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Could Psychedelic couples therapy heal your relationship?

Published Feb 13, 2023 10:00 a.m. ET
Unsplash / Kristina Litvjak 

In the early days of dating, couples experience an oversaturation of oxytocin that makes it easy to be in love, but as time progresses, and that effect fades, it’s not uncommon for problems to arise in relationships. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a stressful time, or just another regular day, once those hormones wear off and communication breaks down, it can be devastating to both parties to realize it’s not as easy as they once thought to make it through.

Some choose to leave essentially cutting any potential losses and running before things get too rough. Others seek the guidance of a counselor or psychiatrist to work out the kinks. But now couples are opting for a different route by using a combination of psychedelics and therapy.

What is Psychedelic couples therapy?

The roots of psychedelic couples therapy reach deep into history, dating back to ancient times, with more recent therapy pioneered by psychedelic researchers Ann and Sasha Shulgin in the 70s who focused on the potential benefits of MDMA for relationships. With help from psychedelics, couples may have an easier time understanding and correcting unconscious behavior, allowing for a new and improved phase of the relationship to emerge.

Other researchers have tried it too like Requa Tolbert and George Greer who conducted approximately 50 psychedelic couples therapy sessions in the mid-’80s. That duo claimed it helped patients by promoting emotional healing and allowing them to overcome their fears. Ultimately, the couples they saw seemed to prove that MDMA could act as a tool to improve communication and untangle some of the most common relationship issues.

By 1985 MDMA became illegal in the United States abruptly halting any further research from taking place.

Why do people turn to psychedelic couples therapy?

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Psychedelics are known for their ability to interrupt negative feelings and habits, which is why a single couples session is often able to transform perceptions to build a healthy launch point for further change. They’ve been used in the past to treat other issues such as addiction, overthinking, and narcissism and many experts believe they could hold the key for couples who are entrenched in unhealthy habits or drowning in depressive thoughts.

Psychedelics work on the brain by interrupting negative habits. A single psychedelic session can transform one’s perspective, address detrimental behavioral patterns, and thus serve as  a powerful catalyst for change. These potent substances have been used for issues such as excessive overthinking, addictive behaviors like smoking and alcohol-use disorder, and even narcissism. Researchers believe psychedelics can be used to shift rigid, entrenched behaviors and habits to improve health and well-being.

Some say psychedelics have a positive influence on self-awareness, mood and personal beliefs all things that may contribute to a healthier relationship.

Should you consider psychedelic couples therapy?

The truth is there is no one size fits all solution that will work to heal everyone's relationship woes. However, many couples have benefitted from going through psychedelic therapy sessions including many who didn’t realize their love life needed improvement. The only way to know for certain if it will work is by giving it a try, and when you consider how much you have to lose the investment of time and money is worth a shot – for love.

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