Psychedelic Medicine & Cultural Trauma Workshop in Kentucky (August 10-11, 2019)

Trauma experienced by people of color is historical, cultural, systemic, and communal, in addition to an increased likelihood of experiencing discrete interpersonal trauma. To understand individual therapy, it is imperative that therapists, as well as community leaders, understand the larger traumatic context. This day-and-a-half opening workshop focuses on the political and social factors that impact trauma and healing.

Community leaders will join trainees for this workshop to engage in dialogue about the social, political, cultural, and historical causes of trauma, as well as to discuss barriers to acceptance of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in communities of color while envisioning ways forward.

August 10-11, 2019

The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

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These dialogues will feature a range of interdisciplinary presenters, as well as draw on the personal expertise of MAPS study therapists of color and participants, to co-create a discussion-based day. The workshop will consist of short presentations, dialogues, breakout groups, and somatic body-centered practices interspersed. Saturday evening will involve storytelling, music, dancing, and opportunities for processing and decompression. This event precedes the Therapy Training Event for Communities of Color hosted by the MDMA Therapy Training Program in Louisville, Kentucky.

Featured Topics:

  • History and overview of indigenous plant medicine practices
  • Colonization, slavery, mass incarceration, and the war on drugs
  • Faith and spirituality
  • Racism, from hate crimes to microaggressions
  • Stigma around both drugs and mental health
  • Integrating psychedelic healing with current community healing practices


We recommend exploring lodging options at the Brown Hotel.


Workshop Hosts

Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., ABPP


Dr. Williams is a board-certified clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her work focuses on ethnic minority mental health and psychopathology research. She completed her undergraduate studies at MIT and UCLA and received her doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania for four years, followed by five years at the University of Louisville, where she served as Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities. Dr. Williams has published over 100 scientific articles, primarily on OCD, trauma, and cultural issues.

Sara Reed, M.S., MFT

Sara Reed, M.S.

Sara Reed is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Behavioral Wellness Clinic and study therapist for the Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for Major Depression at Yale University. She is a member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Advisory Board, advancing health equity in psychedelic medicine. Sara also served as a Sub-Investigator and Study Coordinator for MAPS’ Phase 3 MDMA Clinical Study of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the University of Connecticut, where she continues to participate in research.

Ismail Lourido Ali, J.D.

Ismail Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he supports the development and implementation of strategies to create legal access to psychedelic substances in medical, sacramental, and personal contexts. Ismail is licensed to practice law in the state of California, and presently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Ismail has previously served as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Board of Directors, and has worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, as well as for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he received his JD. Ismail believes that entheogenic consciousness is a crucial piece of collective liberation.

Camille Barton

Camille Barton

Camille Barton is a movement artist who brings her passion for social change to life through a variety of art mediums, including dance, film, and clowning. She is the Director of the Collective Liberation Project, which is dedicated to providing people with emotionally sustainable tools to understand oppression and transform it in their communities.

Featured Presenters

Joe Tafur, M.D.

Psychedelic Medicine: Illuminating the Integration of Biology, Emotion, and Spirituality

Joe Tafur, MD | PlantTeachers

Dr. Joe Tafur will present ideas described in his new book “The Fellowship of The River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.” The presentation will focus on emotional healing in psychedelic medicine, drawing upon our current scientific understanding of mental health, traditional perspectives on spiritual healing, and case stories of individuals treated with ayahuasca shamanism and traditional plant medicine.

Monnica Williams, Ph.D.

Marginalized Voices, Racial Trauma, and the Psychedelic Healing Movement


Oppression, poverty, and discrimination can all contribute to traumatic experience at both individual and collective levels. These ongoing traumatic experiences — enhanced and compounded for people who exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities — are often under-recognized and thus under-treated. There is a vast potential for psychedelics to help heal trauma and move people toward wholeness. Dr. Williams will discuss the traumatizing impact of life in America on people of color and explore how psychedelics can contribute to healing trauma that stems from racism and contribute to a more just society. Bio below.

Terence Ching, M.S.

MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Participants of Color with PTSD: Does It Work?

Terence Ching obtained his Master’s degree from the National University of Singapore, studied Clinical Psychology at the University of Louisville, is currently an advanced doctoral student at the University of Connecticut. He has received evidence-based clinical and research training across multiple sites and programs for obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, anxiety disorders, PTSD, cultural diversity, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Phase 3 trials are currently ongoing for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, as sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), to determine replicability of Phases 1 and 2 findings of high and sustained rates of recovery from treatment-resistant PTSD. However, ethnoracial minority inclusion in these trials has been low. In this presentation, he will discuss preliminary findings for participants of color in Phase 2 trials and explain current limitations in the data. He also plans to introduce preliminary outcomes of further analyses between groups in an open-label, multisite lead-in trial (e.g., MP-16/17) to Phase 3 studies.

Belinda P. Eriacho, M.P.H.

