Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Consciousness, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Legal Ethical Issues, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience.

Description: Imagine that a couple you know is having relationship difficulties that have been going on for a while. Imagine farther that you think that one if the things contributing to their difficulties is that seem to be having problems talking to one another about things that matter to them in their relationship (e.g., having children, how parts of their relationships make them each feel). You like your friends and would really like to see them doing better but you do not feel able to step in and engage with them about their relationship’s issues. Given this what sorts of thing or things might you suggest or hint that they might try? Taking time away together? Trying couple therapy? Drinking more (or less)? How about talking MDMA (the currently illegal drug ecstasy) together? Not on the top of your list or on your list at all? Well, think about it, hypothetically and about what it could involve and then read the article linked below which looks at this very question.

Source: Can MDMA Save a Marriage? Christina Caron

Date: Feb 8, 2022

Image by Conmongt from Pixabay

Article Link:

I am not advocating the use of illegal substances and I would not be advocating for the unsupervised/supported use of MDMA or other substances even if they were decriminalized, prescribable or legal. That said, there has been quite a bit of interest and research recently into the therapeutic use of some substances. Cannabis is legal in many jurisdictions now and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) are in some as well. MDMA has been shown to positively impact symptoms of PTSD (as has cannabis). Of course, regulation is needed as is supervision/support for use and much more research is needed but….. ?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might MDMA actually be of assistance to troubled couples?
  2. What sorts of practical, legal and ethical issues are currently at play in considering the therapeutic use of MDMA by troubled couples?
  3. What sorts of research is needed in these areas and how should its results be utilized in the development of possible policy and practice involving the therapeutic use of such substances (by who under what circumstances)?

References (Read Further):

Mitchell, J. M., Bogenschutz, M., Lilienstein, A., Harrison, C., Kleiman, S., Parker-Guilbert, K., … & Doblin, R. (2021). MDMA-assisted therapy for severe PTSD: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study. Nature Medicine, 27(6), 1025-1033. Link

NIDA (2020) MNDA (Ecstasy/Molly) Drug Facts National Institute on Drug Abuse Link

Hysek, C. M., Schmid, Y., Simmler, L. D., Domes, G., Heinrichs, M., Eisenegger, C., … & Liechti, M. E. (2014). MDMA enhances emotional empathy and prosocial behavior. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 9(11), 1645-1652. Link

Greer, G., & Tolbert, R. (1986). Subjective reports of the effects of MDMA in a clinical setting. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 18(4), 319-327. Link

Verkes, R. J., Gijsman, H. J., Pieters, M. S., Schoemaker, R. C., de Visser, S., Kuijpers, M., … & Cohen, A. F. (2001). Cognitive performance and serotonergic function in users of ecstasy. Psychopharmacology, 153(2), 196-202. Link

Monson, C. M., Wagner, A. C., Mithoefer, A. T., Liebman, R. E., Feduccia, A. A., Jerome, L., … & Mithoefer, M. C. (2020). MDMA-facilitated cognitive-behavioural conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: an uncontrolled trial. European journal of psychotraumatology, 11(1), 1840123. Link