MDMA Psychotherapy for the Treatment of PTSD




Students participating in this research will have the opportunity to examine how the illicit drug MDMA (aka Molly) is used in an approved clinical trial for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Interested students may have a passion for the study of psychotherapy, empirically supported treatments, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug-assisted psychotherapy (Psychedelic/MDMA), non-ordinary states of consciousness, or other related topics. Working on this project will involve watching video recordings of MDMA-therapy sessions. This includes preparation and integration sessions (non-drug), as well as dose-sessions during which a patient is under the acute effects of MDMA.

A psychotherapy process measure will be used by students in the research group. Students will study the different techniques used in the treatment of PTSD (cognitive therapy, cognitive processing therapy, exposure therapy, dynamic therapy, and others). We will then explore when and how these techniques are implemented in MDMA-therapy.

Important note:

Students should be aware that patients will be discussing traumatic material, which may be potentially triggering or traumatizing. Self-care will be discussed throughout the year. Also, these are real patients, so confidentiality is essential and taken very seriously.

Expected Commitment

Mandatory research meeting: every Wednesday (2:45pm to 3:45pm). After the first two months, we may only meet twice a month

Anticipated hours: In addition to the meeting, expect about 1.5 hours of coding work per week


Clinical research on the use of ± 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is ongoing. Although the results of initial peer-reviewed studies show promise, the psychotherapy processes utilized in treatment remain uninvestigated. MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy is unique in that the pharmacological action of MDMA is through to act as an adjuvant to psychotherapy. This therapeutic approach presents a divergence from precious clinical research, which has focused on either psychotherapy variables of pharmacological variables alone. The current study seeks to identify the psychotherapy processes used in MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy, in order to evaluate treatment efficacy.