Intergenerational Trauma: Native American’s Inherited Legacy

Belinda is from the Dine’ (Navajo) and Zuni Pueblo lineages. Her maternal clan is Honágháahnii (One-Walks-Around) and she was born for the Naasht’ézhí (Zuni Pueblo) people. She is the child of the Mula:kwe (Macaw Parrot) on parental side. Belinda was born and raised on the Navajo reservation. She holds degrees in Health Sciences, Public Health, and in Technology. As an adult Belinda journeyed through her own inner and physical healing. She then recognized her gifts as a healer and her true calling. She is the owner of Kaalogii, LLC. Her personal mission focuses on cultural and traditional native education and healing experiences. In addition, she uses native herbs, essential oils and energetic healing to assist in individual transformation. Her presentation will provide an overview on Native American intergenerational trauma. She will address the following critical questions: What is Intergenerational trauma? What are its effects? What is epigenetics telling us? She will also discuss considerations for healing and for working with Native American individuals and communities for practitioners.

Jamilah R. George, M.Div.

Let Justice Roll Down: Relinquishing Psychedelic Healing for People of Color

Rev. Jamilah R. George, a native of Detroit, MI, obtained her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan, completed her Master’s training at Yale University, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, the psychological effects of discrimination and racial trauma on people of color, the neurological underpinnings of these disorders, and the potential promise of psychedelic medicine as a means to healing. Jamilah’s passion for social justice and equality issues fuels her work as she advocates for the mental and holistic wellbeing of socially disenfranchised groups, including women, people of color, impoverished domestic and international communities, and the intersections therein. She will be delivering the message for Sunday’s ecumenical service.

Carl Hart, Ph.D.

MDMA for the People: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Carl Hart is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. His research focuses on the behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs. He is particularly interested in what social and psychological factors influence drug use and their effects, and using evidence-based research to formulate more humane drug policies.

Kwasi Adusei, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Psychedelic Risk Reduction and Peer Support

Dr. Kwasi Adusei is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and the founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York, out of which he developed a local psychedelic harm reduction organization called Sanctuary that has served 9 festivals over the last three years, coordinating up to 40 volunteers to provide around the clock service modeled after the Zendo Project. He is currently developing a grassroots harm reduction resource to support groups in creating these services in their local communities. In the global space, Kwasi launched a project to create a comprehensive guide on starting psychedelic societies. Additionally, he has led events that engage psychedelic societies across continents to synchronize around service events that have included the Global Psychedelic Month of Service and the Global Psychedelic Earth Day Cleanup. He is also the creator of Psychonauts of the World, a psychedelic storytelling project modeled after Humans of New York that is intended to help people come out of the proverbial “psychedelic closet” and connect psychedelic stories to the mainstream. Kwasi intends to publish these stories in a book and sell to raise funds for psychedelic research and advocacy efforts. Kwasi worked as a registered nurse on a bone marrow transplant unit, then became a nurse educator at the University at Buffalo teaching mental status examinations, therapeutic communication, and clinical nursing skills.

Recommended Reading

Williams, M. T., & Leins, C. (2016). Race-based trauma: The challenge and promise of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Bulletin, 26(1), 32-37.

Ot’alora, M., Grigsby, J., Poulter, B., Van Derveer, J. W., Giron, S. G., Jerome, L.,Feduccia, A. A., Hamilton, S., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Emerson, A., Mithoefer, M. C., & Doblin, R. (2018). 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized phase 2 controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(12), 1295–1307.

Michaels, T. I., Purdon, J., Collins, A. & Williams, M. T. (2018). Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A review of the literature. BMC Psychiatry, 18(245), 1-9. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1824-6

Miller, A., Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Kanter, J., & Tsai, M. (2015). Using functional analytic psychotherapy to improve awareness and connection in racially diverse client-therapist dyads. The Behavior Therapist, 38(6), 150-156.

Williams, M. T., Printz, D., Ching, T. & Wetterneck, C. T. (2018). Assessing PTSD in ethnic and racial minorities: Trauma and racial trauma. Directions in Psychiatry, 38(3), 179-196.

Useful Links

Thanks to the generous support and funding from Open Society Foundation, Libra Foundation, Riverstyx Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative, and other private donors, we are excited to be able to offer partial scholarships for the MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color, taking place in August 2019. The sponsorship of our collaborators allows us to offer scholarship via tiered tuition pricing. Tuition for the MDMA Therapy Training Program is $7,500; two payments of $3,750, plus Supervision fees. Tiered options for Tuition Payments #1 and #2 are set at $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,500 and $3,750. A limited number of partial scholarships are available at each tier. Additionally, grant funding from Open Society Foundation will support full scholarship for eight clinicians to complete the MDMA Therapy Training Program, as well as four community organizers to participate in the Community Workshop. OSF Scholarship decisions will be made over the coming month.

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If you need to cancel your attendance, we will offer refunds through August 6 (3 days prior to the event). All refunds require a 3% processing fee, and please allow 5-10 business days to process your refund. Refund requests must be emailed to from the same email address used to register, and should include your name and the reason for your refund request.

For questions about this event, please contact