MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD: From scientific research to clinical practice





Assigned to session

0.03 On air, 29-09-2023, 15:10 - 16:25

Field of research

History, theory, ethics
(Sub)clinical interventions or treatment (innovations)

Overview of symposium

MDMA is extensively researched as a supportive agent in psychotherapy, despite its classification as a banned substance in most countries. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has shown promising effects for the treatment of PTSD, raising the likelihood of MDMA's prospective registration as a medicine by 2024. This symposium comprises three presentations: 1) An overview of the history of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and scientific studies investigating its safety and efficacy for the treatment of PTSD; 2) An examination of its working mechanisms and psychotherapeutic framework ; 3) A presentation of a real-life case study to exemplify the application of the aforementioned concepts.


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MDMA: From discovery to evidence-based treatment for PTSD

MSc Erwin Krediet



This presentation will provide an overview of 111 years of MDMA. From its first synthesis in 1912, the discovery of its psychotherapeutic properties and development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the 1970s, its worldwide prohibition in the 1980s, to the long and challenging road of its development into an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. In addition to integrating the recent wave of scientific research into its historical context, special focus will be placed on the results of the numerous phase 2 and 3 studies that have been conducted since the start of this century. Results that prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to award MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD a breakthrough designation, and that might soon lead to approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD by regulatory agencies around the world.


Erwin Krediet

MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy: Working mechanism and clinical approach

MD Tijmen Bostoen



In current research, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD consists of a psychotherapeutic course of 12 to 15 therapy sessions, during which MDMA is dosed only 2 to 3 times. The specific therapeutic framework combined with MDMA’s mind-altering properties, fostering empathy, self-acceptance, reducing shame, and enhancing memory is believed to catalyze the psychotherapeutic process. Remarkably, this innovative approach has demonstrated efficacy even in treatment-resistant cases of PTSD. During this presentation, the psychotherapeutic framework underpinning MDMA-assisted psychotherapy will be elucidated, shedding light on its integral role in the treatment process. Moreover, the pharmacological properties of MDMA will be looked into, exploring its benefits, side effects, and potential risks as a catalyst for therapy. Furthermore, the training of therapists for this specialized treatment modality will be addressed, and the application of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in current research at ARQ Center '45 will be explored, along with perspectives on (future) clinical practice and research implications.


Tijmen Bostoen

Case study of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy

MSc Vivian Spiertz



During the presentation, a compelling case study will be showcased, providing an illustration of the distinct phases of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, encompassing preparatory, experiential, and integrative psychotherapy sessions. The therapeutic process will be explored, shedding light on common situations, experiences, and interventions unique to this approach, while also addressing the potential challenges encountered during the course of treatment.


Vivian Spiertz