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The Promise of Psychedelics: A Critical Look at the Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic-Assisted Treatments

Franklin King, MD

July 29-August 2, 2024

Monday - Friday: 9:00a.m. - 12:30p.m. EDT | 30-Minute Break Daily

15-Hour Course |  Delivery Format: In-Person or Live-Online

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Course Description

The meteoric rise in interest in psychedelics over the last several years has led to an avalanche of media attention, academic publications, and capital investment. Within this current era of psychedelic research, there are numerous distortions related to both positive and negative biases for and against psychedelics by various groups.


Used by Indigenous cultures for thousands of years for diverse medicinal and ritual purposes, psychedelics were also briefly an area of intense research interest in midcentury western medicine before falling victim to a moral panic and the political machinations of America’s so-called War on Drugs. Over the last twenty years, renewed research has shown potential for psychedelics to treat symptoms of numerous psychiatric disorders, as well as to shed new light on consciousness, philosophy of mind, and spirituality. Challenges to realizing these potentials are myriad and include issues of cost, justice, a limited understanding of potential harms, questions on role and form of therapy, and a dominant paradigm in medical culture of biomedical reductionism.


The purpose of this course is to review the history, pharmacology, clinical studies, and potential future applications of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, with an orientation toward critical thinking in understanding why some of the current biases and issues within psychedelic research and the public narrative exist, and the challenges that psychedelics will likely face as they become “mainstreamed”. The format will consist of didactic sessions and small group discussions. Specific readings will be assigned and participants will be asked to share and reflect. Following this course, participants should have a comprehensive understanding of psychedelics and psychedelic medicine.

Course Agenda (click to expand)

Course Objectives (click to expand)

About the Instructor

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Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Franklin King owns stock in Compass and Cybin. He has received consulting fees from Cybin and receives stock equity as a scientific advisory board member for Apex Pharmaceuticals. He receives a speaking honorarium from MAK Continuing Education, LLC, Cape Cod Institute.

Non-financial: Franklin King has no relevant non-financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Franklin King, MD, is a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, after which he completed residency in adult psychiatry at the MGH/McLean program. He has completed post-residency fellowships, both at MGH, in Consult Liaison Psychiatry and a research fellowship at the Cardiac Psychiatry Research Center. Dr. King has practiced in a variety of clinical roles at MGH including the Neuropsychiatry Clinic, the Adult Outpatient Clinic, the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Clinical and Research Program, the Avery Weissman Psychiatric Consult Service, and the Acute Psychiatry Service. He has long held an interest in bringing the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapies to the vast array of patients who are currently left inadequately treated by existing and available psychiatric interventions, and is currently the Director of Training and Education at the Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics, in which role he is actively involved in educational projects to clinician groups and residents on psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapies. Dr. King is also a Principle Investigator and Co-Investigator on studies involving psilocybin-assisted therapy and MDMA-assisted therapy, respectively, at MGH.

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Franklin King, MD

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What Alumni are Saying...

"Great presentation. Dr. King is one of the smartest people I have ever met. Few people in the world are as informed on this topic as he is." - 2023 Participant

"I found the course to be informative, comprehensive and very current. Franklin's presentations were masterful. The course exceeded my expectations." - 2023 Participant

"Dr. King did a great job of explaining complex scientific findings in a very understandable way." - 2023 Participant

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