William A. Richards Ph.D. is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, where he and his colleagues have been pursuing research with psilocybin for the past 17 years. 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 psychedelic 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 entheogens in the treatment of alcoholism, severe personality disorders, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the education of religious and mental-health professionals. From 1977-1981, he was a member of the psychology faculty of Antioch University in Maryland. His publications began in 1966 with Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism, coauthored with Walter Pahnke. His book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences has recently been released by Columbia University Press.