Ketamine Asissted Psychotherapy
What is Ketamine and how does it work?
Ketamine was approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic agent several decades ago. However, the administration of ketamine in lower, sub-anesthetic doses to treat pain, depression, or other psychiatric diagnoses is a newer, off-label use of ketamine. The psychiatric use of ketamine has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it has been studied and promoted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and has had front-page publicity as the newest antidepressant. Ketamine can be administered via intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM), sublingual (SL), oral (PO), and intranasal (IN) routes. It is often used after other treatment approaches have been unsuccessful.
Psychedelic, ‘dissociative’ experiences may be instrumental in providing a catalyst for deep change. This may include a positive change in outlook and character, which we term a ‘transformative’ response. An altered state of consciousness, typically lasting 30 minutes to 90 minutes, is essential to this method, and it tends to be related to dose and route of administration. The intention of utilizing ketamine in psychotherapy is to promote an altered state of mind with lowered negative psychological defenses that allows for more efficient healing than traditional talk therapy.
During your treatment or in the hours, days, and weeks that follow, you may experience important changes in personality, mood, and cognition. Ketamine upregulates BDNF in the brain increasing neuroplasticity and the brains ability to change and adapt. Some experiences may be temporarily disturbing to you. The ketamine experience itself is designed to enable your own healing wisdom to be accessed and beneficial to you. The psychotherapy support you will receive will aid you in making your experience(s) valuable and understandable to you. We will endeavor to assist you in changing patterns of mind and behavior that are of concern and cause you difficulty.
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic, which means that it can cause a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual self. At the dosage level that you will receive, you will most likely experience mild anesthetic, anxiolytic, anti-depressant, and potentially psychedelic effects. Non-ordinary, transpersonal (“transcendental,” “mystical,” “spiritual,” “religious”) peak experiences often occur. Research has demonstrated the possibility of an antidepressant response to low dosages of ketamine. The antidepressant effect tends to be more sustained with repeated use, meaning there is a cumulative effect with repeated sessions.
What does KAP therapy look like?
During Prep sessions we will discuss everything that goes into Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy or KAP. This includes somatic work, getting to know you and your needs and getting you set up with a Doctor to assess if you are a good candidate for KAP.
Dosing sessions take around 2 hours using oral Ketamine. They can be in office or at your home or even using Telehealth. We often do a series of 6-8 Session on a weekly or biweekly basis
After each KAP dosing session you will have one or more Integration sessions to process the dosing session and anchor any learnings from the session as well as preparing for the next dosing session.