Can Molly Mend Your Marriage?

Can Molly Mend Your Marriage?

In 1997, after my appearance on Geraldo for my book Communication Miracles for Couples, I was soon inundated with couples wanting to do counseling with me. With practice, my skills grew even sharper. Yet, occasionally I would encounter a couple that was in such bad shape that nothing I tried would work with them. A married couple, I’ll call them Martha and Joe, had been arguing in my office for over a year of weekly sessions. Finally, as a desperate attempt to help them, I suggested they take the drug MDMA (aka Ecstasy and Molly) together while I guided them to repair their relationship. Since the only alternative was a nasty divorce and custody battle, they were willing to give it a shot. 

Martha and Joe were so used to yelling at each other that I wasn’t sure if the MDMA would help. However, I’d had luck with plenty of couples prior to them, so I was hopeful. Once the drug began taking effect, their whole demeanor changed. In all our time together, I hadn’t seen any evidence that Martha and Joe even liked each other, much less loved each other. Yet, while they had initially sat on opposite sides of my couch, now they were holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes, and spontaneously listing all the things they loved about each other. Without my help, they started apologizing for all the things they had said and done to each other. By now, all three of us were in tears. Sensing an opening, I suggested we go over the many issues they (previously) had with each other. To my amazement, they rationally and lovingly came to an agreement on all their relevant issues. I had witnessed a true communication miracle.

It’s quite satisfying to see couples go from animosity to being amiable and agreeable with each other — all within a few short hours of work. With the FDA looking at making MDMA a legal medicine, more therapists are considering this amazing drug. In fact, last year I began teaching an online course on how to conduct MDMA-assisted therapy, and hundreds of therapists have now taken my training. I’ve heard frequent reports from therapists saying how a single session with a couple taking MDMA is equivalent to many years of traditional counseling. It truly is a miracle drug.

I’m not saying that MDMA alone can magically solve all issues between couples, although sometimes that does indeed happen. Nevertheless, this medicine in conjunction with a good therapist can do wonders. It can create a feeling of deep connection that has often been lacking between two people. Trying to work out challenging issues with someone you don’t trust and are mad at is practically impossible. In contrast, working out issues with someone you love and respect is relatively easy to do. The positive feelings MDMA helps create can allow couples to work out issues in one afternoon that might have taken years of therapy to produce. 

A common question I get about working with couples on MDMA is, “Do the positive feelings and solutions they arrive at really last?” The answer is “Yes, no, and it depends.” I tell couples that any agreements they make while on the medicine will not be valid until they are confirmed by each person in an integration session one week later. My reassurance makes it easier for couples to work out agreeable solutions while on the drug. Later, during their integration session, I have found that couples almost always find the agreements they made while on MDMA still work for them. 

One of the advantages of couples’ therapy with MDMA is how quickly it helps them get to a place of greater understanding of each other. People yearn to be understood, and many couples are not very good at understanding their partner. I never have a couple come to my office and say, “We really understand each other very well; that’s why we want a divorce.” On the other hand, couples will often say in exasperated tones, “They just don’t understand me; that’s why I want a divorce.” If I can help two people really grasp their partner’s feelings and viewpoint, and empathize with their experience, magic happens. MDMA makes that job a whole lot easier. 

By the end of an MDMA session, I try to give couples a vision of how they can move forward in a loving manner. I often suggest that they continue with counseling sessions every now and then to make sure they don’t fall back into old patterns. 

After leading hundreds of individual and couple counseling sessions with folks while they were on MDMA, I decided to write a book about it to help as many people as I can. It’s called Ecstasy as Medicine: How MDMA Therapy Can Help You Overcome Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression… and Feel More Love. In it, I describe many of the therapeutic methods I use to help individuals and couples work through their issues. As the title of my book suggests, Ecstasy is medicine. It’s medicine for the heart, the soul, and for a couple’s connection to each other. When two people can reconnect in the treasure of unconditional love, virtually any problem can be solved. By using MDMA with a trusted guide or therapist, most couples can repair past hurts and return to a place of love in an amazingly short period of time.

Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, author of 15 books, and the lead teacher for the upcoming MDMA Couples Facilitator Training offered by The Shift Network. Click here to register for a free one-hour online event with Jonathan on May 9, or click on the image below: 

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