MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program
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About the Program
The MDMA Therapy Training Program was established in 2012 within the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1986. The training program is now operated by MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a psychedelic pharmaceutical public benefit corporation wholly owned by MAPS. Trainees have come from around the world, representing more than a dozen countries and dozens of cultures.
Reports from previous participants in the MDMA Therapy Training Program:
“This training has been a peak experience in my professional career!”
“I arrived with the intention to be open, curious, embodied, and unattached to outcomes. And learn, I did- in the most enriching and inspiring ways.”
“I didn’t quite know how much I longed for a diverse community of loving, supportive, and like-minded professionals until I found myself in the middle of one. To share a common mission and sense of purpose around healing is profoundly meaningful. For me, this was a coming home.”
About MDMA-Assisted Therapy Clinical Trials and Regulatory Approval Process
MAPS PBC is conducting international clinical trials investigating MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other conditions. The study results will be used to support the application of MDMA-assisted therapy for regulatory approval in multiple countries globally. MDMA-assisted therapy is an investigational treatment and is not yet approved for use outside of research. Please visit Publications to learn more about the latest published study results and MAPS-sponsored clinical trials.
The primary requirements for delivery of MDMA-assisted therapy include:
- Qualified medical professionals
- Qualified behavioral health practitioners
- Appropriate facilities for conducting MDMA-assisted therapy and storing controlled substances
- Approved research protocol or sanctioned legal status of MDMA-assisted therapy
These requirements vary by region, regulatory agency, and protocol. Psychedelic therapy is a growing field defining and refining professional standards, ethical guidelines, scope of practice and scope of competence. The exact qualifications and credentialing requirements that may be required for practitioners, if and when regulatory approval is achieved, are not known and will be determined by the regulatory agency, the study Sponsor, community members and the professional field. Candidates with active licenses to conduct psychotherapy may be the most likely to qualify as practitioners of psychedelic therapies in the future, however this will not be determined until later in the drug development process.
MAPS PBC cannot predict regulatory approval in the drug development process. Participation in the MDMA Therapy Training Program is not a guarantee or promise of employment, career trajectory, or the future status of MDMA-assisted therapy. If Phase 3 clinical trials continue to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the treatment and if regulatory agencies approve MDMA-assisted therapy as a legal treatment, a primary factor of patient access will be the number and availability of qualified practitioners ready to enter practice.
MDMA Therapy Training Program Outline
This program consists of live presentations, video case presentations, role play, scenario enactments, self-reflection activities, group and dyad activities, reading, writing, coursework, and creative projects.
Small groups, facilitated by MAPS Trainers, meet regularly throughout the program and provide a container for discussion, integration, process, and practice. Trainers and assistants are available to support trainees throughout the program.
Components of the complete MDMA Therapy Training Program:
- 100-hour MDMA-Assisted Therapy Course
- Experiential Elective
- Consultation and Clinical Experience
As with many therapeutic modalities, the MDMA Therapy Training Program believes that some of the best preparation for supporting others through a process, is going through a similar process oneself. The kind of knowledge gained from firsthand experience is invaluable and difficult to replicate.
In 2009 the FDA approved a MAPS-sponsored healthy volunteer trial permitting trainees enrolled in the MDMA Therapy Training Program to apply to receive MDMA-assisted therapy. The study is called MT1 and is nearly complete, enrolling 120 people in total. In 2019 MAPS submitted a similar protocol, called MT2, however this protocol is not yet active. Opportunities to receive MDMA-assisted therapy are very limited. MAPS-sponsored clinical trials for PTSD and other treatment indications have strict eligibility criteria. Efforts are underway in various countries to seek regulatory exemption to deliver psychedelic therapies to small groups of clinicians training to practice in the modality. At this time MAPS is not currently enrolling for healthy volunteer therapy training protocols. Details about other opportunities to complete the experiential elective are provided during the application process.
Consultation and Clinical Experience
Clinicians working on MDMA-assisted therapy protocols are expected to complete a minimum number of hours of clinical experience delivering MDMA-assisted therapy, and a minimum number of hours receiving consultation with a trained and experienced MDMA-assisted therapy Training Consultant. More information about Training Consultation, including required hours, procedures, and fees, is provided to candidates preparing to work in an approved clinical setting, clinical trial, or legally sanctioned practice. Given the current status of MDMA-assisted therapy as an investigational treatment, opportunities to practice are currently very limited. While MAPS PBC is working towards a New Drug Application to the FDA, there are no guarantees about the approval of MDMA-assisted therapy.
Clinical experience must be gained in an approved clinical setting, including approved clinical trials, legally sanctioned practices, and in the future pending rescheduling of MDMA-assisted therapy. Clinical experience can only be completed when a candidate enters the practice of MDMA-assisted therapy following their participation in the MDMA Therapy Training Program. There may be a significant delay, and no guarantee, of opportunities to practice MDMA-assisted therapy, due to regulatory and legal limitations.
Culture and Community
The MDMA Therapy Training Program invites trainees to approach this modality with curiosity and a willingness to not know all the answers. The program also invites trainees to cultivate trust in their own inner healing wisdom, which can be used as a resource in the therapy room as well as throughout this training course, and of course in one’s personal life. This is a professional and personal development course and includes activities that invite trainees to reflect with vulnerability and authenticity. The Trainers and staff will do the same.
The program aims to create a community of learning that facilitates knowledge sharing, networking, and cultivating the wisdom of each person and the group. All staff and trainees are expected to act in a respectful, inclusive, and non-discriminatory manner, and to take responsibility for their actions.
The MDMA Therapy Training Program is committed to addressing mental health disparities in psychedelic therapy as well as trauma treatment, especially those facing the most marginalized communities. In a commitment to address the current lack of diversity in psychedelic research, qualified clinicians from and serving communities of color, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, military populations, and other marginalized or underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.
The MDMA Therapy Training Program advances equity and inclusion by providing opportunities and establishing fair practices to support a training and treatment environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, military and veteran status. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants with disabilities. The MDMA Therapy Training Program strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible training environment that is supportive and free from discrimination.