Training of the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy (SÄPT)

The SÄPT was founded in 1985 at the suggestion of Peter Baumann. The purpose of the company is ‘to make psychoactive substances suitable for psycholytic and psychedelic procedures available for practical psychotherapeutic use, to control their handling, ... and to offer the theoretical and practical training necessary for their handling’. The association today has around 60 members, primarily from Switzerland and Germany.

From 1988 to 1993, five SÄPT therapists had a special permit from the Swiss Federal Office of Health to carry out psycholytic therapies with MDMA and LSD in their practices. Approximately 170 patients undertook a total of 1,000 day-long sessions that involved no danger and had mostly positive results (Gasser 1996). Since 2010, three members of SÄPT have been carrying out scientific studies on the psychotherapeutic treatment of PTSD with MDMA and the treatment of the terminally ill with LSD (Oehen et al. 2013, Gasser et al. 2014, 2016). In the meantime, Swiss authorities have given permits to around 10 psychiatrists for the therapeutic use of MDMA and LSD in individual patients.

The SÄPT has very extensive experience in the therapeutic use of MDMA and LSD. It builds on this experience and the large skill base of its members to discover, develop and teach aspects of therapeutic work with these substances.

Training is designed for psychiatrists, physicians with psychotherapeutic experience, assistants in the field of psychedelic research and non-medical psychotherapists. The training program lasts two years.

Continuing education is intended to enable people to be accompanied safely and competently in states of consciousness that have been changed by psychedelics. For this purpose, the training curricula focuses on the scientific evidence, concepts and theories, methods and practical experience. These are deepened in lectures, seminars, practical experience, supervision, exchanges of experiences, self-study, and a thesis. Course content:

  • History

  • Environment and legal issues

  • Pharmacological and neurobiological aspects

  • Psychotherapeutic aspects

  • Competencies of the therapists

  • View of the therapeutic role

  • Presence, confidence building and emotion regulation

  • Delimitation and self-care of the therapist

  • Screening of patients

  • The framework of the meetings

  • The content of the meetings

  • Crisis situations and how to deal with them

  • Dealing with psychodynamic dangers (sexualization, narcissism, etc.)

  • Quality assurance

The training runs over two years. Since the current training group is fully occupied, it is currently not possible to enroll in the training. The next training group is expected to start in 2023.