MDMA is now in the final phase of clinical trials before it becomes an approved drug. The clinical trials are aimed at PTSD, largely because there are few effective treatment options and that many hit hard. Before MDMA became illegal, there were also many psychologists and patients who believed it was very effective in couples therapy and for trauma in general. So does this mean you can take MDMA, go out on the town and be cured for PTSD? Not likely. So what exactly is the difference between MDMA at party and in combination with psychotherapy?
Importance of environment and state of mind
Psychedelics (as MDMA is sometimes classified as) is very dependent on "set and setting", or state of mind and environment in Norwegian. If your intention is to take MDMA and have fun with friends, that's usually what you want to achieve. One is then perhaps most concerned with enjoying the feeling in the body, enjoying the music, the light and the atmosphere, and it does not feel right to dive into bad things. One may be concerned not to ruin the mood of others and one may not feel safe enough to start crying or acting out in other ways. One is neither in the right state of mind nor in the environment to work with oneself. Many people still experience that MDMA at a party can also have a therapeutic effect, but far from the results you get in a therapeutic setting.
With a therapeutic purpose, the results will be different. Here you often lie on a sofa with a sober therapist next to you, or together as a couple in a quiet environment where therapy is the only purpose. You have prepared in advance, you avoid distractions and feel safe, and you work to integrate the experience afterwards. It is very difficult to imagine how different the experience of MDMA is in a social setting compared to a therapeutic setting. It is also not uncommon for therapeutic processes with MDMA to be quite emotionally demanding, and most people who try this for the first time in a therapeutic setting have a hard time understanding that this is also used as a party baptism. I have clients who have taken MDMA in social settings over 50 times who are surprised at how much they still get out of MDMA in a therapeutic setting.