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[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 128][Reference 130]

E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders

Appendix 1: Reference Section

129 Interview with Jack, undergoing MDMA therapy with a guide

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 hours.

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 a bat.

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 sessions.

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.

[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 128][Reference 130]
E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (
HTMLized by Lamont Granquist (