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Psilocybin therapists tell the stories of their interest

Synaptic Institute students Dr. Jarrod Franklin and Steve Elfrink are featured in this Jefferson Public Radio broadcast (15 min, 39 sec). 

There is the term "magic mushrooms," and a wealth of jokes about people taking psychedelic drugs, but Oregon's psilocybin-assisted therapy law has a serious goal behind it: to help people who have not been helped much by other kinds of mental therapies.

Voters passed the measure into law and the state spent two years preparing for its use. Now the first certified therapists are ready to work, providing psilocybin and monitoring through guided sessions with clients.

JPR's Juliet Grable talked to four people who signed up for the training about their goals for the therapies to come.

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Centerpiece altar with yellow and red roses and candles

For Immediate Release


Oregon Nonprofit Launches Inaugural
Training for Psilocybin Facilitators

Nonprofit model increases accessibility

January 10 2022


Alton Collins Retreat Center,
Eagle Creek, OR


On a cold early winter weekend, 20 students learned basic counseling skills, discussed ethics case studies, and supported each other through low dose ketamine journeys. The students’ goal is to become psilocybin facilitators under Oregon’s Measure 109. The Synaptic Training Institute, an Oregon nonprofit, launched their unique training model to increase accessibility into this new field.


Measure 109, approved by Oregon voters in 2020, allows individuals to receive psilocybin in a safe, supervised environment at approved service centers. The service centers will be staffed by licensed facilitators, all of whom go through 140 hours of training. Psilocybin has been given breakthrough treatment status for depression by the FDA*, and there is strong evidence it reduces the impact of anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse.


Though no psilocybin service centers have opened, costs could be a barrier to entry. Facilitator licenses costs $2000 per year, and the average tuition for facilitator training is $8000. Synaptic’s nonprofit status enables the organization to offset tuition costs with scholarships. This unique model lowers the barrier of entry to become a professional facilitator, making it accessible to a more diverse population of Oregonians, including but not limited to veterans and BIPOC community members. A third of this inaugural cohort has received scholarships to attend.


Dr. Matthew Hicks, ND, founder of Synaptic, had this to say:


“I was really pleased with how well our inaugural retreat went. I was also deeply touched to see the personal growth that students reported as a result of their practicum experiences as well as our coursework in trauma informed care and consent.”


He continued: “I am really excited about the possibilities we have brewing for future cohorts. While working with ketamine for our practicum experiences has been successful, we are excited to start working with psilocybin. I am not prepared to make any announcements yet, but we have collaborations with several other organizations both regionally and globally to provide some stellar practicum opportunities.”


The Synaptic Training Institute will begin its next cohort in June of 2023 and is actively fundraising to offer additional scholarships, and to hire paid staff.

Students and student facilitators prepare for the evening journey.
Photo credit: Synaptic Institute

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