Week 6: Whose Medicine Is It? Decriminalization, Medicalization and Infringement on Indigenous Communities

With Guest Speaker Cristie Strongman, Ed.M.

  • Broadening awareness of the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics has buttressed decriminalization and legalization efforts. As these efforts gain traction, indigenous communities have called attention to their lack of inclusion, and how these efforts potentially threaten the dwindling populations of plants they hold sacred and cultural practices that have been oppressed for centuries.

  • This webinar will highlight some of the challenges and infringements of decriminalization, medicalization, and the phenomenon of “neo-shamanism” on indigenous communities. We will explore complexities of cultural syncretism vs. appropriation with a particular focus on how Western providers can practice in psychedelic therapy.

Pricing options

Webinar Series Description

Live-Online Webinar Series Starting September 23rd.

  • Psychedelic-assisted therapy is making its way through the established medical system’s approval process and moving towards becoming an available treatment for conditions such as PTSD and Depression. This comes after years of prohibition of psychedelics through international drug conventions and local laws often disproportionately enforced in marginalized communities.

  • As states and regulatory bodies consider making psychedelic-assisted therapy available, key social justice considerations come into focus, particularly around healthcare disparities and access to treatment, the medicalization of plants that certain communities consider sacred, oppressive psychiatric treatments, and stigma experienced by people who use drugs.

  • The webinar series will cover a range of topics about both the present challenges and future opportunities for addressing social injustice in the field of psychedelic medicine, focusing on the role of the clinician’s voice in context of the larger healthcare system. The instructors and panelists will contribute their own unique perspectives and insights into the social justice implications of psychedelic-assisted therapy, research, and treatment.

  • Throughout the series participants will be encouraged to bring curiosity and openness to their own experiences, with a focus on developing insight and understanding based therein. To encourage ongoing reflection and engagement with the material participants will be invited to complete various exercises to clarify their reaction to the material, what they have learned and how they desire to incorporate these insights into their lives going forward.

Learning Objectives for Week 6

  • Describe current psychedelic decriminalization efforts in the US and their relationship to existing drug and religious use policies as well as its impact on indigenous communities.


Assistant Trainer

Kelly Sykes, PhD

Kelly Sykes, PhD is a child forensic psychologist and maintains a private practice in Brooklyn, New York. She works primarily with court referred families as a custody evaluator, parenting or family coordinator, or therapeutic supervisor. She also provides expert consultation and testimony in matters that concern parent-child contact problems, child sexual abuse evaluations, trauma & parenting, and adoption & termination of parental rights. Her work is heavily influenced by psychoanalysis and attachment theory. Kelly’s interest in psychedelic integration therapy evolved from years of working with court-referred parents with histories of complex trauma, persistent mood disorders, and substance abuse problems. Noting that for some, talk therapies helped with insight but failed to inhibit endangering behavior or led to meaningful change such that they could parent their children. This sparked her interest in learning more about the role the brain plays in the chronicity of certain psychological conditions and the research on psychedelic treatments.

Psychedelic Integration Therapy Certificate Program Director

Alexander Camargo, Psy.D

Dr. Alex Camargo is a psychologist based in New York City and maintains a private practice in Manhattan. His work is heavily influenced by psychoanalytic and attachment theories where he works with clients to address anxiety, depression, life transitions and spiritual crises. In addition, he provides psychedelic harm reduction and integration, helping clients prepare for psychedelic experiences, incorporate insights or cope with challenges post-experience. He has also been employed to be a study therapist on a clinical trial investigating the impact of psilocybin on the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder at New York Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Camargo’s clinical training focused on providing mental health services in low-fee clinics and hospitals to traditionally underserved communities the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Nassau County.

Lead Trainer

Elizabeth Nielson, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Nielson is a co-founder of Fluence and a psychologist with a focus on developing psychedelic medicines as empirically supported treatments for PTSD, substance use problems, and mood disorders. Dr. Nielson is a therapist on FDA approved clinical trials of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorder, MDMA-assisted treatment PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted treatment of treatment resistant depression. Through Fluence, she provides continuing education and training programs for therapists who wish to engage in integration of psychedelic experiences in clinical settings. Her program of research includes qualitative and mixed-methods projects designed to further understand the phenomenology and mechanisms of change in psychedelic-assisted therapy, including the experiences of trial participants and of the therapists themselves. Having completed an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at NYU, she has published and presented on topics of psychedelic therapist training, therapists’ personal experience with psychedelics, and including psychedelic integration in group and individual psychotherapy.

Guest Speaker

Assistant Trainer

Cristie Strongman, Ed.M.

Cristie Strongman is a graduate of Columbia University’s Counseling Psychology, bilingual track. Before embarking on clinical study, she dedicated her studies at Columbia to better understand the phenomena of urban shamanism. Cristie is the former Director of Racial and Equity Access Committee for Chacruna’s Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicine, a non-profit dedicated to providing public education and cultural understanding about psychedelic plant medicines where she advocated for gender and racial diversity in the field of psychedelics. Cristie is a trainee of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with a passion for helping historically underserved communities of color. She is a classically trained opera singer who enjoys performing new music in such spaces as Carnegie Hall. Cristie is originally from Colón, Panamá, and currently resides in Brooklyn, NYC.

Continuing Education Information

This course provides 1 hour of APA CE and NYSED CE for Psychologists, Social Workers, and LMHCs.

  • Fluence International, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0674.

  • Fluence International, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0232.

  • Fluence International, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0167.

  • Fluence International, Inc. is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.

  • Fluence maintains responsibility for this program and its content. For questions about CE for this program contact Selah Drain, selah@fluencetraining.com.