The inaugural Harvard Interdisciplinary Program in Psychedelics (HIPP), a joint effort led by faculty from the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will be held October 1st – 6th at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

This five-day educational event on MDMA-assisted therapy is offered in collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies-Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS-PBC).

Expanding Knowledge

The past several years have ushered in a precipitous increase in academic and clinical interest in psychedelics as medicines to treat a wide array of conditions, including PTSD, depression, and addictions. An ever-growing number of medical institutions are opening research centers and inaugurating clinical studies, including Mass General’s Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics opening in 2021. 

Psychedelic-assisted therapies, including investigational treatments utilizing MDMA and psilocybin, have been designated as “breakthrough therapies” by the FDA, and are currently completing Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials in preparation for FDA New Drug Applications. Yet, despite the intensifying interest in psychedelics, most clinicians’ knowledge about psychedelics and the therapeutic approach utilized in clinical trials is limited. There is therefore a need to educate clinicians on the psychedelic-assisted therapy landscape and the therapeutic approach utilized in clinical trials.


The purpose of HIPP is to provide an elective educational program targeting a diverse array of topics related to psychedelics, with a specific orientation toward those most clinically relevant. This program is unique in that it seeks to be explicitly trans-institutional, with a secondary aim of establishing and growing a community of clinicians knowledgeable in psychedelic-assisted therapies within the Harvard and Boston ecosystems. 

Target Audience

The target audience will be trainees and junior clinicians working within the Harvard community. While this program will be geared toward psychiatrists and psychologists, we also welcome selected clinicians working in other allied fields (e.g., palliative care, internal medicine, social work). 

Program Description

This elective will consist of asynchronous, online coursework and a week-long education event where attendees will be educated in investigational MDMA-assisted therapy as one model for psychedelic-assisted therapy more generally. After the retreat, attendees will have additional opportunities for interactive and didactic-based educational modules on a broad range of topics in psychedelic medicine not covered during the retreat.

Program Outline

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Education (5-Day Live Event + Asynchronous, Self-Paced Coursework)

Working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), this program offers education intended to raise awareness about the inner-directed therapeutic approach and treatment modality delivered in MAPS-sponsored clinical trials researching investigational protocols for MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD. The investigational MDMA-assisted therapy curriculum includes online asynchronous coursework and a week-long live education event delivered by MDMA-assisted therapy teachers, Michael Mithoefer MD, Annie Mithoefer BSN, Michael Alpert MD, and Elizabeth Call PsyD.  The in-person, live education event will take place at the Omega Institute in New York’s Hudson Valley from October 1st – October 6th.

This education program includes live presentations, live small group meetings, and asynchronous curriculum that will include a variety of activities to support learning. The curriculum may also include video case presentations from investigational MAPS PBC MDMA-assisted therapy sessions, group conversations, and other coursework.

The investigational MDMA-assisted therapy education delivered through HIPP is intended to provide foundational information on the inner-directed therapeutic approach practiced in MAPS PBC clinical trials. While MAPS PBC is working on the New Drug Application to the FDA, there are no guarantees about the approval of investigational MDMA-assisted therapy or what specific requirements will be for therapists wishing to deliver the treatment.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe elements of Preparatory Sessions
  • Describe elements of investigational MDMA sessions
  • Describe elements of Integration Sessions
  • Demonstrate practical and ethical considerations for working therapeutically with non-ordinary states of consciousness.
  • Describe ways to support team dynamics in investigational MDMA-assisted therapy
  • Describe the results of published scientific studies related to psychedelic assisted therapies
  • Describe the ways in which non-ordinary states can impact transference and countertransference
  • Explain the role of inner-directed process and the concept of inner healing intelligence
  • Describe MAPS Psychedelic Therapy Code of Ethics
  • Describe investigational MDMA's potential risks and benefits and possible mechanism of action
  • Explain the therapeutic process of investigational MDMA-assisted therapy
  • Describe a possible set and setting for investigational MDMA-assisted therapy
  • Identify therapeutic use of music for investigational MDMA-assisted therapy
  • Discuss culture and identity openly using inclusive language
  • Describe the history of investigational MDMA development, use, and regulation

Lecture Series (mixed interactive and didactic; lectures delivered virtually)

  • Pharmacology and Mechanisms of Psychedelics
  • Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies for Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Psychodynamics and Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies
  • Psychedelics in Palliative Care
  • Safety and Harm Reduction
  • Psychedelics and Addictions
  • Ethical and Philosophical Issues in Psychedelic Research


We are exceptionally grateful to be able to offer this program (including online learning, teaching by Harvard Medical School faculty, and a 5-day in-person retreat), for a tuition of $310. Attendees will be responsible for this rate, as well as room and board for the retreat at Omega Institute (see here; cost for various room options is under the “5-day” headings).


Applications are now closed. Please check back again in the Spring for information about next year's program.