In early December, the first network meeting for European MDMA researchers and therapists was held in scenic Castle Endegeest, near the city of Leiden in the Netherlands.
The meeting was organised by OPEN and the Dutch therapist team responsible for conducting the first Dutch open-label study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people suffering from severe PTSD. MAPS provided additional support for this event.
The group consisted of psychologists and psychiatrists from seven countries: Wales, England, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel and Canada besides the Dutch. This was a small and intimate meeting, with the primary aim to build a network of like-minded European MDMA-therapists. Saturday was a day full of lectures, sharing of research plans and objectives, and discussions on therapeutic modalities. Rick Doblin, executive director of MAPS called in from the American West Coast to share what the future holds in terms of clinical trials and regulatory processes, providing an inspirational message of support. The day ended with a screening of the Israeli documentary Trip of Compassion, on the Israeli phase 2 clinical trials for MDMA-assisted treatment for PTSD. One of the therapists involved in the study was present to provide context, to explain what was happening during the session from the therapist’s perspective, and to answer questions from the audience. This powerful document was the highlight of the day for most people.
On the last day, participants were able to undergo a one hour music therapy session, facilitated by a leading specialist, which turned out to be a meaningful and insightful experience for most people. The session provided not only personal insights but also gave the participants specific ideas on the role of music and specific sounds and songs. An impressive testament to the power of music in the right setting.
Finally, the first draft to establish a platform to help coordinate and facilitate MDMA-related research and therapy was well received by participants and will be expanded and presented in the near future.