Relational and Growth Outcomes Following Couples Therapy With MDMA for PTSD

This open-label study (n=12, 6 couples) examines the secondary outcomes (up to 6 months later) of Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy (CBCT) where one partner was suffering from PTSD. There were improvements for both partners on post-traumatic growth, relational support, social intimacy, empathic concern, and less conflict.


“Healing from trauma occurs in a relational context, and the impacts of traumatic experiences that result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) go beyond the diagnosis itself. To fully understand a treatment for PTSD, understanding its impact on interpersonal, relational, and growth outcomes yields a more fulsome picture of the effects of the treatment. The current paper examines these secondary outcomes of a pilot trial of Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy (CBCT) for PTSD with MDMA. Six romantic dyads, where one partner had PTSD, undertook a course of treatment combining CBCT for PTSD with two MDMA psychotherapy sessions. Outcomes were assessed at mid-treatment, post-treatment, and 3- and 6-month follow-up. Both partners reported improvements in post-traumatic growth, relational support, and social intimacy. Partners reported reduced behavioral accommodation and conflict in the relationship, and patients with PTSD reported improved psychosocial functioning and empathic concern. These improvements were maintained throughout the follow-up period. These findings suggest that CBCT for PTSD with MDMA has significant effect on relational and growth outcomes in this pilot sample. Improvements in these domains is central to a holistic recovery from traumatic experiences, and lends support to the utility of treating PTSD dyadically.”

Authors: Anne C. Wagner, Rachel E. Liebman, Ann T. Mithoefer, Michael C. Mithoefer & Candice M. Monson


This paper investigated secondary measures from Monson and colleagues (2020).

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Relational and Growth Outcomes Following Couples Therapy With MDMA for PTSD

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Published in
Frontiers in Psychiatry
June 28, 2021
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Open-Label Follow-up



Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Anne Wagner
Anne Wagner is the Founder of Remedy, a clinical psychologist and treatment development researcher based in Toronto.

Michael Mithoefer
Michael Mithoefer is a psychiatrist and a Clinical Investigator and acting Medical Director of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation.

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MDMA-facilitated cognitive-behavioural conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: an uncontrolled trial
This open-label study (n=12, 6 couples) describes the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of MDMA in combination with cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy (CBCT) where one half of the couple was battling with PTSD.

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