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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

MDMA, Couples, How & Why

The psychotherapeutic benefits of MDMA have been documented by researchers for decades, now. Current research and clinical trials being done by MAPS using MDMA as an adjunct to psychotherapy are well-known. MDMA increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin as well as oxytocin (the "love hormone") and prolactin (which can help promote feelings of closeness) while decreasing cortisol levels (which contribute to stress). The positive effects on mood can last up to three days after using MDMA.


When the system is flooded with high levels of serotonin and oxytocin, individuals can experience reduced anxiety and an increased sense of safety in themselves and with their partner. The effects of MDMA can help partners feel more connected, thus more inclined to open up to one another. New communication awareness can emerge as partners feel more confident about their own experience and also feel safer revealing their inner life in interactions with each other. It facilitates a reduction in fear and defensiveness between partners.

MDMA-assisted couples therapy is a way to treat couples where one or both are suffering from trauma and anxiety. This form of therapy allows people to talk through their concerns and feelings in a safe and caring environment, which can be difficult when people are easily activated or triggered by the everyday unconsciousness that is common in relationships.


MDMA-assisted couples therapy supports partners to approach their own personal fears and as a result, enables them to become more empathetic towards one another. Feeling less anxious while discussing their problems allows partners to communicate more openly with each other, and it can enhance physical intimacy, as well.

MDMA stimulates the release of oxytocin and endorphins, which are hormones that support people to feel more connected to others. Oxytocin is the hormone that drives the urge for bonding between mothers and infants. MDMA opens up the possibility of warm, empathic interactions for couples. This can lead to easy, natural sensuality and a desire to express affection and appreciation both verbally and physically. A deeper connection is felt, overall.


The long term benefits of MDMA assisted couples therapy are often overlooked. My clients who participate in MDMA-assisted therapy show significant improvements in their relationships, including increased capacity for patience and curiosity, a sense of pause before launching into old patterns of escalating antagonism, and an overall developing maturity in their communication when problems arise.


Of course, MDMA this is not an appropriate or necessary approach for all couples. There are some who don't feel comfortable with the idea of being in an altered state. Others may feel it could be too extreme. If there are any medical conditions or health concerns, consulting a physician before taking this path may be advised.


When it is determined that MDMA-assisted therapy is in line with your intention and life-direction, there are a few things to keep in mind: While general research in the field suggests that a very large percentage of those who try this method find it beneficial - there is no guarantee that it will provide measurable benefits for everyone. Each person/couple should do their own research on MDMA and its effects before deciding whether or not this type of therapeutic support is in alignment with your goals and intentions for yourself first, and then for your relationship.



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