At this time MDMA is illegal in Canada and we do not provide any clinical services or advice related to MDMA-Assisted Therapy

A Breakthrough

Darek Dawda
• July 3, 2020

Occasionally something big happens in the area of mental health and well-being, something that might alleviate suffering more than any previously know treatments. Today, there are strong signs to suggest that we might be on the verge of such a significant breakthrough.

MDMA Molecule Diagram

In 2017 FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) granted MDMA-Assisted Therapy for trauma Breakthrough Status*, which meant that this treatment showed a potential to be superior to any other currently available methods for treating trauma. This was a very rare designation and great news, which was then followed by a series of scientific multisite international studies on the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for trauma. This research was led by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS.org).

The preliminary results from these studies are very promising. For example, in one study, after a 12-session trauma therapy (which included 3 MDMA dosing sessions), half of the participants no longer qualified for PTSD diagnosis. Even more profoundly, one year later, two thirds of participants had no PTSD. These results are preliminary, but if they hold up, results of this magnitude are unprecedented in comparison with any other known therapies to date. This is especially promising because we are talking about a fairly brief form of therapy with as few as three dosing sessions. “In the pharmaceutical drug development community, this is what you dream about,” says Rick Doblin, MAPS Founder and Executive Director. 

Why is MDMA-Assisted Therapy for trauma so effective in producing lasting improvements is yet to be determined. Some current hypothesis include a strong fear reduction mechanism during a dosing session that allows access to traumatic memories without the usual fear response that prompts trauma victims to avoid these memories at any cost. Emotional avoidance makes trauma victims vulnerable to repeated experience of re-traumatization, both by their stressful memories and by new stressful situations. MDMA is also known to release Oxytocin (the bonding hormone), which can restore the sense of connectedness with others and the world that is often lost for trauma victims who frequently feel alienated. Importantly, Oxytocin also helps permanently rewire the brain. There is evidence that MDMA experience creates new lasting neural connections (Nardou et al, Nature 2019). Now, with traumatic memories being less distressing and with a better sense of belonging in the world and with others, trauma victims can now experience themselves as whole integrated human beings. 

We have founded Enhanced Therapy Institute in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic in Winnipeg, the heart of North America. Our mission is to support the global effort towards medical legalization of ethical, safe, and effective MDMA-Assisted Therapy and prepare for future service delivery. Aside from trauma treatment, the focus of our institute is on healing relationships, as new studies also show very promising signs that MDMA can also be a very effective therapy for relationships. More about this in our future posts.

One of our primary goals is to support rigorous scientific research on MDMA-Assisted Therapy for relationships. Research is crucial to expedite the FDA and Health Canada approvals to use MDMA in the relationship healing context. At present, the world leading researcher in this area is a Toronto psychologist Dr. Anne Wagner, who is currently setting up the largest to date study on MDMA-Assisted Therapy for couples. How quickly this study happens will depend on the funding Dr. Wagner gathers. We have donated to this study, and we encourage you to do the same. Click the donation link on our website and donate to support this potentially ground-breaking research study. All donations go directly to Dr. Wagner’s study, with a charitable receipt issued by MAPS Canada.


* “Breakthrough Therapy designation is a process designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy on a clinically significant endpoint(s).” FDA

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Enhanced Therapy Newsletter

Updates on Enhanced Therapy research, legalization, general information, and trivia

Donate to Dr. Anne Wagner's study

We have donated to support Dr. Anne Wagner’s upcoming study, and we encourage you to do the same. Dr. Wagner is a Canadian psychologist who is currently starting world’s largest to date study aimed at future legalization of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Relationships. Donating to support this study is the most direct way you can advance the future legalization of Enhanced Therapy for Relationships. Your donation is tax deductible and all funds go directly (via MAPS Canada) to Dr. Anne Wagner’s study.

Donating is a direct way to influence change. 

Julie Holland

M.D.

Dr. Julie Holland is a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist, and author of the New York Times bestseller “Moody Bitches” and “Weekends at Bellevue”. She is the editor of two non-profit books: “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide” and “The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis”. While now a medical advisor to MAPS, she was a medical monitor for several clinical studies examining the efficacy of using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy or cannabis in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her newest book is “Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, From Soul to Psychedelics”.

Mark Haden

Ph.D.

• Adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia School of Public and Population Health.
• Executive Director of MAPS Canada (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).
• Has published on the issue of drug control policy and psychedelics in the following Journals:

  • Canadian Journal of Public Health
  • International Journal of Drug Policy
  • Encyclopaedia of Public Health
  • Harm Reduction Journal
  • Open Medicine
  • Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
  • Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

• Teaches in the UBC school of medicine (Population and Public Health)
• Obtained an MSW from UBC
• Worked for the Addiction Services for 28 years in counselling and supervisory roles.
• Has provided public education on drugs and drug policy for over 30 years.
• Works with the Health Officers Council of British Columbia on their position papers on the issue of a regulated market for all currently illegal drugs.
• Has presented in conferences and training events in many countries
• Awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for drug policy reform work in 2013.

We have donated to support Dr. Anne Wagner’s upcoming study, and we encourage you to do the same. Dr. Wagner is a Canadian psychologist who is currently starting world’s largest to date study aimed at future legalization of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Relationships. Donating to support this study is the most direct way you can advance the future legalization of Enhanced Therapy for Relationships. Your donation is tax deductible and all funds go directly (via MAPS Canada) to Dr. Anne Wagner’s study. 

Donating is a direct way to influence change.

Contact Us

At this time, we do not provide services or advice related to MDMA-Assisted Therapy, and we do not respond to emails seeking advice or services. We recommend you SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter for upcoming developments. 

Neil McArthur

Ph.D.

