On Mon, December 13, 2021, the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines will be hosting an interactive workshop “Implicit Bias, Therapy, and Psychedelics: Reducing the Impact of Bias on Therapy, Education, Training, and Research.” Participants of this workshop will learn about implicit bias, what it is, why it happens, and how it impacts our interactions in personal and professional contexts.

As decriminalization, legalization, and medicalization of psychedelics advance in the U.S., there has been relatively little done to address the racism and injustice that BIPOC individuals face on any given day. ​“After the success and good reception of our first workshop on this subject, we are proud to release a second edition, which continues to reinforce the mission of our Racial Equity and Access Committee” shares Bia Labate, Ph.D., social anthropologist and the Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute. “The most difficult part of implicit bias is that we don’t know we have it and we have no idea how it is impacting our relationships with others, including our clients,” says NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author of “Psychedelic Justice: Creating a Socially Just Psychedelic Renaissance” and member of the Chacruna Institute’s Racial Equity and Access Committee. “Knowing how to deal with bias will make you a better therapist, mentor, and scholar. This interactive workshop will not only raise your awareness of biases, but give you concrete skills for reducing their impact and proactively addressing bias when it happens.”

The workshop’s main objectives are to:
1) Raise awareness of implicit bias and its development over time;
2) Understand how implicit bias can compromise client/customer/patient care, interfere with healthy workplace relationships, and place individuals and organizations at risk for litigation;
3) Outline the costs associated with implicit bias and how it impacts education, business, medical and mental health practice, client care, provider-client trust and alliance;
4) Review individual, supervisory, and organizational strategies for managing and reducing implicit bias and its impact;
5) Learn in-the-moment face-to-face strategies for addressing bias.

“It is not a question of whether implicit bias exists, but rather to what extent it impacts our personal and professional interactions,” shares Diana Quinn, ND, naturopathic doctor and member of Chacruna Institute’s Racial Access and Equity Committee. “Dr. NiCole Buchanan’s expertise in this workshop will be a guiding light for those seeking to increase their awareness of implicit bias, and to develop strategies to reduce its impact and gain greater cultural competency.” Last summer, MAPS and several other psychedelic organizations published their #BlackLivesMatter statements of solidarity on social media sites to join in on the global conversation about racism, social justice, and allyship. While the vast majority of commenters supported and applauded these anti-racist efforts, many comments were hostile and anti-BLM, which exposed that racism is prevalent within the psychedelic community. In response, members of the Chacruna Institute’s Racial Equity and Access Committee analyzed the comment sections of several of the psychedelic organizations’ statements of solidarity social media posts, and discovered several myths that are perpetuated by members of the psychedelic field. Some of these myths include:
1) That talking about race is a racist act
2) Taking psychedelics automatically cures someone of their racism
3) Psychedelics put you in unity with the cosmos and all beings

“These myths are simply not true!” exclaimed Dr. Labate. “During the workshop, we will not only discuss these myths, but practice concrete strategies to reduce bias and improve our connections across race and other differences.”
With this workshop, the Chacruna Institute and its Racial Equity and Access Committee continues to set the example for how psychedelic organizations can integrate solidarity, equity, and social justice into their professional and personal work.
Want a sneak peak? See Dr. Buchanan’s TedxMSU Talk, Excising a virus of the mind: Individual and institutional responsibility for reducing implicit bias.


NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is now a Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University and the Clinical Director and Founder of Alliance Psychological Associates, PLLC in East Lansing, MI where she sees clients, provides supervision, and mentors other mental health professionals. Dr. Buchanan is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, four separate divisions of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous national and international awards for her research, teaching, clinical work, and professional service. She is an accomplished speaker, writer, and scholar with more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, and research reports focusing on workplace behaviors and their impact on organizational climate, employee well-being, and professional development. Her work has been highlighted in hundreds of media outlets including CBS News, the Huffington Post, and Essence Magazine and she has been a featured speaker for several programs including TEDx and National Public Radio (NPR).

Dr. Buchanan consults with organizations and personnel across the country, including medical professionals, attorneys, academic and practicing psychologists, human resource managers, and campus, city, and state police departments. She offers several training programs on enhancing positive work environments, reducing harassment and bias, and promoting values driven, respectful workplaces and behaviors that strengthen workgroup cohesion, profitability, and relationships with customers/patients.

Dr. Buchanan is also a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee, which works to ensure that traditionally marginalized racial, ethnic, and indigenous communities have access to these healing medicines and are actively included in the field of psychedelic studies at all levels.

Finally, in her free time, Dr. Buchanan jumps out of airplanes, cruises the highway on her cherry red V-Star 950 motorcycle, and travels the country teaching Latin dance.

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