Alternative Title

Mystical experiences and lasting symptom improvement from MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Post-traumatic stress disorder-Alternative treatment, Hallucinogenic drugs-Therapeutic use, Ecstasy (Drug)-Therapeutic use, Psychotherapy, Pharmacology, 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, Posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Psychedelic drugs, Mental health, Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, Mystical experience, Treatment resistance, Pharmacotherapy


Before the Controlled Substance Act of 1985 categorized psychedelic substances as criminalized schedule I drugs, psychiatrists used ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as a catalyst to psychotherapy. Over two decades later, this project seeks to contribute to the renaissance of psychedelic research. Specifically, this study focuses on participants’ experience of treatment in the recent FDA approved Phase 2 clinical study, “A Randomized, Triple-Blind Phase 2 Pilot Study Comparing 3 Different Doses of MDMA in conjunction with manualized psychotherapy in 24 Veterans, Firefighters, and Police Officers with Chronic, Treatment-resistant PTSD.” The current study presents results from correlation analyses of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30) with PTSD symptom improvement to determine whether outcomes are related to mystical experiences.

Mystical experiences are often described by people under the influence of psychedelics; however, that experience with MDMA is not correlated with long-term positive symptom change as reported by participants during long-term follow-up (LTFU) interviews and Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) scores.




95 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-68)

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