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Couples therapy with MDMA

From the time MDMA was discovered as a psychoactive molecule in 1976 until it became illegal MDMA in 1985 in the United States (1986 in Norway), thousands of couples through legal couples therapy with MDMA. The results were very good, but when it began to become popular as a party drug in the 80s, it was strictly regulated. Which also made it extremely difficult to do further research.

In the mid-80s, a series of uncontrolled case studies was published which was carried out before the ban. These described the effective use of MDMA with individuals, couples and groups. Switzerland was the last country in the West to make MDMA illegal in 1993. In 1988, the Swiss Medical Society for Psycholytic Therapy conducted individual and group psychotherapy with MDMA and LSD. Over 100 patients with a wide range of psychiatric problems underwent an average of eight therapeutic sessions. Over 90% of the patients described improvements after 19 months of follow-up (1).

How does couples therapy with MDMA work?

Taking MDMA with your partner is not quite the same as couples therapy with MDMA. Taking MDMA together is in itself therapeutic for many, but often it is not all that is needed. Misunderstandings can arise and it can be difficult to read the other person's experience at the moment. Perhaps one experiences a strong euphoria, while the other processes a painful memory. In a couples therapeutic setting, you prepare together with the therapist, talk about the challenges and set the framework for the therapeutic experience. It is more about having your own experience together than having the same experience.

On the actual day, you have prepared an intention, and both of you lie with separate headphones and sleep masks. Throughout the initial part of the experience, both parties are asked to keep to themselves and simply relax and listen to the music. After a few hours, if both feel ready, they can talk together. This is usually after the most intense part of the experience and can also be a very productive phase of the experience. Here, you can have some alone time together if desired.

It's the other person who needs therapy here - not me

Everyone enters into a relationship with baggage. You carry a childhood that, no matter how perfect it was, has left its mark and you have lots of habits from previous relationships. This creates expectations and attitudes about what is right and wrong, what should be and what one can not share with one's partner. In addition, it adds up with baggage in the current relationship, what has been done and said, things you can never forgive and things that make you not look at the other person in the same way again. One of the goals in couples therapy is to get the baggage up and out in a safe setting so you can pack it neatly together and set it aside for good.

A personal story

What made me believe in couples therapy with MDMA? In 2015, I went through a difficult breakup after 8 years together. The relationship had been going up and down for a while and after a year of distance relationships, I met another. This led to my wanting to break up with my then girlfriend, but we still stayed together for over a year after that. This was a "year of terror" marked by understandable jealousy and bitterness, where quarrels became more intense, personal and more frequent as time went on until the final break-up. We both did and said things we could never forgive each other for. We were in a close circle of friends and she eventually started dating one of my best friends. And I started dating her friend. It was a complete mess taken out of a sitcom and we never thought we would be able to look each other in the eyes again. Today we are again close friends and neighbors who see each other several times a week. She with her new family, and I with mine. I do not know where we would be without MDMA therapy, but definitely not where we are today.

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