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Behavioral Wellness Clinic


How To Become an MDMA Therapist

Using MDMA to Help People with PTSD

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) currenly provides training for clinicians to help those wth PTSD through the use of MDMA. All therapists at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic offering MDMA-assisted therapy have compeleted, or are in the process of completing, this extensive training curriculum. The current MAPS training program includes five critical parts, described below:

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  • Part A: Online Course. This 14-hour course outlines chemistry and history of MDMA, common reactions, possible mechanisms of action, and study design. The online course was developed out of content from the MAPS Treatment Manual, protocols, scientific literature on the subject.

  • Part B: Residential Training (7 days). This part is focused on therapy video review and live dialogue with experienced MDMA-assisted psychotherapists, and covers topics outlined in the Treatment Manual. Trainees are taught how to conduct sessions, provide inner-directed therapy, and adhere to treatment protocol, in a culturally-informed manner. It will includes diagnosis of PTSD and psychedelic issues in therapy. Learn more about the upcoming Part B August training in Louisville, KY for communities of color.

  • Part C: Experiential Learning (15 hours). Each trainee is invited to participate in FDA-approved clinical trial offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to professionals training to become providers in the modality (called MT-2). Clinicians will be enrolled in this study, and receive treatment with MDMA-assisted psychotherapists. MT-2 resembles a brief version of the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol outlined for the treatment of PTSD, as it includes a screening process, one 90-minute Preparatory Session, one 8-hour MDMA Session, one 90-minute Integration Session, and a follow-up period. Each trainee will complete a practicum experience by assisting a lead therapist in one MT-2 case to gain training and valuable mentorship from an experienced MDMA therapist. This involves an orientation call with the lead therapist, shadowing the screening process, and assisting during one preparatory session, one MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session, one integration session, and follow-up.

  • Part D: Role Play (1 day / 6 hours). Therapy pairs will gather to conduct role play didactic training. Role play scenarios will be provided, each trainee gets a chance to play the role of provider, participant, and observer. The role plays will be video recorded so that recordings may be reviewed by a supervisor, or they may be watched live by a supervisor.

  • Part E: Supervision and Evaluation. Trainees will receive in-depth video review and clinical supervision during the treatment of their first patient receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Therapy video recordings are rated for adherence to the treatment method. Supervision will be provided by experienced MDMA-assisted psychotherapists. All therapy sessions for the first participant treated by an approved Therapy Pair in an Expanded Access protocol would be video recorded to be viewed by a supervisor. Supervisors evaluate trainees based on adherence criteria, observation of therapy videos, and participation in training modules. A final evaluation is provided in the form of a narrative summary from the supervisor.

Trainees who satisfy all the training requirements and can demonstrate the ability to deliver the treatment well will be granted a MAPS certificate of completion, which will enable them to offer MDMA-assisted psychotherapy at approved expanded access clinics. To apply, visit the MDMA Therapy Training Application for Providers Link. Therapists working at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic are also required to complete approved diversity training and a FAP Level 1 training prior to consideration.

Recommended Reading

Williams, M. T., & Leins, C. (2016). Race-based trauma: The challenge and promise of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Bulletin, 26(1), 32-37.

Ot’alora, M., Grigsby, J., Poulter, B., Van Derveer, J. W., Giron, S. G., Jerome, L.,Feduccia, A. A., Hamilton, S., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Emerson, A., Mithoefer, M. C., & Doblin, R. (2018). 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized phase 2 controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(12), 1295–1307.

Michaels, T. I., Purdon, J., Collins, A. & Williams, M. T. (2018). Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A review of the literature. BMC Psychiatry, 18(245), 1-9. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1824-6

Miller, A., Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Kanter, J., & Tsai, M. (2015). Using functional analytic psychotherapy to improve awareness and connection in racially diverse client-therapist dyads. The Behavior Therapist, 38(6), 150-156.

Williams, M. T., Printz, D., Ching, T. & Wetterneck, C. T. (2018). Assessing PTSD in ethnic and racial minorities: Trauma and racial trauma. Directions in Psychiatry, 38(3), 179-196.

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