An Analysis of the Working Alliance in MDMA-Assisted Therapy

Ingmar Gorman

Abstract: One component of the therapeutic relationship formed between client and therapist is the working alliance. This alliance is an agreement on the goals of treatment, agreement about how to reach those goals within treatment, and the bond that forms from a trust and confidence that the tasks will bring the client closer to his or her goals. One operant mechanism in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be an increased ease in developing such an alliance. The current study in Boulder, Colorado uses the Segmented Working Alliance Inventory Observer-Based Measure (S-WAI-O) to track changes in the alliance both within and over the course of treatment sessions. The S-WAI-O was used to assess whether changes in working alliance were associated with the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Findings will be discussed.

Ingmar Gorman, MA, has researched substance use and misuse since 2006. As an undergraduate at the New College of Florida, he completed a 40-year follow-up study on the perspective of mental health experts who worked with hallucinogens in the former Czechoslovakia. One year after presenting his research at the Psychedelic Forum in Switzerland, Ingmar Gorman interned at the Prague Psychiatric Center as an Assistant Research Scientist. Now a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the New School for Social Research, he is currently investigating the therapeutic alliance in the context of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Ingmar Gorman is also establishing an alcohol abuse prevention program at the New School Counseling Center and serves as Research Study Assistant at the Sloan-Kettering Institute.

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