Therapy Training

Supporting the growth and development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy practitioners and sites 

The MDMA Therapy Training Program offers in-depth training into the practice of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy, with curriculum based on decades of clinical experience. Trainees learn the theoretical approach of the modality, developed from the fundamental notion that every person has within them an incredible source of wisdom and an innate ability to heal.

The MDMA Therapy Training Program provides the training and supervision required to qualify practitioners to deliver MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in approved clinical settings. As of Summer 2019, the MDMA Therapy Training Program has enrolled over 500 clinicians and delivered trainings in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Israel.

The MDMA Therapy Training Program enrolls compassionate and experienced clinicians who are committed to health and well-being. The program is currently accepting applications for mental health practitioners interested in learning the modality of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy.

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Treatment Manual

Want to learn more about MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy?
MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy is currently provided by trained mental health and medical practitioners working on approved clinical research protocols at facilities that meet government regulatory requirements for drug storage. At this time research protocols are limited. As Phase 3 trials continue, data is being collected to support a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021, with the hopes of making MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy into an approved prescription treatment. The MDMA Therapy Training Program is a pre-requisite for conducting MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy on a MAPS protocol and is expected to continue as required training for clinicians offering MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy post-approval, through the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). The MDMA Therapy Training Program delivers specialized training to build competency for the conduct of this modality and ensure that practitioners are offering the treatment in a safe, effective, and ethical manner.
 The following are the current required elements for providing MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in an approved protocol:

1. Protocol: availability of an approved study protocol with capacity for additional sites.

2. Site: a treatment facility conducive to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, as confirmed by the sponsored study team and in compliance with standard procedure.

3. Physician: a prescribing physician who can obtain a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule 1 license (or equivalent for countries outside the US) for MDMA. A second, back-up physician may be necessary to accommodate the requirement to have a physician available on-call.

4. Therapy Team: two or more qualified therapists affiliated with the approved site, who have successfully completed the MDMA Therapy Training Program and been recommended to become providers in an approved protocol.

 

More information on these requirements is outlined on the Application Requirements page. Before submitting your application, make sure to read through all of the requirements.

The 5-part training program is required for all MDMA-assisted therapy practitioners working on a MAPS protocol.

  • 14 hours
  • 7 Days
  • 3+ Days
  • 1 Day
  • Varies
  • Part A

    ONLINE COURSE

    The online 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 Treatment Manual, study protocols, and scientific literature on the subject.

  • Part B

    Training Retreat

    Therapy video review and live dialogue with Senior MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy Researchers, covers topics in the Treatment Manual. Trainees are taught how to conduct study sessions, provide non-directive therapy, and adhere to treatment protocol.

  • Part C

    Experiential Learning

    MAPS PBC is developing a protocol that would provide trainees with the opportunity to shadow alongside a senior MDMA therapist during an MDMA therapy session, in the spirit of apprenticeship. Additionally, the protocol would provide an opportunity for trainees to receive MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, if they choose to volunteer and are eligible. The experiential opportunity in psychedelic therapy training has proven invaluable according to previous trainees.

  • Part D

    Practice Session

    Therapy Teams from a given site gather to conduct role play didactic training. Role play scenarios are provided, and each trainee gets a chance to play the role of provider, participant, and observer. Total time: approximately 6 hours. The role plays will be video and audio recorded so that recording may be reviewed by a Supervisor.

  • Part E

    Supervision and Evaluation

    Trainees receive in-depth video review and clinical supervision during the treatment of their first participant receiving MDMA- assisted psychotherapy. Therapy video recordings are rated for adherence to the treatment method. Supervision is provided by Senior MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy Researchers. Timely feedback is given to trainees to maximize learning and enhance the quality of treatment. All therapy sessions for that participant must be audio and video recorded so that recordings may be viewed by a Supervision. 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 have satisfied all the training requirements will be granted a certificate of completion. Until MDMA is approved as medicine by the regulatory authorities all practice will be in a limited clinical trial setting.

MDMA Therapy Training Program Connect Portal

The MDMA Therapy Training Program Connect Portal is a community discussion forum for therapy providers, physicians and sites to connect with one another to network and meet the qualifications to become eligible to work on an MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol. If you are looking for treatment staff, a physician, or a treatment facility, we hope that this platform will support you. In addition to community discussion, staff members of the MDMA Therapy Training Program provide some moderation of the discussion forums.  

Tuition and Scholarships

Tuition information for the 2020 training year will be available in the coming months.

If you would like to support MDMA Therapy Training opportunities for people of color, please consider donating to this effort. Your donation is tax deductible and will help to build equity and inclusion for this important new healing modality.

Additional scholarship programs are under development.

Apply

In January 2019, just as Phase 3 trials began, MAPS PBC submitted an application to the US FDA Expanded Access program. If approved, Expanded Access would allow additional sites in the United States and US Territories to meet the requirements to provide MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD to eligible patients under a MAPS protocol.

Opportunities to participate on a MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol are expected to grow, in the United States and internationally. Due to the nature of clinical research and the regulatory approval process, it is difficult to predict the timing and outcome of protocol approvals. Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply and monitor the Connect Portal and MDMA Therapy Training Program Email Newsletter for updates.

