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William Richards, PhD

Clinical Director/Research Affiliate

William A. Richards (Bill) is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, a consultant/trainer at sites of psychedelic research internationally, a teacher in the Program of Psychedelic Therapy and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and also a clinician in private practice in Baltimore.  His graduate degrees include M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, S.T.M. from Andover-Newton Theological School and Ph.D. from Catholic University, as well as studies with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963.   From 1967 to 1977, he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and  psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelic substances in the treatment of alcoholism, depression,  narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals.  From 1977-1981, he was a member of the psychology faculty of Antioch University in Maryland.  In 1999 at Johns Hopkins, he and Roland Griffiths launched the rebirth of psilocybin research after a 22 year period of dormancy in the United States.  His publications began in 1966 with “Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism,” coauthored with Walter Pahnke.  His book, Sacred Knowledge:  Psychedelics and Religious Experiences  was released in English by Columbia University Press in 2015 and has since been translated into four additional languages.