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Between Two Worlds

Between Two Worlds

Trauma Treatment on the Edge

By Marcela Ot’alora G.

September/October 2018

I have the privilege to work in two worlds: my private practice, where I use a range of therapeutic tools to help trauma sufferers, and an MDMA-research project, where I’ve been able to observe close-up the profound effect integrating a psychedelic drug can have in facilitating—and sometimes transforming—the often lengthy and difficult process of healing from PTSD.

Whatever the approach, when trauma survivors come to treatment, three things become apparent. First, they’re disconnected from themselves, from other people, and from their environment. Second, they have trouble accessing the innate capacity for resilience that would allow them to process the traumatic experiences continuing to disrupt their emotional life. Finally, a pervasive, paralyzing fear keeps them trapped in this state. As every trauma therapist knows, getting free of the debilitating symptoms of PTSD, if it happens at all, can take years.

As has been repeatedly demonstrated in our research, MDMA can serve as a powerful catalyst in the healing process. By slowing down the experience of time and making the fear more manageable, it can accelerate therapy. Not only does it enhance the participant’s connection with the present moment, but it strengthens the therapeutic bond, allowing for a process of self-exploration that respects personal pace and supports a fuller expression of deep emotion and insight.

Early in an MDMA-assisted session, what spontaneously emerges, no invitation needed,…

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1 Comment

Monday, October 8, 2018 7:52:03 PM | posted by Faige
Reading this article, it struck me that the MDMA research project lacked a crucial factor; there were many differences between the control group of "regular" psychotherapy and the MDMA group, but all the differences in results were attributed to one factor: the use of psychodelics. I would venture to say that providing the type of supporting environment that comes along with use of psychodelics, even without actually using the psychodelics, can bring the healing therapy much further along as well. Substituting the 45 minute weekly hour with the five hour long session plus follow up phone support that week, making sure the client is comfortable by having them bring something from home, lie down and be covered softly; so many factors are being overlooked when assuming the healing is due to the psychodelics. Can we try to implement the same immensely supportive atmosphere to therapy without using drugs that some clients might not feel comfortable using, and perhaps still have results that are vastly better than what the current 45 minute hour yields?