Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Series: Using MDMA to overcome Trauma, Anxiety and Depression with Jonathan Robinson | POP 989

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What do you think about psychedelic-assisted therapy? Are you nervous? How is MDMA-assisted therapy something powerful, positive, and helpful for all therapists to learn about? 

In the first podcast episode on the Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Series, Joe Sanok speaks about ecstasy as medicine, and how MDMA can help you overcome trauma, anxiety, and depression, and feel more love with Jonathan Robinson.

Podcast Sponsor: Intergrative Psychiatry Institute

An image of the podcast sponsor, The Integrative Psychiatry Institute is captured. IPI's comprehensive training and in-person experiential practicums will elevate you both personally and professionally.  This in-depth curriculum is the gold-standard certification in the field. IPI sponsors the Practice of the Practice podcast.

Imagine the impact you could have on your clients when you are able to practice the most cutting-edge modality available today. Psychedelic therapy is the future of mental healthcare, and the Integrative Psychiatry Institute will empower you with the tools and knowledge you need to master this exciting modality.

IPI’s comprehensive training and in-person experiential practicums will elevate you both personally and professionally.  This in-depth curriculum is the gold-standard certification in the field.

When you join you will step into a global community of thousands of innovative colleagues who are integrating psychedelic therapy into their practices.

Visit  where you will find all the information you need about IPI’s training.

And when you visit  you will also receive IPI’s free e-report on The Current State of Psychedelic Therapy so you can get the most up-to-date information immediately.

Meet Jonathan Robinson

A photo of Jonathan Robinson is captured. He is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of 14 books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. Jonathan is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of 14 books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. He has reached over 200 million people worldwide with his practical methods, and his work has been translated into 47 languages. Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah Show and CNN, as well as other national TV talk shows.

Jonathan’s most recent book is called, “Ecstasy as Medicine: How MDMA can help you overcome trauma, anxiety, and depression…and feel more love.” Visit Ecstacy as Medicine and Finding Happiness. Connect with Jonathan on Instagram and LinkedIn.

In this Podcast

  • What MDMA is helping people with 
  • Different psychedelic-assisted therapy tools 
  • “Isn’t MDMA a gateway drug?” 
  • What a typical MDMA therapy session could look like 
  • What therapists can do to become a guide 
  • The future of MDMA in the field
  • Jonathan’s advice to private practitioners

What MDMA is helping people with 

Most people know or associate MDMA as a dance-party drug, especially from the 1970s. However, in more recent research, studies have shown that the intentional use of MDMA in a specific setting can yield positive, life-changing results. 

MDMA has been successfully used in couples therapy, anxiety and depression treatment, and individual counseling. 

Using MDMA for all-night dancing is like using a laptop as a doorstop, you know, it will work … But [MDMA] is really incredibly effective as a therapeutic tool. (Jonathan Robinson)

Different psychedelic-assisted therapy tools 

Of course, as with any therapeutic modality, different psychedelic therapy tools will work better for different people and different purposes. There is no one-size-fits-all, as every therapist knows. 

For example: 

  • LSD has been shown to be very effective in helping people to recover from addiction 
  • Psilocybin has been shown to help people recover from depression  
  • Ketamine has also been shown to help people recover from or treat depression, as well as helping people to meditate effectively 

I do think that MDMA specifically is more useful in therapeutic contexts … I have led about 700, 800 journeys over the last 40 years and I do find that MDMA is easier to work with, more effective, and has more uses than the other drugs – although everything does have its place. (Jonathan Robinson) 

“Isn’t MDMA a gateway drug?”

People don’t bat an eye at someone taking Xanax or giving their children Adderall, but they may turn their noses up at psychedelic drugs for the fear that they could cause deeper issues down the line. 

This is a common rebuttal, however, it’s not fully sound on the research, and it is often backed by outdated fears, misconceptions, and propaganda. 

I think everything is based on how well you use it. You know, alcohol can be a nice social lubricant for some or an addictive hell for others. Every drug has its potential upsides and downsides, but when you actually do the research in terms of what helps people overcome psychological challenges, the FDA is learning that nothing has been as effective as MDMA in clinical trials. (Jonathan Robinson)

What a typical MDMA therapy session could look like 

The general system that Jonathan goes through with his clients may look like: 

  • Scheduling a one-hour Zoom call to find out what they are struggling with, what success would look like for them, and what some contra-indications could be present
  • About a week later, they schedule a second meeting on Zoom, the actual MDMA journey session, which can last up to five hours

I schedule up to five hours, and it’s not that unlike a five hour therapy session, just much deeper, quicker, and more effective. I go into some childhood stuff, we often can neutralize some traumatic memories … The medicine almost seems to have an intelligence on its own that brings up stuff that needs to be worked on. (Jonathan Robinson) 

  • Another week later, there is a one-hour Zoom session to integrate the insights and behavioral changes that people want to make in their daily lives from the MDMA journey session  

What therapists can do to become a guide 

Of course, your therapeutic training is vital in this type of work, however, it does help to have some familiarity with MDMA yourself, or altered states of any kind.

I think the biggest thing that helps is, you know, being curious about somebody else’s mind and patterns. That goes a long way. (Jonathan Robinson) 

Being curious and proactive in trying to see the patterns that a person exhibits is surely a large part of being a therapist, and it is also helpful to someone wanting to be a guide. 

Additionally, bringing certain therapeutic techniques into the sessions can be very helpful to a new guide, such as long exposure training. 

The future of MDMA in the field 

Since so much research has been coming out on the benefits of the controlled and therapeutic use of MDMA, the FDA is going to have to start making some adjustments.

Additionally, the underground movement is continually growing – as some of Jonathan’s colleagues are already booked months, if not years, in advance. 

Jonathan says that there may be MDMA clinics in the future that people can go to for MDMA-assisted therapy, but that they will be expensive since it would be a new service, and that insurance would pay for some of it, but that it could take a couple of years. 

Jonathan’s advice to private practitioners 

MDMA-assisted therapy is a breakthrough technology that, when properly used with the right intention and methodology, can accelerate all kinds of psychotherapeutic breakthroughs. If you are interested, check it out!

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Books mentioned in this episode:

Jonathan Robinson – Ecstasy As Medicine: How MDMA Therapy Can Help You Overcome Trauma, Anxiety and Depression…and Feel More Love

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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