Document Type


Publication Date



3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a chemical compound that produces prosocial effects such as an increase in empathy and social bonding. Due to its profoundly prosocial effects, prior to becoming a schedule 1 drug, MDMA was used as an adjunct to individual and couple therapy, which is a practice that deserves critical reexamination and potential revitalization. MDMA has undergone clinical trials in the United States for FDA approval to treat individuals with clinical diagnoses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and autism. Current data demonstrates that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has proven successful in treating individuals possessing certain clinical diagnoses; however, there is a paucity of literature examining the therapeutic uses of MDMA with non-clinical populations as well. MDMA has been reported to be an effective aid in approaching and processing difficult topics and emotions, and for producing empathy, thus justifying the need to reexamine the usefulness of MDMA as an adjunct to couple therapy. Based on empirical and anecdotal data, it can be safely hypothesized that MDMA increases the probability of individuals broaching difficult topics with less cognitiveemotional resistance, and that it can improve the qualitative experience of receiving critique and constructive feedback— especially if one is coming from a position of deep empathy as is frequently reported by those under the influence of MDMA. Framed within an integral and transpersonal perspective, conflict transformation focused MDMA-assisted couple therapy has the potential to not only decrease interpersonal defensiveness within a therapeutic exchange, but also increase empathy-driven collaboration, fostering transformative growth for couples who wish to intentionally mold the boundaries of their relationship and build a sustainable co-created future. Modern relationships are complex and conventional therapies struggle to achieve the level of efficacy needed to improve relationship satisfaction holistically. Given current advances in the sanctioned use of psychedelic compounds for therapeutic purposes, it is an opportune time to critically revisit the benefits of MDMA in its original therapeutic application–couple therapy.