Sonya Faber

ICPR 2024, 6-8 June > Speakers > Sonya Faber
Sonya Faber

Sonya Faber

Pharmaceutical professional at Bioville Gmbh and Medical Science Liaison in Epilepsy Research at Angelini Pharma. Member of the board of directors of Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines

The Importance of Cultural Competency and Anti-Racist Education for Psychedelic Assisted Therapy

Participants utilizing psychedelic assisted therapy are in a position of increased vulnerability because it strips people of their normal psychological protections while they also endure immobilization until effects of the psychedelic substances abate. For BIPOC, psychological protections used to navigate interracial interactions are compromised and therefore, therapy paradigms not centered in understanding the experience and needs of BIPOC people puts them at additional risk of harm. 

Facilitators must unpack their own implicit biases before they can administer these therapies to BIPOC. Multiple studies have shown that people exhibit greater empathy to individuals with a similar skin color and the current situation is that in the USA, Canada, and Europe, most psychedelic therapists are White, and as such most clients of color will be seeing a White therapist.

Therefore, it is important to shine a light on cultural competency and implicit bias.  There are ways to improve cultural competency; racially based sensitivity to others’ pain can move from implicit to explicit if made salient. Being a culturally competent therapist requires a better understanding of the tools of systemic racism.  Understanding aversive racism and how it develops is a first important step. This talk will focus on key issues including aversive racism, colorblindness and microaggressions.


Dr. Sonya Faber is an experienced scientist and pharmaceutical professional specialising in bench-to-bedside (translational) clinical development. Having studied at top universities, she has worked in research institutes, biotech firms, and clinical operations for several leading pharmaceutical companies. Her work in protocol design, medical writing, and project management has included pre-clinical and clinical activities for Phase II and III trials across multiple indications. She is highly knowledgeable in scientific product development, particularly for neuroscience applications.

Dr. Faber has an interest in clinical pharmacology of psychoactive and psychedelic pharmaceuticals, with a specific interest in issues related to equity and access of psychedelic drugs as they are completing clinical trials establishing efficacy, clearing regulatory hurdles, and moving to market. She serves on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines, which focuses on the indigenous roots and cultural issues related to these substances. She also served on the steering committee for the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association, where she played a key role in its organizational development.  

She has co-authored over 26 papers in fields ranging from psychology to genetics.

She is a partner in the Biotech consulting company Bioville Gmbh and she is currently employed by Angelini Pharma as a Medical Science Liaison in Epilepsy Research. These affiliations are not associated with her interest in social justice or her interest in the psychology of psychedelics. Her presentation reflects her own opinions and is not associated with her employment with Angelini Pharma.

Other Speakers at ICPR 2022

Founder and Executive Director at MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, United States

Associate Professor at Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Founder of Fungi Perfecti and CEO of MycoMedica Life Sciences PBC, United States

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About ICPR

The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR) is Europe’s leading academic conference dedicated to advancing psychedelic research and therapies organised by the OPEN Foundation since 2010. ICPR is a biennial conference focused on high-quality scientific and scholarly research into psychedelics. ICPR 2022 is our fifth event. After our hugely successful online conference in 2020, we are returning to the prestigious Philharmonie Theatre for an in-person event! ICPR will take place in Haarlem (next to Amsterdam) from September 22nd to 24th, 2022.