MDMA Therapy Training Program
The MDMA Therapy Training Program is a clinical training program that facilitates learning in the theory, skills, and practice of MDMA-assisted therapy. The theoretical approach is based on a philosophy that every person has within them an intrinsic wisdom and ability to heal, and that this inner healing wisdom blossoms naturally in an environment of safety and support.
Meet the Therapy Training Team
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist living in Asheville, NC, with a research office in Charleston, SC. In 2000, he began collaborating with MAPS on the first U.S. Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. He and his wife Annie have since conducted two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS-sponsored MDMA Therapy Training Program, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combined with Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. He is now Senior Medical Director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator, is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy, and has nearly 30 years of experience treating trauma patients. Before going into psychiatry in 1991, he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments, and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been board-certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
Shannon Carlin, M.A., L.M.F.T.
Shannon Carlin, M.A., L.M.F.T., is the Chief of Therapy 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 Chief of Training and Supervision, Shannon leads the development and implementation of clinical training and supervision programs that prepare clinicians and counselors to deliver MDMA-assisted therapy in approved clinical settings around the world. 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 therapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness and MDMA-assisted therapy for severe PTSD. She currently works with clients through the California Center for Psychedelic Therapy, delivering transpersonal approaches, psychedelic integration, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Shannon’s direct clinical work continues to inform her role at MAPS PBC and the MDMA Therapy Training Program.
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 low-income residential settings, and high school students learning about moderation management of drug and alcohol use. Shannon is passionate about addressing homelessness, she has volunteered 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.
Wesley Hale, M.S.
Wesley Hale graduated with his Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Francisco State University. Wesley was Graduate Research Assistant in the Health and Organizational Psychology Lab, Workforce Technology Research Lab, and Employee Selection and Retention Lab. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Wesley gained experience working in the education field and applied his training in I/O Psychology at a game-based assessment company. He taught children with autism spectrum disorders and went on to teach a variety of subjects in the Orange County Public School District. Before moving to San Francisco, he spent two summers in China as a guest lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong University.
Wesley helped develop the Student for Sensible Drug Policy's Psychedelic Pipeline Career Mentorship Program. Throughout Wesley's career, he has been fueled by a passion for education and creating conditions to promote individual and collective growth. In his free time, Wesley enjoys tea, meditation, mentoring, and listening to music from around the world.
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., 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.
Bruce Poulter, M.P.H
Bruce is a sub-investigator and clinical supervisor in the MAPS-sponsored MDMA-assisted therapy trials. He 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 focus on learning directly from and about people by being in positions of service in lieu of traditional academic training. During the 80’s Bruce was an ICU nurse at University of California San Francisco when the AIDS pandemic first emerged. He developed a deep appreciation for the ethics of working with the critically ill as well as studying dying/living with noted authority Elizabeth Kübler Ross.
Based on these experiences Bruce studied health planning and policy development where he received a Master of Public Health from the University of California Berkeley. In the early 90’s he developed and ran public health programs including a nurse-midwife based perinatal program, serving low-income women, and a childhood abuse prevention program pairing public health nurses with community mental health workers. Bruce has worked extensively with people in chronic pain as an educator and Rolfer.
Bruce had the good fortune to study Buddhist meditation and psychology with Thich Nhat Hanh along with a contemporary form of Jungian psychology with Max Shupbach. 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. Bruce 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 therapy is its’ deeply intimate nature; driven by a profound love for self, community and other. Bruce hopes MDMA-assisted therapy will help catalyze a much-needed paradigm shift, where people are once again recognized as the true experts of their healing.
Marcela Ot’alora G., MA LPC
Marcela is dedicated to the treatment and research of trauma, through art and through the use of MDMA-assisted therapy. She worked as a co-therapist in the first government approved MDMA-assisted therapy study in Madrid, Spain and is the Principal Investigator of the Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted therapy 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.
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a Registered Nurse living in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is now focused primarily on training and supervising therapists conducting MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, as well as continuing to conduct some MAPS research sessions in Charleston, South Carolina. Between 2004 and 2018, she and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., completed two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS Therapist Training, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted therapy combined with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. Annie is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner, is trained in Hakomi Therapy, and has 25 years experience working with trauma patients, with an emphasis on experiential approaches to therapy.