Therapy Training Event for Communities of Color

MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color and Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma Community Workshop: 8-Day Conference

MAPS Part B Therapy Training

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has received funding from Open Society Foundation (OSF), Libra Foundation, Riverstyx Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s and many private donors to support an MDMA Therapy Training event for Communities of Color from August 10-17, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The purpose of this training is to ensure that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy will be available to communities of color by training therapy providers of color in this modality, to expand thinking about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to include racial trauma, and to inform the ongoing development of culturally-informed curriculum within the MDMA Therapy Training Program.

The events of this training week are focused on developing relevant and accessible treatment for communities of color. Therapists and other providers from and serving communities of color will be prioritized in the registration of this event. This event will be led by Lead MDMA Therapy Trainer and Clinical Investigator Marcela Ot’alora, M.A., L.P.C., Lead Culturally-Informed Therapy Trainer and Clinical Psychologist Monnica Williams, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., and many excellent guest presenters and expert trainers.

On August 10 and August 11, community leaders will join trainees for Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma, a workshop 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. This community workshop is open to therapy providers, medical doctors, community organizers, clergy, policy makers, patient advocates, and others working to heal cultural trauma in a variety of settings. Workshop registration is included for trainees enrolled in the August 11-17 therapy training program. Registered trainees are encouraged to attend the Community Workshop to address the political and social factors contributing to trauma. More information can be found on the workshop webpage.

The 6-day MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color takes place August 11 -17. The events of this training week are focused on developing relevant and accessible treatment for communities of color. Therapists and other providers from and serving communities of color and other marginalized communities will be prioritized in the registration of this event. The 6-day therapy training event is for eligible trainees enrolled in the MDMA Therapy Training Program, satisfying Part B of the program.

The MDMA Therapy Training Program is committed to providing ongoing training opportunities for therapy providers who come from or work with marginalized communities. If you would like to support MDMA Therapy Training opportunities for people of color, please donate to this effort. Your donation is tax deductible and will help to build equity and inclusion for this important new healing modality.

How To Become an MDMA Therapy Practitioner

Completion of the MDMA Therapy Training Program is a pre-requisite to delivering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a MAPS protocol. The current training program outline includes five critical parts, described below:

  • Part A: Online Course– Online course outlines chemistry and history of MDMA, common reactions, possible mechanisms of action, and study design. The online course was developed with content from the Treatment Manual, study protocols, and scientific literature on this subject.
  • Part B: Training Retreat (7 days) – Therapy video review and live dialogue with Senior MDMA-Assisted Therapy Researchers, covers topics in the Treatment Manual. Trainees are taught how to conduct study sessions, provide non-directive therapy, and adhere to treatment protocol.
  • Part C: Experiential Learning (3+ days) – MAPS PBC is developing a protocol that would provide trainees with the opportunity to shadow alongside a senior MDMA therapist during an MDMA therapy session, in the spirit of apprenticeship. Additionally, the protocol would provide an opportunity for trainees to receive MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, if they choose to volunteer and are eligible. The experiential opportunity in psychedelic therapy training has proven invaluable according to previous trainees. 
  • Part D: Practice Session (1 day)- Therapy Teams from a given site gather to conduct role play didactic training. Roleplay scenarios are provided, and each trainee gets a chance to play the role of provider, participant, and observer. The roleplays will be video and audio recorded so that recording may be reviewed by a Supervisor. Total time: approximately 6 hours.
  • Part E: Supervision and Evaluation,  – Trainees receive in-depth video review and clinical supervision during the treatment of their first participant receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Supervision is provided by Senior MDMA-Assisted Therapy Researchers. Timely feedback is given to trainees to maximize learning and enhance the quality of treatment. All therapy sessions for that participant must be audio and video recorded so that recordings may be viewed by a Supervisor. Supervisors evaluate trainees based on adherence criteria, observation of therapy videos, and participation in training modules. A final evaluation is provided in the form of a narrative summary from the Supervisor. Trainees who have satisfied all the training requirements will be granted a certificate of completion.

MAPS PBC Therapy Provider Connect Portal

The MAPS PBC Therapy Provider Connect Portal is a community discussion forum for therapy providers, physicians and facilities to connect with one another to develop a site or treatment staff, in order to become eligible to participate in an MDMA/PTSD Expanded Access protocol, pending FDA permission. If you are looking for treatment staff, a physician, or a treatment facility, we hope that this platform will support you.

