Toward A Regulated Psychedelic Therapy Practice Landscape: APPA's National Accreditation Scheme

The newly-appointed executive director of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA,) Ret. Brigadier General Dr. Stephen Xenakis, recently spoke to Benzinga about the organization’s projects concerning the incoming landscape of legal psychedelic-assisted therapies (PAT) and the role of those providing the treatments. 

(See part one of the conversation on APPA’s mission and the new reimbursement code.)

The Perks Of Belonging

Program holders under the umbrella of APPA’s accreditation would belong to “a professional community,” set at once to look at continuing education and develop even more training. 

For practitioners, being part of such an association and being in an accredited training program would open the door to sit for an examination to be certified.

Notwithstanding APPA’s constitution as a national network, it will eventually come down to each state to decide who can be authorized for the treatments. But, he says, “they will most likely want to have a person certified and been through training.”

The cases of Oregon and Colorado concerning legal psychedelic-assisted therapies (PAT) are different, he says, as state legislation is not directly linked to what clinicians and practitioners do. 

“That's a whole different pathway. What we're talking about is practitioners, and so what we're working towards is being able to get a consensus and agreement on, for prospective practitioners in the field, what you need to know, how do we know that you know it, and how to train you so then you get certified,” Xenakis explained.

Further, he views an existing consensus around having one organization building a foundation that would be recognized by other national professional associations such as AMA, both APAs, CSWA and AAMFT to name a few. 

“So I think we’ve got some support building our community here. We’re another group that specifically wants to develop and train people when it comes to the use of these medicines and this treatment in therapy,” Xenakis says. “We will be working with all of them and, as a practitioner, you would belong to all of the variety of organizations.”

Steps Forward

As for expected dates for psychedelic-assisted therapies’ inclusion in the healthcare system, MDMA’s potential legalization next year will most likely bring about a high patient demand

Foreseeing restrictions and bottlenecks, APPA is set to work quickly toward the goals of both training and accrediting while also meeting a goal for access and equitable care across all sectors of U.S. society in a collaborative effort with other existing organizations with ongoing training programs.

Concerns around this new accreditation proposal leaving practitioners outside of the scheme might arise, yet he assumes that to be part of the process. 

“I think that when you've got a movement like this, such a big change, sure there's going to be people that feel like they don't have a voice. And they might lose their influence. This is a major shift and game changer in the way that mental health and maybe in some way, health care is going to work,” Xenakis said. “So this will really be very challenging in many ways. And I'm not surprised that we'll have some people say, ‘Well, wait a minute. Let's go slower. Let's be more careful. Let's be more deliberate.’ That's how change happens. Or doesn’t happen.”

Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels and Ground Picture on Shutterstock and Wikipedia.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPsychedelicsExclusivesMarketsInterviewAmerican Psychedelic Practitioners AssociationPsychedelic-Assisted TherapiesPsychedelics Reform
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