding, healing, spirituality) and policies (ecological conservation, Indigenous protection, religious freedom).
  • Explain the varieties of psychedelic experience as guidelines for safe, therapeutic, and spiritual inner journeys.
  • Apply transpersonal theories to understanding the potential of psychedelics for facilitating psychological healing, generating personal growth, and revealing passionate purpose.
  • Explicate the role of controlled, clinical studies in overcoming the decades-long ban on psychedelic research with human subjects and in launching the Psychedelic Renaissance primarily in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Discuss the seminal role of mystical experiences (as documented by the Johns Hopkins MEQ30) in psychological healing (addiction, depression, PTSD) and possibly in physiological healing as well (cancer, pain management).
  • Compare the pros and cons of diverse approaches to mainstreaming psychedelics, including the business, medical, decriminalization/legalization, and religious freedom models.
  • Discuss the implications of the proprietary IP commercialization of synthetic psychedelics and therapeutic modalities for open scientific research and praxis, and for developing affordable, standardized treatment protocols available to large numbers of clients.
  • Explore emerging psychedelic career opportunities in academia, business, coaching, creativity, education, law, media, public policy, religion, research, and therapy.
  • Apply an understanding of these career opportunities to designing a personal career track, professional specialization and/or lifelong learning agenda in the field of psychedelics

CE Information

Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future is approved for 6 CE credits for Homestudy, which means that you can take this course on your own time/at your own pace.

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals

  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Academy (SCA) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Academy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Academy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • SCA is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. RNs must retain their certificate of attendance for 4 years after the course concludes.

For questions about enrolling in CE or receiving your Certificate of Attendance, visit Psychedelics Today or email Johanna Hilla: [email protected]

For questions about CE, contact Spiritual Competency Academy at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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