MAPS PBC Therapy Provider Connect Portal Link
Site Questionnaire Link
MDMA Therapy Training Application for Providers Link

How to Apply

There are two layers of application: 1) Site Questionnaire, and 2) MDMA Therapy Training Application for Therapy Providers. Each site must submit one Site Questionnaire. Additionally, each therapy provider must submit an MDMA Therapy Training Application for Therapy Providers. Only applicants affiliated with a qualifying site can be considered for training at this time. MAPS PBC will review applications on an ongoing basis as applications are received.

Each application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. You can save and return to work on your application at your convenience by creating a free Formsite account (instructions are provided on first page of each application). Once you have completed the application, the final page will prompt you to confirm and submit.

Site Questionnaire Link
MDMA Therapy Training Application for Providers Link


Thanks to the generous support and funding from Open Society Foundation (OSF), Libra Foundation, Riverstyx Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative (PSFC), and other private donors, we are excited to be able to offer partial scholarships for the MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color, taking place August 11-17, 2019. The sponsorship of our collaborators allows us to offer scholarship via tiered tuition pricing. Tuition for the MDMA Therapy Training Program is $7,500; two payments of $3,750, plus supervision fees. Tiered options for Tuition Payments #1 and #2 are set at $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,500, and $3,750. A limited number of partial scholarships are available at each tier. Additionally, grant funding from OSF will support full scholarship for eight clinicians to complete the MDMA Therapy Training Program, as well as four community organizers to participate in the Community Workshop.OSF scholarship decisions will be made over the coming month.

Additionally, these important events are partially sponsored by OSF with a $70,000 grant to support eight therapy providers to participate in the 6-day training retreat, and four community organizers to participate in the 1.5-day community workshop immediately preceding the therapy training. Funding includes full tuition scholarship for eight therapy providers (or four co-therapy pairs) to attend the MDMA Therapy Training Program, including Parts A, B, C, D, and E, as well as a $500 stipend for travel for each Part B and Part C training.

Eligible candidates for OSF sponsorship will have at least two therapy providers working together in a treatment facility serving communities of color who are qualified to work on a MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD protocol. Additionally, an affiliated community organizer working with the facility, or in the community of the facility, will be considered for funding to attend the 1.5-day Community Workshop on Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma, including meals, lodging, travel, and attendance. The scholarship application deadline is June 19, 2019. Applicants will be contacted directly with further instructions. Please send questions via email to

About Our Expert Lead Trainers:

Marcela Ot’alora, M.F.A., M.A., L.P.C.

MDMA-Assisted Therapy

headshot Marcela is dedicated to the treatment and research of trauma, through art and the use of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. She worked as a co-therapist in the first government-regulated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in Madrid, Spain, and is the Principal Investigator of the Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies in Boulder, Colorado. She received her M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and M.F.A. from University of Greensboro in North Carolina. She was born and raised in Colombia, South America, and now lives in Boulder, Colorado. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. She will be leading the MDMA therapy training.

Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Culturally-Informed Therapy

headshot Dr. Williams is a board-certified clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her work focuses on ethnic minority mental health and psychopathology research. She completed her undergraduate studies at MIT and UCLA and received her doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania for four years, followed by five years at the University of Louisville, where she served as Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities. Dr. Williams has published over 100 scientific articles, primarily on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma, and cultural issues.

Recommended Reading

Williams, M. T., & Leins, C. (2016). Race-based trauma: The challenge and promise of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Bulletin, 26(1), 32-37.

Ot’alora, M., Grigsby, J., Poulter, B., Van Derveer, J. W., Giron, S. G., Jerome, L.,Feduccia, A. A., Hamilton, S., Yazar-Klosinski, B., Emerson, A., Mithoefer, M. C., & Doblin, R. (2018). 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized phase 2 controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(12), 1295–1307.

Michaels, T. I., Purdon, J., Collins, A. & Williams, M. T. (2018). Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A review of the literature. BMC Psychiatry, 18(245), 1-9. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1824-6

Miller, A., Williams, M. T., Wetterneck, C. T., Kanter, J., & Tsai, M. (2015). Using functional analytic psychotherapy to improve awareness and connection in racially diverse client-therapist dyads. The Behavior Therapist, 38(6), 150-156.

Williams, M. T., Printz, D., Ching, T. & Wetterneck, C. T. (2018). Assessing PTSD in ethnic and racial minorities: Trauma and racial trauma. Directions in Psychiatry, 38(3), 179-196.