Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is an evidenced-informed, short-term intensive treatment for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Unlike common psychiatric medications that only address the symptoms of neural imbalances, ketamine promotes regeneration in the parts of the brain responsible for creating those imbalances. Antidepressants and many other psychiatric medications often take weeks to start working (if they work at all). Their benefits rapidly disappear when treatment is stopped, replaced by uncomfortable (and in some cases dangerous) withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants also commonly interact with other medications.
In contrast, the uplifting effects of Ketamine treatment appear in as little as a day or two. Depending on the patient and the number of initial treatment sessions, relief can last for weeks, months, or even years. Ketamine has few interactions and can be safely used together with SSRIs, opiates, and tricyclic antidepressants.
Before you begin your ketamine session, you will be screened by a doctor to ensure that ketamine is the right treatment for you. During this, your medical and mental health history will be discussed. We want to make sure there are no contraindications. Once you have been cleared, you will be prescribed oral ketamine in the form of a lozenge that you will pick up at your pharmacy.
Prior to your first ketamine treatment session, we will meet to develop your goals and identify your intentions and expectations of treatment. We will discuss the environmental and verbal cues to help make you feel safe and comfortable.
When you arrive for your first treatment, we will review your intentions, and I will answer any lingering questions you have. I will set you up in a comfortable space surrounded by pillows and blankets. When you’re ready, you will take a single dose of ketamine in the form of a lozenge you will hold under your tongue. After about 20 minutes, you will begin to feel very relaxed. You may experience the sensation of sinking into the cushions as your mind starts to disassociate from your body. You may also feel euphoric or silly. In some cases, you may notice visual hallucinations or become quiet and internal. Experiences may feel pleasant or unpleasant, often both in the same session. I will stay with you the entire time to offer support and assistance. The whole experience takes about two hours after which a friend or loved one can take you home.
In between your ketamine sessions, you will return for an integration therapy session. During this time, you’ll revisit your treatment goals and envision the life you want to create for yourself. We will explore and apply insights gained during the treatment session while also helping to identify places of growth and strategies for positive change in one’s life. Some people compare the benefits experienced within the first few days after ketamine treatment to the effects of a long-term meditation practice. You may start to see things in a more positive light and find it easier to integrate new thought patterns.
I am certified through the Integrative Psychiatry Institute as a psychedelic-assisted therapist. The training consisted of an intensive 10-month-long program where I was able to experience the effects of ketamine for myself. Through my training, I was able to gain an understanding of how powerful ketamine can be in a treatment setting. Because I was able to face negative things during my ketamine session, I’m better able to face them and cope with them outside treatment. I was left with that warm, tranquil, happy feeling afterward, too. Ketamine-assisted therapy is not for everyone. I offer a free half-hour consultation to see if it may be the right fit for you.