My current teaching and research focuses on philosophy and sexuality, in particular on sexual ethics. I write regularly about sex for VICE. I also have a blog available to read: morallust.com, or you can follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/MoralLust. My research also includes the history of political philosophy, in particular the political philosophy of the British Enlightenment. My book David Hume’s Political Theory was published in 2007.

In addition to philosophy, I am also interested in film-making. My films have played at numerous festivals, including the Toronto World-Wide Short Film Festival, the DOXA Festival (Vancouver), and the Calgary International Film Festival – more information is available at landofoil.com. I have also recently performed a one-person show at both the Toronto and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals. You can read more about that here: neilmcarthur.com.

Darek Dawda

Ph.D., C.Psych.

Darek Dawda is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Winnipeg with extensive experience working with trauma and couples. He has been helping Manitobans over 15 years, using a multitude of scientifically validated treatment methods, including CBT, mindfulness, meditation, and focussing.

Darek is the founder of Enhanced Therapy Institute, an information, research, and training hub for future delivery of MDMA-Assisted Therapy. He has special interest is assuring a safe, ethical, and effective delivery of Enhanced Therapy in a medical context, and developing specialized ethical and standard of practice guidelines for Canadian psychologists. He is also invested in developing an Enhanced Relationship Therapy model, and using MDMA to heal relationships, once such treatment is scientifically validated and legalized in the medical context.

Darek believes in a world in which optimal conditions exist for all living creatures to live safe and fulfilling lives. He considers the global health of our eco-system and the growing tribal rifts to be today’s most important issues. He hopes that Enhanced Relationship Therapy will one day play a role in healing our relationship to ourselves, to each other (including our leaders), and to our natural environment

Zach Walsh

Ph.D.

Zach Walsh is a clinical psychologist, a Research Affiliate with the BC Centre on Substance Use, and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the Therapeutic, Recreational, and Problematic Substance Use lab.  He has published and presented widely on topics related to psychedelics, cannabis, mental health and psychotherapy.  He is an investigator on several clinical trials of psychedelics and cannabis, including the MAPS sponsored study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, and upcoming trials of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for problematic substance use. Zach’s clinical focus is on the application of “third wave” mindfulness-based behavior therapies to address trauma, relationship conflict, and problematic substance use. 

Jazmin Pirozek

M.Sc.

Jazmin is of Kinosao Sipi, Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba and lives in Kenora, Ontario. She is a student of Maestro Juan Flores, a Plant Medicine Teacher of the Peruvian Amazon. Jazmin has received her Master’s degree in Biology, focussing on Boreal Forest Ethnobotany, as well, she is a graduate of Boreal Forest Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology. Jazmin has travelled across Canada to share her knowledge, as well as to the United Kingdom to present at Breaking Convention 2019. She assisted in writing Science North’s Planetarium film “Under the Same Stars: Minwaadiziwin,” including narration and singing for the piece. Jazmin shares her knowledge of Boreal forest medicines, continually working with Indigenous people of Northern Ontario. Currently, Jazmin works as a consultant with a Tribal council and a Community Organization teaching knowledge that promotes well-being, healing and self-knowing. The construction of her Healing Centre, located on Lake of the Woods, begins in 2021.

Erika Dyck

Ph.D.

Erika Dyck is a Professor and a Canada Research Chair in the History of Health & Social Justice. She is the author or co-author of several books, including: Psychedelic Psychiatry (2008); Facing Eugenics (2013); Managing Madness (2017); and Challenging Choices (2020). Erika is the co-editor of the Canadian Bulletin for Medical History/Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la medicine and the co-editor of a book series on the global history of alcohol and drugs, called Intoxicating Histories.

Ken Tupper

Ph.D.

Kenneth Tupper is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and Adjunct Professor in the School of Child & Youth Care at the University of Victoria. His doctoral research developed the concept of “entheogenic education,” a theoretical frame for understanding how psychedelic plants and substances can function as cognitive tools for learning. Kenneth’s current research interests include: psychedelic studies; the cross-cultural and historical uses of drugs; public, professional and school-based drug education; and creating healthy public policy to maximize benefits and minimize harms from psychoactive substances. He has published in numerous peer reviewed academic journals, presented at international health and drug policy conferences, and has twice been appointed to Canadian delegations to high-level United Nations international drug policy.

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Bruce Sanguin

RMFT

Bruce Sanguin is a psychotherapist living on Denman Island, B.C. After 30 years as an ordained minister he took early retirement and began an intensive period of personal healing with the use of psychedelics. He is the author of seven books, the latest of which Dismantled: How Psychedelics Broke and Clergyman Apart and Put Him Back Together describes his healing journey with various medicines. Bruce is a Clinical Fellow of the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. 

 

Rick Doblin

Ph.D.

Rick Doblin, Ph.D. is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife, dog, and empty rooms from three children, one of whom is in college and two have graduated.

Anne Wagner

Ph.D., C.Psych.

Dr. Anne Wagner is a clinical psychologist and researcher who is committed to helping understand and improve trauma recovery. She is the founder of Remedy, a mental health innovation community. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She is the Past-Chair of the Traumatic Stress Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, and sits on the Quality Committee of Casey House (Toronto’s HIV/AIDS Hospital). Anne has presented and published extensively in the use of trauma-informed care, trauma treatment, stigma and interpersonal factors. Anne has a particular focus on innovating mental health interventions, for example by using different treatment formats (e.g., with couples), and facilitators of treatment (e.g., MDMA). Anne, alongside Dr. Michael Mithoefer, Annie Mithoefer, BSN, and Dr. Candice Monson, was one of the investigators of the MAPS funded pilot study of Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD + MDMA. Anne is the lead investigator for the upcoming MAPS funded pilot study of Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD + MDMA.

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