Jack is a 43-year-old man who was the scapegoat of a family of four
children, having been blamed and beaten unfairly by his father and used by
his mother to vent her frustrations - she would put him down as his father
did to her. He was brought up to think of himself as the runt of the family
and grew up without self respect, unable to look people in the eye and
convinced of his own unattractiveness.
He went into investment banking and was very successful in making money
through aggressive and sharp dealing. However, he always felt lost;
disconnected from others around him and their affection. He had sexual
relationships with men, but they were without empathy and unsatisfying. He
also went into analysis, but even after 20 years of this felt there had
been no real progress.
At the age of 43, he had become rich and respected as a dealer who would
drive tough and judicious bargains but still felt unable to look people in
the eye for fear they would see what a shit he was - he felt guilty,
unworthy, someone who deserved to be kicked around. He then attended a Grof
breathing workshop where he was profoundly moved, and saw Grof himself as
the father he had not had as a child, and he cried for two and a half
There he met an unqualified MDMA therapist or 'guide' who had been using
MDMA with clients since 1980, and when interviewed he had just completed 6
monthly sessions with him. Sessions last from 12 to 6 and the dose is 125mg
followed by 80mg 2 hours later, and he is advised to be spend the next day
by himself if possible. He first reports on anything significant since the
last session. Then he is asked about his intention for the session, and to
concentrate on a good intention and to think of the pill as a sacred
substance. After about 15 minutes, he lies down and takes the pill, then
puts on a blind and listens to music.
As the drug takes effect, he sees something approaching a night time scene
with lights and stars, while his guide will ask him to breath in the light
and other such visualisations. He feels able to speculate about anything.
His guide does not direct him so much as to ask questions to help him
develop thoughts, and will point out such things as repetitions but without
steering his direction. The guide gives him lots of comfort and holding
when appropriate, and also encourages him to express anger by hitting with
The process that seems to him to be taking place is akin to 'rewiring his
mind'. He explained that he feels that his traumatic childhood caused wires
in his mind to become wrongly connected (his analogy for neurosis) that
were now becoming untangled.
His guide originally suggested he should try 6 monthly sessions of which he
has now had 5. He charges $300 for a session lasting from 12 to 6pm, which
Jack thinks is very good value. Jack has never tried MDMA outside these
In the first sessions his intention and guided visualisation expressed a
desire to heal himself. He was shocked and amazed by how much anger came
out, which he related this to his father beating him as a child. On the
third day following early sessions he would feel depressed and this
depression turned to anger.
Over the months the anger has been got rid of leaving him calmer and space
to develop. Outside sessions Jack is better able to relate to people, and
at last is feeling both attractive to women and able to relate to them
warmly for the first time. He is more able to look people in the eye
without fear of them 'seeing through him'; he has become far more giving,
self-loving and relaxed. His attention span has tripled and he feels more
aware of the present. Jack also plays music, which has greatly improved and
he has started primitive chalk drawings.
But in his work he has lost his ability to be super-critical and tough
which was the secret of his success. He accepts the loss as a small price
to pay for his improvement.
In addition to the MDMA sessions, Jack recently had an LSD session (also
$300) with a different, but very expert, guide. The dose was 300ug. He
experienced a more profound and deeper level of heart opening, and felt as
though he was regressing to being a 4-year old girl. He feels that LSD can
take him further and may go for another session.