Lori Tipton and Shari Taylor – A First Hand Report of MDMA Therapy for PTSD

October 30, 2018
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In this episode, Lori shares her first hand experience of MDMA Therapy assisted by Therapist, Shari Taylor. Shari Taylor is a PhD, MSN and RYT(Registered Yoga Teacher).
Both from New Orleans, Lori Tipton was Shari’s MDMA patient who suffered from traumatic life experiences and PTSD.

3 Key Points:

  1. Lori shares her heartfelt story about her experience in healing her PTSD in MDMA Therapy
  2. Before her therapy, Lori says she struggled with loving herself, and the fact that she loves herself now after her healing is the reason she is alive today
  3. Lori says she wants people to understand that this is a legitimate form of therapy, and wants this to be accessible to everyone

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Show Notes

About Lori

  • Lori has a love/hate relationship with social media
    • She saw on Facebook that they were opening the phase 3 trials for MDMA therapy in New Orleans
    • Sent an email on a whim and Shari replied
    • They looked for people who suffered from significant traumatic events in their lives
      • Lori lost her brother to a drug overdose, her mother killed two people and she was the one to discover their bodies, and she was raped by someone she trusted and got pregnant and then had an abortion
    • Lori says there was an extensive screening process and psychometric testing
      • “You become more of a manifestation of the disorder, and it starts to become who you are” – Lori
      • She felt so ‘untethered’ and removed from everyone and everything because of her PTSD

Day one of Therapy

  • There are many sessions before even taking MDMA to get to know each other first
    • Set and setting are so important
  • Lori says she went in with an open mindset, but was so skeptical
    • She had seen psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, dietitians, taken anti anxiety meds and antidepressants, went vegan, became a yoga teacher, and even saw a witch doctor
    • But she was nervous that she was going to go into the sessions and come out a different person, which had her start to question who she really was

Taking the MDMA

  • She was offered the MDMA, and she accepted it
    • She lied there, started to feel the effects, listened to the music playing and it reminded her of a film she had seen
      • Buddy Boulden a trumpet player, who passed away at 30 at a mental institution in Louisiana
      • So this just popped into her head and then she told Shari about it and then next thing she knew she was telling her about her mother and her rape
  • The way that MDMA worked for her in the first session is that when she had a memory, she could feel it, and she hadn’t truly felt the feelings from those memories before
  • As the session ended, it was anticlimactic
    • She said it was like dipping the corner of a towel in water, the water would eventually cover the whole towel
    • The amygdala is getting shut down in therapy, so you’re able to bring up these memories without getting overwhelmed

Days Following Therapy

  • Lori said after the first session, it was awesome! She went and got pizza and it was the best pizza she has ever had in her life!
    • The first session of MDMA allowed her to experience life in a way she hadn’t been in years
    • Her partner noticed her enjoying the world, and noticed the changes the most
    • Lori wrote a lot before going into the sessions, and writing has helped her with her healing

The Second Session

  • Having PTSD led her to repress her feelings
    • When she locked up her fear and anxiety, she unfortunately locked up happiness too
  • In the second session she took more MDMA, and it really helped her
    • She felt she was able to really separate herself from her memories and feelings and emotions
    • “It was like taking off a pair of foggy glasses and it was so empowering” – Lori
      • Joe mentions that after his one and only ayahuasca session, he got a strong message that he needed to reconnect to his family
      • He says MDMA is so special in that it allows you to feel love in such a strong way, unbounded
        • Lori says she struggled with loving herself, and the fact that she loves herself now is the reason she is alive today
      • She says her experience is proof that MDMA is not a schedule 1 drug
        • Joe says he hopes that the testing goes well to move MDMA into an accessible space
        • Lori agrees and wants this to be accessible for everyone in her life
        • She believes its revolutionary for psychology
  • After the second session, she didn’t want to run away from her feelings, she didn’t want to kill herself
    • Healing isn’t always pretty, sometimes it looks like crying on the couch for 6 hours of the day
    • She knew she had to be with those feelings
  • Her therapist and her tarot card reader both said she would be more of herself after the therapy

