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Monday, October 21st 2019

Psychotherapy at a Crossroads: The Promise of Psychedelics and Plant Medicines

Gabor Maté, MD, and Michael Mithoefer, MD
presented by Leading Edge Seminars

St Lawrence Centre for the Arts (Jane Mallett Theatre)

What might psychotherapy and other approaches to help people who have experienced trauma look like in the future? And what can we learn today? There is and will continue to be an explosion of interest in the potential of plant and psychedelic medicines in helping people heal. Some researchers project that, by 2025, these will be considered the most effective trauma treatments.

Psychedelic medicines have been increasingly researched and popularized in the industrialized world. Plant medicines have been used for hundreds or thousands of years in some traditional non-Western cultures.

This one-day program brings together two of the leaders in this field: Gabor Maté, renowned for his pioneering perspective on trauma, addictions and chronic illnesses, as well as his explorations of ayahuasca plant use in therapy, and Michael Mithoefer, a leading expert on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.

In the morning, Dr. Maté will present a summary of psychedelic approaches to healing in traditional medicines from around the world. These approaches have been shown to frequently yield transformative experiences, particularly when working with chronic conditions of both the mind and body that stymie more conventional, Western medical treatments.

In the afternoon, psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Michael Mithoefer will present. Along with the quantitative results indicating significant improvements in PTSD symptoms and other measurable changes as a result of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, he will present short video clips to illustrate how MDMA in therapy can go beyond PTSD symptom reduction to include positive effects on relationships, occupational and social functioning and personal growth. There will also be an update on the latest research findings and the growing international interest in the potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

You Will Learn:

• Traditional uses of plant and psychedelic medicines and the growing interest in the potential of ayahuasca for healing deep trauma
• How psychedelic treatments can be used to work with treatment-resistant chronic conditions
• The history of using MDMA as a catalyst for psychotherapy
• Therapeutic approaches to using MDMA
• Design and results of recent and ongoing clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD
• Various perspectives about the therapeutic mechanism of MDMA

About the Presenters:

Gabor Maté is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada.

Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist in Charleston, SC, who for many years has specialized in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy, and is now focusing primarily on MDMA clinical research. He will present an overview of the clinical research using MDMA as a catalyst for psychotherapy. A brief discussion of the history and the pharmacology of MDMA will be followed by research findings of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. You will learn about the approach and nature of the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions as well as various perspectives on the therapeutic mechanism of this kind of treatment.


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