The Synthesis Institute | Presents

Stewards of a New Paradigm

The Role and Core Competencies of Contemporary Psychedelic Practitioners


Dr. Rosalind Watts

Dr. Rosalind Watts

Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder

Dr. Loizaga-Velder

Claude Guislain

Claude Guislain

Camille Barton

Camille Barton

Sign up to receive access to the recording of this expert-led panel discussion on the role, competencies, challenges, and common pitfalls of contemporary Psychedelic Practitioners as access expands.

As access expands, the call for proficient psychedelic practitioners is gaining considerable momentum, presenting a blend of potential and complexity.

We find ourselves at a crucial juncture that demands thoughtful dialogue. In the aftermath of a global pandemic, as society grapples with an unparalleled mental health crisis, the psychedelic renaissance stands stronger than ever as a beacon of hope and potential for relief.

Yet, as these powerful substances gain mainstream acceptance, we bear a collective responsibility: to honor the lineage of psychedelic wisdom keepers whose shoulders we stand on and benefit from, acknowledging that their centuries-old wisdom practices inspire an emerging and increasingly in-demand role: that of the contemporary Psychedelic Practitioner.

The rapid growth in interest around psychedelics amplifies the need to clearly outline this role, especially when one considers the diversity of available approaches, the need to honor wisdom traditions, an eagerness to learn and practice, the pressures of increased demand, and the potentially conflicting incentives of profit. 

To honor the possibilities of this unprecedented moment—and to mitigate the risks of tarnishing a field on the brink of mainstream acceptance—we must ask ourselves collectively:


What is the role of a psychedelic practitioner in this evolving ecosystem, and what competencies are required for skilful and ethical psychedelic facilitation?


Specifically, how do these competencies relate to integrating wisdom traditions, applying evidence-based best practices, and achieving personal, psychedelic, and spiritual maturity, all while upholding ethical standards and rigorous training?


Moderated by Daan Keiman, psychedelic and Buddhist chaplain, educator, and Synthesis Content Advisor, this 90-minute panel discussion, complemented by a 30-minute interactive Q&A, promises a thought-provoking conversation and and a variety of perspectives on this topic through the lens and experience of leading experts. 


If you're an aspiring or current practitioner aiming to deepen your understanding of becoming an ethical and competent psychedelic facilitator in today's landscape, this event is designed for you.


During this panel discussion, we explore:

  • The core competencies, skills, and attributes of the proficient contemporary psychedelic practitioner
  • Strategies for assessing personal readiness and one's scope of work
  • Insights into the unique challenges and common pitfalls practitioners face as access expands


Featured Panelists

Dr. Rosalidn Watts

Dr. Rosalind Watts is a clinical psychologist, a mother, and a nature lover. She has become a leading voice in psychedelic research through her roles as Clinical Lead for Imperial College London's psilocybin trial and Clinical Director at Synthesis Institute. Noted among the “50 Most Influential People in Psychedelics” as well as one of the top “Top 16 Women Shaping the Future of Psychedelics”, her focus is on integration, harm reduction, and inclusion. She leads ACER Integration, an integration community that aims to provide experiential education around integrating singular experiences into the wider collective and connecting more deeply to the self, others, and nature.

Claude Guislain

Claude Guislain is Peruvian and primarily lives in the Peruvian Amazon and Brazil. He advises IMCFund and other organizations like ICEERS and ASOMASHK on indigenous relations. Trained as an anthropologist, he has walked with masters from the Shipibo, Arhuaco, Tubu, Yawanawa, and others. Since 2008, he's facilitated Ayahuasca retreats and advocated for indigenous rights. He partners with healing centers like the Temple of the Way of Light, Niwe Rao Xobo, and Shipibo Rao, supporting the healing processes of more than 2,000 people. After many years of quest, his role revealed itself as a bridge between worlds. Witnessing his teachers' mastery—the teachings, the stories, the medicines, the technologies—gave him the firm conviction that a true alliance between Indigenous Wisdom and Modern Science is key to addressing today's challenges.

Dr. Anja Loizaga Velder

Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist with a deep connection to indigenous psychedelic healing practices spanning over three decades. She co-founded the Nierika Institute in Mexico, dedicated to preserving indigenous traditions with sacred plant medicines and research around their therapeutic applications for mental health and personal growth. She has published several research articles and book chapters exploring the therapeutic potential of entheogens for treating mental health challenges and has presented her work as a speaker at many conferences. Anja collaborates as a learning facilitator and guest faculty in the Synthesis Psychedelic Practitioner Training program.

Camille Barton

Camille Separa Barton (they/them) is an artist, consultant and educator who explores creative interventions that sustain life. Embodiment, healing justice, and drug policy are key threads within their work. Camille is certified in the Resilience Toolkit and previously led the Collective Liberation Project, providing workshops and training on embodied approaches to anti-racism. In recent years, Camille has taught within various programmes for psychedelic therapists in training. Since 2017, they have worked to ensure that MDMA Psychotherapy will be accessible to BIPOC and other communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.