Psychedelic Clinical Science

Igniting an International Conversation: People of Color & Psychedelics

There is a vast potential for psychedelics to help heal intergenerational trauma and move people toward wholeness.

Recently, there has been much excitement about the potential of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to address a multitude of mental health conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, end-of-life anxiety, and other conditions. However, people of color have not been meaningfully included as research participants or researchers. With studies underway across the globe and expanding access to the benefits of these substances, space must be made for diverse voices and communities of color.

Oppression, poverty, and discrimination can all contribute to traumatic experiences 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 is working to make psychedelic medicine accessible for everyone. In addition to board certification, an inter-jurisdictional practice certificate, and licensure in two countries, Dr. Monnica Williams is a certified psychedelic therapist through the MAPS MDMA Training Program (part A-D). She also offers psychedelic-assisted therapy at her clinic in Tolland, Connecticut.

How do you talk to your kids about psychedelics?

Parents are often in the best place to teach their children about psychedelics in a safe way. Watch this special segment on families and psychedelics by Plant Parenthood, featuring Dr. Monnica Williams in Tripping Together: Boundaries and Bonds in Family Psychedelic Experiences.

Teaching psychedelic with Dr. Monnica Williams

Psychedelic Science: Psychedelics are increasingly being researched for difficult mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, trauma, and end-of-life distress. Dr. Monnica Williams at the University of Ottawa.

Upcoming Psychedelic Presentations

Online Training

  • Williams, M. T. (recorded). Culturally-Informed Outreach & Clinical Research: MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD. TZK Seminars. (3 CEs)


Monnica Williams, Bia Labate, and Clancy Cavnar in San Francisco

Monnica Williams in San Francisco with Drs. Bia Labate (director) and Clancy Cavnar of Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Dr. Williams serves on the Committee for Racial Equity & Access.

Online Articles

Psychedelic Science

Special Issue

Scholarly Articles

    Advance Online

  1. De la Salle, S., Davis, D. D., Gran-Ruaz, S., Davis, A. K., & Williams, M. T. (in press). Acute and enduring effects of psychedelic use among Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States. Canadian Psychology.

  2. Ching, T., Williams, M., Reed, S., Kisicki, M., Wang, J., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Emerson, A., & Doblin, R. (in press). MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: A mixed-methods case study of a participant of color from an open-label trial. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

  3. Ching, T., Davis, A. K., Xin, Y., & Williams, M. T. (in press). Effects of psychedelic use on racial trauma symptoms and ethnic identity among Asians in North America. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

  4. Davis, A. K., Xin, Y., Sepeda, N. D., Garcia-Romeu, A., & Williams, M. T. (in press). Increases in psychological flexibility mediate the relationship between acute psychedelic effects and decreases in racial trauma symptoms among people of color. Chronic Stress.

  5. Strauss, D., de la Salle, S., Sloshower, J., & Williams, M. T. (in press). Research abuses against people of colour and other vulnerable groups in early psychedelic research. Journal of Medical Ethics.

  6. Published

  7. Rochester, J., Vallely, A., Grof, P., Williams, M., Chang, H., & Caldwell, K. (2022). Entheogens and psychedelics in Canada: Proposal for a new paradigm. Canadian Psychology, 63(3), 413–430.

  8. Strauss, D., Williams, M. T., Osman, M., & Gallo, J. (2022). Myths about race and racism on university campuses. In J. Faintuch & S. Faintuch (Eds.), Integrity of Scientific Research: Fraud, Misconduct and Fake News in the Academic, Medical and Social Environment (pp. 151–161). Springer.

  9. Rosa, W. E., Sager, Z., Miller, M., Bernstein, I., Rinaldi, A. D., Addicott, K., Ljuslin, M., Adrian, C., Back, A. L., Beachy, J., Bossis, A. P., Breitbart, W. S., Cosimano, M. P., Fischer, S. M., Guss, J., Knighton, E., Phelps, J., Richards, B. D., Richards, W. A., Tulsky, J. A., Williams, M. T., & Beaussant, Y. (2022). Top ten tips palliative care clinicians should know about psychedelic-assisted therapy in the context of serious illness. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 25(8), 1273-1281.

  10. Michaels, T. I., Lester, L., de la Salle, S., & Williams, M. T. (2022). Ethnoracial inclusion in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of ketamine in the treatment of mood disorders. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 83(4), 596–607.

  11. Ching, T., Williams, M., Wang, J., Jerome, L., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Emerson, A., & Doblin, R. (2022). MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: A pooled analysis of ethnoracial differences in efficacy and safety from a phase 2 open-label lead-in trial and phase 3 randomized, blinded placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 36(8), 974-986.

  12. Davis, A. K., Arterberry, B. J., Xina, Y., Agin-Liebese, G., Schwarting, C., & Williams, M. T. (2022). Race, ethnic, and sex differences in prevalence of and trends in hallucinogen consumption among lifetime users in the United States between 2015-2019. Frontiers in Epidemiology, 2, 876706.

