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Behavioral Wellness Clinic


MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD

New Research in Psychedelic Medicine

Last year, Clinic Director Dr. Monnica Williams and former Director of Psychedelic Services Sara Reed, MS helped to lead an FDA-approved clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. This took place at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) in the Department of Psychiatry, in Farmington, Connecticut, as part of an international multisite study. This cutting-edge treatment for people suffering from PTSD was grant-funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. It is also known as the party-drug Ecstasy, although when purchased illicitly it may or may not actually contain MDMA. Researchers have been investigating whether MDMA may assist in treating severe, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with phase 3 clinical trials occurring now across North America and Europe. In 2017 the FDA granted MDMA a breakthrough therapy designation for PTSD, meaning that if studies show promise, a review for potential medical use could occur more quickly.

A caring team of mental health professionals treats PTSD with MDMA therapy.

In Phase-2 Trials, 107 participants with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD were recruited to receive therapy, including several sessions over the course of a month. Two months after the treatment, 56% of the patients no longer showed symptoms that qualified as PTSD. At the 12-month follow-up, 68% "no longer had PTSD."

MDMA for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The knowledge and expertise from this research program is now coming to the Behavioral Wellness Clinic through a program called Expanded Access (EA), in partnership with MAPS. Expanded Access, also called Compassionate Use, allows patients to have use of an investigational medical product (one that has not yet been approved by the FDA) outside of a randomized clinical trial. The program’s purpose is to grant access to potentially beneficial investigational treatments for people facing a serious or life-threatening condition for which there is no satisfactory treatment currently available. The EA program was recently approved by the FDA, and we are now in the preparatory stages for offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to people who have not responded to traditional therapies for PTSD.

Leading The Way in Promoting Access

There are few therapists trained to deliver MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. MAPS offers a Therapy Training Program for therapists who would like to begin offering MDMA to clients. Clinic Director, Dr. Monnica Williams, helped to implement a special training event in August 2019 specifically for therapy providers of color and those serving marginalized communities to help ensure equal access for everyone.

MDMA Therapy in Connecticut

At the Behavioral Wellness Clinic, we expect a large demand for MDMA treatment in the next few months. We are fortunate to have an excellent team of experts who will be able to deliver this important medicine to people in Connecticut with PTSD. The treatment process is expected to be 15-20 sessions in total, including 2-3 all-day MDMA sessions. All clients will have two therapists for the duration of the treatment process. We will be prioritizing existing clients, those with racial traumas, and those willing to donate to support others who could not otherwise afford treatment. Check back soon in the coming weeks for more updates surrounding these exciting developments or give us a call for more information.

Patient Stories

MDMA: Medicine for Healing from Trauma: Known on the street as Ecstasy, MDMA is found to promote recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder. Epigee Women's Health.

Media Coverage

Yin, S. (2020, January 10). How researchers and advocates of color are forging their own paths in psychedelic-assisted therapy. The Pulse.

Lekhtman, A. (2018, August 1). A healing trip: Psychologists are testing MDMA to treat the trauma of racism. Merry Jane.

Krieger, K. (2018, July 16). Unraveling. UConn Health Journal.

Hellerman, C. (2016, December 1). Using Ecstasy to treat PTSD: I felt like my soul snapped back into place. PBS Newshour.

Related Publications

Williams, M. T., Reed, S., & George, J. (2020). Culture and psychedelic psychotherapy: Ethnic and racial themes from three Black women therapists. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. doi: 10.1556/2054.2020.00137

Williams, M. T., Reed, S., & Aggarwal, R. (2020). Culturally-informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. doi: 10.1556/2054.2019.016

Mithoefer, M. C., Mithoefer, A. T., Feduccia, A. A., Jerome, L., Wagner, M., Wymer, J., ... Doblin, R. (2018). 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans, firefighters, and police officers: A randomised, double-blind, dose-response, phase 2 clinical trial. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(6), 486–497. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30135-4

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.

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.


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