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The Use of Mind-Altering Substances: MDMA, Psilocybin, and Marijuana for Treating PTSD and Other Mental Distress
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For the first time in over four decades, researchers are returning to examining the therapeutic benefits of mind altering substances, including MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (mushrooms), marijuana and LSD.

In the 1970s the study of all psychedelics was criminalized in the US, despite emerging evidence of their medical value. Over the past decade, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS) has helped to revive psychedelic research, sponsoring studies across the United States and around the world, including MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, and end-of-life anxiety. The results have been very positive, lasting over 72 months of follow-up, with few adverse effects.

Psychedelics may promote a deepening and acceleration of the psychotherapeutic process. During therapy, people often are able to access and find peace with disavowed, “exiled” parts of themselves.

In this workshop recording the founder of MAPS will describe the evolution of psychedelic therapy, the principal investigator of the Phase I and II level trials will discuss outcomes and processes, the PI of the Hopkins psilocybin study terminally ill patients and a marijuana researcher the promises and pitfalls for that substance. The Boston MDMA study team will discuss clinical experiences and applications.

In appropriate therapeutic contexts, psychedelics may prove to be more effective than most conventional treatments, as well as safer and more cost-effective.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the same content from the 30th Annual International Trauma Conference, you cannot receive self-study credit for this program if you have already attended the live workshops.

Michael Mithoefer, MD

Michael Mithoefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2009, he completed & published the first FDA approved clinical trial of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD, followed by completion of a Phase II trial. He is overseeing a multisite Phase III study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 13 sites around the US (including the Trauma Research Foundation), and another MDMA-assisted psychotherapy multisite study in Europe and Israel.

 

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Michael Mithoefer receives a salary and grants from MAPS Public Benefit Corp and is a clinical assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Non-financial: Michael Mithoefer is a member of the non-profit MAPS.

 

Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress.  His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma.  He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR. 

He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects. 

His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.  He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School.  He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine.  He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial:  Bessel van der Kolk has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., Owner, The Center for Self Leadership

Richard Schwartz began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called "parts." These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s.

IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.

In 2013, Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

 

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Richard Schwartz is the Founder of The Center for Self Leadership. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Richard Schwartz is a Fellow and member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.

William Richards, Ph.D.

William Richards, Ph.D., Psychologist, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where he is co-director of the program in psilocybin for terminally ill cancer patients. Contributor Fantastic Fungi.

Daniel McQueen, MA

Daniel McQueen, MA, Psychedelic therapist and executive director of Medicinal Mindfulness.  Author of Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy for Trauma Resolution.

James W. Hopper, Ph.D.

James W. Hopper, Ph.D., Independent consultant and instructor in psychology, Cambridge Health Alliance & Harvard Medical School. Co-editor, Mindfulness-oriented interventions for trauma: Integrating contemplative practices. The MDMA Team, Trauma Research Foundation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: James Hopper is a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School; and at Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a sub-investigator and therapist at The Trauma Research Corporation. Dr. Hopper will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: James Hopper is a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is on the advisory board for Callisto.

 

Anne St. Goar, MD

Anne St. Goar, MD, Primary care physician at HVMA, emeritus certified psychedelic therapist; Boston MDMA Therapy team member with the Trauma Research Foundation.

Elizabeth Call, Psy.D.

Elizabeth Call, Psy.D., Psychologist in private practice. Therapy team member, MDMA study, the Trauma Research Foundation.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Elizabeth Call maintains a private practice. She receives a consulting fee from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Dr. Call receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Elizabeth Call has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW

Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW, Private practice, Cambridge, MA; MDMA Therapy team member, The Trauma Research Foundation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Francis Guerriero maintains a private practice. He will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Francis Guerriero has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

 

Michael Alpert, MD

Michael D. Alpert, MD, Psychiatrist, South Cove Community Health Center, Boston Harvard Medical School; MDMA Therapy team member, the Trauma Research Foundation.



Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Michael Alpert is a clinical faculty member of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-Harvard Medical School. He is an attending psychiatrist at South Cove Community Health Center. Dr. Alpert is a therapist with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. He is a mental health consultant for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, LLP. He will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Michael Alpert has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
Phil Wolfson, MD

Phil Wolfson, MD, is Principal Investigator for a Phase 2, FDA approved 18-person study of MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy for individuals with significant anxiety due to life threatening illnesses. His clinical practice with ketamine has informed his leadership role in the development of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. Phil’s book The Ketamine Papers has been published by MAPS and is the seminal work in the burgeoning ketamine arena. Phil is a sixties activist, psychiatrist/psychotherapist, writer, practicing Buddhist and psychonaut who has lived in the Bay Area for 38 years. He is the author of Noe – A Father/Son Song of Love, Life, Illness and Death (2011, North Atlantic Books). In the 1980s, he participated in clinical research with MDMA (Ecstasy). He has been awarded five patents for unique herbal medicines. He is a journalist and author of numerous articles on politics, transformation, psychedelics, consciousness and spirit, and was a founding member of the Heffter Research Institute. Phil has taught in the graduate psychology programs at JFK University, CIIS and the UCSF School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

 

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Philip Wolfson is the founder and CEO of The Ketamine Research Foundation. He has an ownership interest in Progressive Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Wolfson will address off-label uses.
Non-financial: Philip Wolfson has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

 


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