MDMA Therapy Training Program: November 2018 Update

MAPS recently received a grant from Open Society Foundation (OSF) to support an MDMA Therapy Training program for Therapists of Color, led by Marcela Ot’alora, LPC, and Monnica Williams, Ph.D., in the second half of 2019. The purpose of this training is to ensure that MDMA therapy will be available to communities of color by training therapy providers of color in this modality, to expand thinking about PTSD to include racial trauma, and to inform the ongoing development of culturally-informed curriculum within the MDMA Therapy Training Program. In addition to the training’s focus on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, community leaders will join trainees for a closing workshop entitled Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma, to engage in dialogue about the social, political, cultural and historical causes of trauma, as well as to discuss barriers to acceptance of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in communities of color while envisioning ways forward. MAPS will continue to fundraise for this specific event, and to provide training opportunities for therapy providers who come from or work with marginalized communities. More information on this event, including date, time and application information will be posted online in the coming weeks.

Currently, the MDMA Therapy Training Program is preparing for the launch of a series of Expanded Access training events in the U.S. next year. In the coming weeks, MAPS will apply for a special U.S. FDA program called Expanded Access (EA), which allows the use of an investigational treatment outside of a clinical trial. The program’s purpose is to grant access to potentially beneficial investigational treatments for individuals or populations facing a serious or immediately life-threatening condition for which there is no satisfactory treatment currently available. You can learn more about Expanded Access on the FDA’s website.

If approved, Expanded Access for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD would allow additional qualified sites in the US to provide this treatment to eligible patients under a MAPS treatment protocol. The basic requirements of a qualified site are: 1) facility conducive to this treatment, 2) qualified and trained therapy team, 3) Medical Doctor who can obtain a DEA Schedule 1 license for MDMA. Sites must also gain Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approval to manage, store, and administer MDMA, a controlled substance. As MAPS gets closer to application, the requirements will be further clarified.

Since Expanded Access is a U.S. FDA program, only sites in the U.S. and U.S. territories may participate. International programs may become available in the future. As one example, the MDMA Therapy Training Program will host a training event in Israel in January, as a collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Health, to prepare Israeli therapists to work on an Open Access protocol.

An online application for sites in the U.S. and U.S. territories that are interested in the MDMA/PTSD Expanded Access protocol will be published late 2018 at The tuition fee for the training program is still being determined. An additional application for each therapy provider affiliated with the site will also be posted; only applicants affiliated with a qualifying site can be considered for the Expanded Access training. The MPBC Training and Supervision Department will review applications on an ongoing basis; in 2019 approximately seven cohorts of 50-60 trainees will be enrolled. The training department is developing a platform for therapists and sites to connect online in the interest of establishing clinics for Expanded Access. If you would like to receive updates about the MDMA Therapy Training Program and Expanded Access plans, as well as learn about upcoming requirements for Expanded Access sites and providers, please sign up online for our training newsletter and stay tuned for website updates and application material in the new year. •Learn more…