MAPS PBC is currently accepting Site Questionnaires from sites in the United States and US Territories that are interested in being screened for initial eligibility to participate on a future MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol, pending approval.The growth of this modality is likely to happen gradually over the next few years. Due to the incredible interest in this modality, MAPS PBC may not be able to respond to all applicants at this time. Applications will be held until opportunities to increase the number of sites grow. Sites will be contacted for clarification on their Site Questionnaire responses as needed. At the time of review, applicants will be notified of their site’s initial eligibility status. 

 The MDMA Therapy Training Program is currently accepting Practitioner Training Applications from qualified applicants who would like to begin their training in the MDMA Therapy Training Program. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, as they are received; applicants will be notified of their application status and will be contacted if needed for clarification on their application responses. The MDMA Therapy Training Program is a pre-requisite to working on a MAPS MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy protocol; qualified practitioners who are enrolled in or have graduated from the MDMA Therapy Training Program will be considered for participation in future protocols, pending approval. 

Due to the unpredictable nature of clinical research, we understand that many qualified practitioners may wish to wait until regulatory approval is granted, and opportunities to deliver  MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy are confirmed, before investing in their training with the MDMA Therapy Training Program. Please stay tuned to the Connect Portal and MDMA Therapy Training Program Email Newsletter where we will share updates on protocol status, training announcements, and other news related to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Thank you for your interest in healing, growth, and learning!  

Code of Ethics

The MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program is committed to providing quality and comprehensive training and supervision to support therapy providers in delivering ethical care within a MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol. As an organization, we take seriously our obligation to participant safety and to reflecting internally to promote ethical growth in our programs. In service to this commitment, the MDMA Therapy Training Program has established the MAPS MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Code of Ethics. The Code will remain a living document to grow and adapt with the ongoing integration of feedback and evolution of needs over time.

In the process of researching and drafting the Code of Ethics, the MDMA Therapy Training Program has been grateful to draw on collective wisdom within both psychotherapeutic and psychedelic fields. We wish to acknowledge input offered by our reviewers, as well as the work of many organizations and individuals to develop existing ethical guidelines.

Reviewers:

Cedar Barstow, M.Ed., C.H.T.
Marca Cassity, BSN, LMFT
Karen M. Cooper, M.A., RN
Leia Friedman, M.S.
Ismail Lourido Ali, JD
Annie Mithoefer, BSN
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.
Angella Okawa, LMFT
Marcela Ot’alora, LPC
Bruce Poulter, RN
Dominic A. Sisti, Ph.D.
Kylea Taylor, M.S., LMFT
Verena Wieloch, LPCA, LCAS
and the generous contributions
of many others.

Editors: 

Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A.
Sarah Scheld, M.A.

Please sign up to receive updates via the MDMA Therapy Training Email Newsletter. 

Meet the Therapy Training Team

Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A., A.M.F.T.

Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A., A.M.F.T. Director of Training and Supervision

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Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A., A.M.F.T.

Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A., A.M.F.T.

Director of Training and Supervision

Shannon Carlin, M.A., AMFT, is the Associate Director of Training and Supervision at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Associate Director of Training and Supervision, Shannon oversees the development and implementation of the programs that provide training and supervision to prepare mental health and medical professionals to deliver MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in approved clinical settings. Shannon started working with MAPS in 2011 before joining MAPS PBC in 2016.

In her dedication to supporting people through growth and healing, Shannon has served as a co-therapist on MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 trials researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD. Shannon’s direct clinical work continues to inform the development and implementation of the training programs she oversees.

Shannon’s previous professional experience includes the development of community programs delivering resources, services, training, and support for healthy living, life skills, employment, and positive youth development. Her work has served adults with schizophrenia, bipolar, and substance use disorder, families and youth in a low-income residential setting, and high school students learning about moderation management of drug and alcohol use. In her lifelong commitment to address homelessness, Shannon volunteers with housing projects and shelters and completed a farm internship with the Homeless Garden Project.

Shannon received her master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. An adventurer at heart, Shannon can be found in nature, backpacking, running, and dancing. She celebrates and cultivates relationship and community and is passionate about life, love, and thriving.

 

Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.

Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N. Sub-Investigator, MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD

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Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.

Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.

Sub-Investigator, MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD

Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a Registered Nurse living in Asheville, NC.  She was co-investigator on two of the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials for individuals with PTSD and a pilot study treating couples combining MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD.  She is currently co-investigator in MT1, a protocol allowing MAPS-trained therapists to receive their own MDMA-assisted session, she conducts MAPS Therapist Trainings with her husband, Michael, and is a supervisor for Phase 3 therapists. She is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D. Acting Medical Director

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Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Acting Medical Director

Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist living in Asheville, NC. He was co-investigator on two of the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials for individuals with PTSD and a pilot study treating couples combining MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD.  He is the lead author of the MAPS Manual for MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  He is currently co-investigator in MT1, a protocol allowing MAPS-trained therapists to receive their own MDMA-assisted session, he conducts MAPS Therapist Trainings with his wife Annie, and is a supervisor for Phase 3 therapists.  He is also the lead Medical Monitor for ongoing Phase 3 trials, is a supervisor for Phase 3 therapists, and participates in new MPBC protocol development. He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator and is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy.  He is clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, and has been board certified in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Marcela Ot’alora, M.F.A, M.A., L.P.C

