MAPS is organizing a working conference in Switzerland in early December to discuss the difficult methodological issues in psychedelic psychotherapy research. The meeting will be held in Bern, where the psychedelic psychotherapy in-patient treatment center was established by Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Jorg Roth. Invitations are being extended to the Swiss psychiatrists who worked with psychedelics, to Dr. Dytrych and associates from Czechoslovakia, to Dr. Lester Grinspoon from Harvard Medical School, to Dr. George and Una Ricaurte from Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Charlie Grob from U. of C. Irvine. Psychiatrists from the USSR and from Germany will also be invited.
The purpose of the conference is twofold. The Swiss will share the results of their therapeutic use of psychedelics over the last several years with psychiatrists from several countries. Building on the Swiss reports, the entire group will try to design one or several research protocols which would generate valuable scientific data about both risks and benefits, while interfering as little as possible with the therapeutic treatment of lhe subjects.
The opportunities for MDMA research in Czechoslovakia, the strong possibility that the Swiss research will eventually be resumed, and the continual clarification of the risk of neurotoxicity, all suggest that legal permission for MDMA research will eventually be granted in one or several countries. The lack of a satisfactory research protocol which adequately addresses and resolves the scientific challenges inherent in conducting research into the psychothempeutic potential of psychedelically-assisted psychotherapy remains a major factor inhibiting research.