  13. Beaussant, Y., Tulsky, J., Guérin, B., Schwarz-Plaschg, C., Sanders, J., & the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Working Group on Psychedelic Research in Serious Illness. (2021). Mapping an agenda for psychedelic-assisted therapy research in patients with serious illness. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 24 (11), 1657-1666.

  14. Fogg, C., Michaels, T. I., de la Salle, S., Jahn, Z. W., & Williams, M. T. (2021). Ethnoracial health disparities and the ethnopsychopharmacology of psychedelic medicine. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 29(5), 539–554.

  15. Jahn, Z. W., Lopez, J., de la Salle, S., Faber, S., & Williams, M. T. (2021). Racial/Ethnic differences in prevalence for hallucinogen use by age cohort: Findings from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 5(2), 69-82.

  16. Williams, M. T. (2021). Why Black people should embrace psychedelic healing. In B. Labate & C. Cavnar (Eds.), Psychedelic Justice: Toward a Diverse and Equitable Psychedelic Culture (pp. 3-7). Synergetic Press. ISBN: 978-0907791-85-0.

  17. Williams, M. T. (2021). When feminism functions as White supremacy: How White feminists oppress Black women. In B. Labate & C. Cavnar (Eds.), Psychedelic Justice: Toward a Diverse and Equitable Psychedelic Culture (pp. 21-27). Synergetic Press. ISBN: 978-0907791-85-0.

  18. Campbell, M. & Williams, M. T. (2021). The ethic of access: An AIDS activist won public access to experimental therapies, and this must now extend to psychedelics for mental illness. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12(680626), 1-5.

  19. Williams, M., Davis, A., Xin, Y., Sepeda, N., Colon-Grigas, P., Sinnott, S., & Haeny, A. (2021). People of color in North America report improvements in racial trauma and mental health symptoms following psychedelic experiences. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 28(3), 215-226.

  20. Halstead, M., Reed, S., Krause, R., & Williams, M. T. (2021). Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD related to experiences of racial discrimination. Clinical Case Studies, 20(4), 310-330.

  21. Williams, M. T., Bartlett, A., Michaels, T. I., Sevelius, J., & George, J. R. (2020). Dr. Valentina Wasson: Questioning what we think we know about the foundations of psychedelic science. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 4(3), 146-148.

  22. Williams, M. T., Reed, S., & George, J. (2020). Culture and psychedelic psychotherapy: Ethnic and racial themes from three Black women therapists. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 4(3), 125-138.

  23. Williams, M. T., Reed, S., & Aggarwal, R. (2020). Culturally-informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 4(1), 40–50. doi: 10.1556/2054.2019.016

  24. George, J. R., Michaels, T. I., Sevelius, J., & Williams, M. T. (2020). The psychedelic renaissance and the limitations of a White-dominant medical framework: A call for indigenous and ethnic minority inclusion. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 4(1), 4-15. doi: 10.1556/2054.2019.015

  25. Sloshower, J., Guss, J., Krause, R., Wallace, R., Williams, M., Reed, S., & Skinta, M. (2020). Psilocybin-assisted therapy of major depressive disorder using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a therapeutic frame. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 15, 12-19.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

Prior Lectures & Presentations

MDMA Therapy Training Event for Communities of Color

Dr. Monnica Williams co-organized a workshop and training for therapists of color in August 2019 for MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, sponsored by MAPS and grant funded by the Open Society Foundations.

Selected Student Poster Presentations

  • Michaels, T. I., Lester, L. F., Purdon, J., & Williams, M. (2018, November). Inclusion of People of Color in Ketamine Randomized Clinical Trials for the Treatment of Depression. Poster session at the 52nd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Washington, DC.

  • Ching, T. H. W., Williams, M. T., Kisicki, M., Reed, S. J., & George, J. (2017, November). MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Treatment-Resistant PTSD: MAPS-Sponsored Phase 2 Findings & Cultural Considerations for Phase 3 Trials. Poster session at the 51st Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Diego, CA.

Selected Media Appearances

Life, death and psychedelic drugs on CNN with Dr. Monnica Williams

Life, Death, and Psychedelic Drugs: Psychedelics are increasingly being used to treat difficult mental health issues like PTSD and for end-of-life care. Here's what the potential of these drugs in controlled treatment settings looks like, featuring Dr. Monnica Williams. Source: BEME/CNN

Monnica Williams and Jade in Connecticut

Monnica Williams and Jade Ullmann in the MAPS Study Treatment room research space at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Grants & Awards

  • 2020 - MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Expanded Access Pilot Project for Racial Trauma in People of Color, Psychedelic Research Funders Collective

  • 2019 - MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color, Open Society Foundations for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

  • 2018 - Cosmic Sisters Women of The Psychedelic Renaissance Grant

  • 2018 - Ullmann Family Foundation

  • 2017 - An Open-Label, Multi-Site Phase 2 Study of the Safety and Effect of Manualized MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (MP-16), MAPS

Conference Planning

  • Conference Planning Team, Global Summit on Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Medicines: From Research to Reality, Scheduled for 2021, Toronto, ON

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