Keep Talking Podcast with Bruce Poulter: MDMA for PTSD

Summary: MAPS-sponsored researcher Bruce Poulter, M.P.H., joins the Keep Talking Podcast to discuss his interest in MDMA-assisted therapy, a patient’s experience of receiving such therapy, and MAPS’ ongoing efforts to potentially achieve FDA approval of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD in the near future.

Originally appearing here.

Listen to the podcast.

“You know what’s best for you, you have innate wisdom in you, that knows what you need when you need it, and how you need to go about doing that. And we are here as witnesses, and we are here to help you when you get stuck.”

Episode 12 of Keep Talking features MDMA therapist, trainer, and clinical supervisor Bruce Poulter. During the conversation, Bruce talks about his interest in MDMA as a therapy, his years as a practitioner, the experience of such therapy for patients, its efficacy in helping people work through trauma, and the MAPS clinical trials that aim to legalize MDMA therapy in the U.S. by 2023.

Through this conversation, Dan and Bruce attempt to introduce MDMA as a substance, therapeutic, and potential source of hope for the chronically suffering. It is recommended that you visit MAPS’s website for more information.

About Bruce Poulter (quotes from Bruce’s LinkedIn):

“Bruce Poulter is a Facilitator and researcher for Phase II/III and Healthy Volunteers clinical drug trials studying the efficacy and safety of MDMA – Assisted psychotherapy for people with chronic treatment-resistant PTSD. In addition, Bruce provides Clinical Supervision and Training for Phase III and Expanded Access therapists.”

Time Stamps:

(01:04) Bruce explains where his interest in MDMA stemmed from
(05:16) What does it mean to have PTSD?
(08:05) Symptoms of PTSD and the clinician-administered PTSD scale
(13:01) What is it that makes the life of an individual with PTSD difficult? What are the triggers they experience?
(14:57) Bruce explains how they identify someone with PTSD
(17:40) Why is PTSD said to be a defense mechanism for what has happened to people?
(21:33) Bruce’s dedication towards helping people with this medicine in a therapy setting
(29:55) Bruce explains his wife’s battle with PTSD, and what he noticed in her personality, disposition, and mentality as a result of her going through MDMA therapeutic sittings
(36:20) What is MDMA? How does it function?
(39:08) The dosage amount, duration, setting, and other parameters that decide the usage of MDMA for PTSD
(43:54) An outline of an MDMA treatment session
(01:02:40) What does a person experience during the 8-hour period of treatment?
(01:07:46) Different phases of the MDMA drug trial
(01:14:17) MDMA is not for everyone – Bruce explains why coercing should not be an option
(01:24:33) What is the future of MDMA?
(01:31:56) How is MAPS getting involved in the conversation concerning PTSD treatment?
(01:38:57) Misconceptions, facts, and anecdotes that could benefit those listening


“The symptoms of PTSD, the intensity, the frequency, the duration of those symptoms diminished to where you can actually engage in the world as a whole different world.”

“I completely understand why somebody would want to die. I can understand the suffering: none of us can actually understand the suffering that many of us are going through at any point in time. ”

“You know what’s best for you, you have innate wisdom in you, that knows what you need when you need it, and how you need to go about doing that. And we are here as witnesses, and we are here to help you when you get stuck.”

“A feeling comes up, it’s your feeling. It doesn’t cause you to experience anything that actually is different from you.”

“For those of you who are skeptical, trust your skepticism. That’s completely valid. And explore it, go deeper into it.”

“Look for people who have the experience where it [MDMA] has actually changed their lives, because that personal relationship is so important in terms of helping to inform us.”

“The solution to PTSD is actually at a cultural level, we need to change our behavior. But [it’s] one very promising way to approach something that is endemic in our society.”

“If we go back to that place where you’re…suffering, you want to take your own life…there’s actually a possible solution. That’s MDMA.”

Relevant Links:

Organizations mentioned:

MAPS (MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy)
People mentioned (quotes from Wikipedia):

Rick Doblin – “A(n) American drug activist and executive who is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)”