The Third Session

  • She believes in the power of the drug, but it was also the support of the therapists. The combination of the two is where magic happened
  • After walking into her mother’s death, she couldn’t remember so many parts of those moments
    • In that third session, she revisited that memory, and was more present in her memory than what she saw in that moment in her real life
    • She remembered things she wasn’t able to remember from her life from over a decade
    • She was able to have such empathy for herself in that situation
    • In that moment, she would have been full of so much shame or blame and she was able to empathize with herself and forgive herself
    • “These types of experiences transcend words of how it feels to release that pain” – Lori
  • With the feeling of the release about her memory with her mother, she then began to talk about her rape and her whole demeanor shifted
    • She was talking about it in an angry tone
    • She had triggers post rape, when trying to have sex with someone she loved and it felt like a tiger entered the room, just frightened and in fear
    • Certain yoga poses also triggered this PTSD response
      • In the therapy session, Shari asked her to try entering into the yoga poses that gave her those feelings
      • Lori was overcome with anxiety, fear, she cried, and felt like she was in hell
      • Shari asked “what are you feeling?”
      • Lori said she felt afraid and full of fear
      • And Shari looked at her and asked “what does that feeling need?”
      • Lori responded and said “it just needs to be heard”
        • After that moment, she felt this huge release
        • “There are very few moments in my life that are so profound and beautiful and meaningful to me” – Lori
        • Joe said there is some magic in yoga to unveil certain energies when working through PTSD


  • She stayed the night each time after a session
  • The morning after she had an integrative session
    • She felt like she accomplished more than she even thought was possible
    • There was not a part of her that understood how magnificent her experience was going to be
    • She has been given the gift of being present in the moment
    • She now has the ability to be with the people she loves, it changed her life
  • To a therapist, who really wants people to be their best selves, this has to be a beautiful thing to see
  • Joe says we are seeing movement with this kind of therapy
    • With trials, publications, and people coming forward with their stories, its changing the mental health narrative
    • Lori wants people to understand that this is a legitimate therapy
    • “To deny this therapy is a disservice to human kind” – Lori

Life for Lori After MDMA Therapy

  • Startle response is so low
    • She works in a bar, and things are dropped and she used to jump at everything, and now she doesn’t anymore
  • She’s less quick to get angry because she’s not thinking about all of the horrible stuff that could happen at the next moment
  • Her ability to be present in the moment has helped her raise her son
  • She doesn’t have triggering moments when she is aroused
  • She is feeling joy and happiness in a way she hasn’t felt in over a decade

Shari’s Thoughts

  • Hearing Lori’s story gave her a new passion in her field
  • Chipping away at the barriers through MDMA therapy is so remarkable
    • Therapists create a safe environment with trust and the ability for patients to allow their barriers to fall down so that their inner healer can come out, to help them heal themselves
  • She feels so lucky to be a part of this type of therapy
    • Stan Grof – inner healer
    • The same way that your body knows how to heal a wound on your hand, your mind also knows how to heal your psyche
  • After Hurricane Katrina, suicide rates tripled
  • Shari gets hundreds of emails from people wanting to be in this study, she hopes or it to become more available for people in the future
  • For people who are more interested in learning about these trials, get on the MAPS mailing list
  • Joe says or someone with PTSD symptoms, it’s not always the best idea to go down to Peru and do ayahuasca, they could get re-traumatized
    • Joe hopes for expanded access sooner than completion of phase 3 testing
  • He says for therapists interested in MDMA therapy, he really hopes they dive in and learn a lot

Final Thoughts

  • Having discussions like this, storytelling, has the ability to change many people’s mindsets
  • Taking MDMA away from counterculture will be the quicker we can see drug reform
  • Whether we see decriminalization, or given expanded access, we need to be aware of what that looks like so everyone can have access to this experience
  • It’s important to break the stigma of psychedelics so people are more open to their benefits

Main Goals

  • We want doctors to be able to use these drugs
  • We want people to to use these drugs without going to jail
  • We want a flourishing underground provider network that are skilled
  • We need to keep working toward re-scheduling



The Mind-Body Project

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About Lori Tipton

Lori Tipton is an MDMA Assisted Therapy patient who suffered from traumatic life experiences and PTSD.

About Dr. Shari Taylor

Dr. Shari Taylor holds a PhD in Psychology from Northcentral University, a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama, and a Post-Master’s of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializing in the field of child/adolescent psychology. She is a Registered Yoga Therapist and teaches yoga both privately and in a class setting. Dr. Taylor is an avid participant in the art, music, and culture scene in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is continually enrolled in courses and workshops to expand her knowledge of nutrition, psychology, wellness, and spirituality.