Abstract ID: 3618

Primary Topic: State of the science/evidence base for integrative modalities
Secondary Topic: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Ketamine, Psychedelics and MDMA: a new path for integrative psychiatry
Will Van Derveer, MD; Scott Shannon, ; Scott Shannon, , , , United States

Late Breaker: No


Psychiatry is currently at a cross roads. The chemical imbalance theory that has driven much of our conventional care over the last thrity years has been undercut by research that tells us that this model is overly simplistic and not consistent with emerging brain research. In the last ten years research on ketamine, MDMA and psychedelics has exploded in the literature. All of these agents can highlight a model that employs intermittent medication use that catalyzes deeper change. Clinicians and researchers are now exploring medication assisted psychotherapy that posits an inner healer and moves away from the chemical imbalance theory and the model of daily suppressive therapy to keep symptoms at bay. This session will highlight an interactive discussion with the audience to consider the current resesrch base, the concept of an inner healer and the role these agents may play in integrative medicne and psychiatry.


This session will explore how research in innovative areas can alter both conventional and integrative care. It also opens up all of conventional psychiatry to a sea change in which the internal ability to heal is highlighted over  the current model of pathology and daily medication  and managment. The research with MDMA, psychedelics and ketamine is often based on a model in which the medications act as catalysts for deeper change and shift in awareness. This is a collaborative model built on relationship and trust in the inner healer. In late August MDMA assisted  psychotherapy for severe PTSD was awarded Break Through Status by the FDA based on Phase II research . Currently Phase III of this trial is about to begin and compassionate use of this medication in this model will likely begin next fall. Both Dr. Shannon and Dr. Van Derveer are involved in the MDMA study as Principal Investigator/Study Therapist and Study Physician/Study Therapist repsectively. 


1. Evaluate the current trends and evolving research model in medication assited psychotherapy. Brief discussion about the historical links to shamanism in this model.

2. Assess the current research base in MDMA and the upcoming Phase III trial

3. Analyze the current research base concerning psychedelic medications and the future directions for treatment

4. Recall the overall status of ketamine research and the appreciate the movement towards ketamine assisted psychotherapy.

5. As a large group openly assess the concerns, limitations and potentials for this work.

Methods/Session Format

The format will be approximately 50% didactic with a review of research findings on MDMA, ketamine and psychedlics. The other half will be large group process and dialogue. We welcome a discussant from the Consortium to particpate and engender deeper dialogue and exploration of this topic with the audience. 


1. Medication assisted psychotherapy-history, philosophical foundations and current status

2. MDMA-background, history and current research. Upcoming Phase III trial-design and implications

3. Psychedelics medications-brief history, review of work in neuroimaging, implications of findings in the default mode network and clinical research

4. Ketamine-review of current research, discuss mechanism and explore the different existing styles of treatment

5. Large group discussion on the these topics, cued as needed by provocative questions.