Written by volunteer Sean Lawlor ’19 of Naropa University and the SSDP Psychedelic Pipeline team
Over the last year, Students for Sensible Drug Policy has been developing the Psychedelic Pipeline, a network to connect SSDP members and alumni interested in working with psychedelic medicines to quality training, scholarship funds, and career development opportunities, with a deliberate focus on providing access to people of color. We have been hard at work on our new webpage and developing exciting partnerships with our friends at the Intercollegiate Psychedelics Network, Psychedelic.Support, the Zendo Project, Source Research Foundation, Psychedelic Seminars, tam integration, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, the Canvass of Academic Support for Psychedelic Research, and more! We have plans for more resources, networking, and unique educational and career development opportunities on the way. In the meantime, we are now accepting applications for the 2nd cohort of the pipeline’s career mentorship program!
The SSDP Psychedelic Pipeline is the first formal pathway for young people interested in working in the psychedelic field to become connected, filling a gap in organized career development opportunities. A generous grant from the Threshold Foundation partially funded the mentorship component of this project last year. If fully funded, the pipeline aims to continue to establish a scholarship fund, training opportunities, and a formal training consortium to provide robust academic and professional opportunities for SSDP members and alumni. We hosted a virtual information session, featuring some of our current mentors and mentees, for people interested in applying for the program on December 2nd. The recording of that session is available here.
Those interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee are asked to fill out an application form before the deadline of December 13th, 2020. SSDP team members will then review the applications and assemble a list of diverse and skilled mentors. Information collected from mentee applications will be assembled into a separate list for mentors to review, and SSDP team members will help pair them with potential mentees. Mentees will have the opportunity to rank preferences based on information assembled on the list of mentors. Those interested can find more information about the application process here.
Mentors will arrange interviews with potential mentees and ultimately choose one or more with whom to work. Mentors will be expected to communicate with mentees at least once per month, focusing discussion and guidance on career development. Communication can occur via Zoom, phone, or any other method deemed best, opening the possibility of remote connection. Each mentorship pairing will continue for ten months from the start of the program, which is anticipated to begin in February 2021. Depending on the ratio of mentors to mentees who apply, it is possible not everyone will be matched for this first round.
Who should apply?
Psychedelic-assisted therapy and psychedelic research are the two most established career paths related to psychedelic science. However, they are far from the only relevant skill sets. If MDMA and psilocybin become legal for therapeutic purposes as many are forecasting, and if interest in psychedelic-related work continues to grow, professionals from diverse disciplines will be needed to support the expanding infrastructure. Categories of mentorship outside of research and therapy include policy, communications, harm reduction, technical systems, program development, and event planning. This list is not exhaustive, and SSDP encourages anyone to apply who has a skill set—or intends to develop a skill set—they see as beneficial to furthering psychedelic medicine. Mentors and mentees from anywhere in the world are encouraged to apply, although SSDP members from some global networks may need to establish proof of membership by contacting Vilmarie Narloch ’09, SSDP’s Director of Drug Education.
Why apply to be a mentor?
Mentors will benefit from the program by getting connected to hard-working, passionate, and intelligent young people eager to learn from them. Research shows that mentoring is positively associated with job satisfaction, job performance and career success for mentors¹. Your mentee could become someone who collaborates with you on a research project, helps you with your website, or can serve as an intern, research assistant, or employee in the future. By participating in the mentorship program, you will help pave the way for the future of this growing field.
Why Apply to be a mentee?
Mentees will benefit from the program by getting connected to professionals in the field who are doing research, preparing to become psychedelic-assisted therapists, running integration groups, doing advocacy and policy work, and much more. Additionally, becoming a mentee may lead to collaboration on research projects, internships, and future employment.
Please note that mentee applications will be limited to SSDP members and alumni. If you wish to become an SSDP member, ambassador, or to start a local chapter, please visit this page for more information.
Diversity and Inclusion
One area of pressing concern in psychedelic science is that of diversity. As the field now stands, people of color are not adequately represented in training, conferences, and studies. We are concerned that there won’t be enough therapists of color who can work to heal the trauma of racism that people of color face on a daily basis, much of which is interconnected with the War on Drugs. The Pipeline provides a strong opportunity to shift this narrative, and SSDP strongly encourages people of color and all individuals of marginalized communities to apply and help build a diverse future of equal access and opportunity.
How to Apply
Those interested in becoming a mentor should fill out this form.
Those interested in becoming a mentee should fill out this form.
Thank you for your interest in the Psychedelic Pipeline. If you have any further questions please reach out to the Director of Drug Education, Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ‘09 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ghosh, R., & Reio Jr, T. G. (2013). Career benefits associated with mentoring for mentors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(1), 106-116.