Marcela Ot’alora, M.F.A, M.A., L.P.C Principal Investigator for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Research

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Marcela Ot’alora, M.F.A, M.A., L.P.C

Marcela Ot’alora, M.F.A, M.A., L.P.C

Principal Investigator for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Research

Marcela is dedicated to the treatment and research of trauma, through art and through the use of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. She worked as a co-therapist in the first government approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in Madrid, Spain and is the Principal Investigator of the Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials in Boulder, Colorado. She received her MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and MFA from University of Greensboro in North Carolina. She was born and raised in Colombia, South America and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Bruce Poulter. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. She will be leading the MDMA therapy training.

Bruce D. Poulter, M.P.H

Bruce D. Poulter, M.P.H Sub Investigator/Study Therapist/Clinical Supervisor for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Research

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Bruce D. Poulter, M.P.H

Bruce D. Poulter, M.P.H

Sub Investigator/Study Therapist/Clinical Supervisor for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Research

Bruce has been drawn to and worked most of his life with people in altered states, primarily non-medicine induced. He decided at an early age to primarily focus on learning directly from and about people by being in positions of service in lieu of traditional academic training. During the 80’s he was an ICU nurse at UCSF hospital when the AIDS pandemic first emerged and he developed a deep appreciation for the ethics of working with the critically ill as well as studying dying/living with the noted authority Elizabeth Kübler Ross.

Based on these experiences he studied health planning and policy development where he received his MPH from UC Berkeley, in the hopes of redirecting funds away from critical care units and towards programs that effectively improved the morbidity and mortality rates of the people they served. In the early 90’s he developed and ran public health programs including a nurse-midwife based, comprehensive perinatal program, serving exclusively low-income women, as well as a program designed to prevent childhood abuse and neglect by combining public health nurses with community mental health workers focusing on at risk families.

He had the good fortune to independently study Buddhist meditation and psychology with Thich Nhat Hanh along with a contemporary form of Jungian psychology with Max Shupbach of the Process Work Center based in Portland, OR. He was a founding member of the Nyland Co-Housing Community-a 42-unit development that at the time was recognized as Colorado’s most energy efficient development while offering residents a reprieve from the isolating lifestyle that often characterizes North American communities.

He has worked extensively with people in chronic pain as an educator and Rolfer and was an intimate observer of the first government approved MDMA assisted psychotherapy study in Madrid, Spain in 1999. Upon his return to Colorado, he entered the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate and fortunately for him and his family did well, but not well enough to challenge the incumbent.

What Bruce appreciates about MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is its’ deeply intimate nature; driven by a profound love for self, community and other; participant centered; respectful of participants processes; it leverages a person’s native inherent wisdom; and invites/demands authenticity of all parts and parties involved in the at times mysterious, service of healing. Bruce hopes MDMA-assisted psychotherapy will help catalyze and play an important role in a much-needed paradigm shift, where people are once again recognized as the true experts of their healing.

He’s had the pleasure of participating in harm reduction services through Zendo, etc. and is currently a sub-investigator, clinical supervisor and trainer with MAPS Phase 2 and Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials.

Ido Siemion, Ph.D.

Ido Siemion, Ph.D.

Ido Siemion, PhD., is a Hakomi trainer and co-founder of the Hakomi Institute of Israel. He holds a PhD in East West Psychology and a M.A. in Somatic Psychology, both from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ido works as a psychotherapist with adults who seek to heal their psychological wounding as well as expand their consciousness, manifest their potential and live life fully. His work draws on Jungian, Somatic and Psychodynamic psychologies and integrates knowledge based in Eastern spiritual traditions as well as Shamanic traditions. Ido is a trainer for MAPS in Israel, he was a clinical investigator in the phase II MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD trials and is now also a clinical investigator in the phase III trials that examine the impact of MDMA assisted psychotherapy on severe trauma victims (PTSD).

Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D., M.F.T.

Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D., M.F.T.

Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D.,M.F.T., is the co-founder of the Hakomi Institute of Israel a trainer for MAPS in Israel (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). She is a clinical investigator in the MDMA PTSD FDA approved clinical trial, examining the impact of MDMA assisted psychotherapy on severe PTSD patients. Keren is the clinical director of the Open Access project of MAPS and the Israeli MOH, which offers MDMA assisted therapy for 50 participants in five governmental hospitals in Israel. She is also one of the founder of the new MA program in Haifa University: Integrative psychotherapy,: Body, Mind, spirit.  Keren holds a M.A. in Somatic Psychology and a Ph.D. in East- West Psychology, both from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She specializes in integrating mindfulness based psychodynamic psychotherapy with somatic psychotherapy, attachment psychotherapy, trauma psychology and transpersonal psychology. Her approach is grounded in traditional western psychologies as well as inspired by Eastern and Shamanic spiritual traditions.

 

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MAPS PBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization.