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,…