Are you still struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems despite having tried counseling, medications, and self-care? Are you looking for a new treatment that can bring relief, happiness, and a fresh perspective to your life? Have you considered ketamine treatments but felt uncomfortable taking it in a medical setting with someone you hardly know? Maybe it’s time to consider the new, optimal way to experience ketamine: Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.
Now you can have the breakthrough experience of ketamine in a safe, private, and supportive environment with the guidance of a licensed therapist. You can unlock the full potential of ketamine treatment by combining the neurological effects of the medication with powerful therapeutic insights. You will have the opportunity to immediately discuss, process, and integrate every aspect of the ketamine experience with a therapist who specializes in helping people recover from chronic, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy will help you take the experience of the ketamine into your life.
Ketamine is an FDA-approved medication that can be prescribed off label for mental health purposes. It creates a trance-like state unlike ordinary reality in which one may experience positive emotions, creativity, energy, inspiration, insights, and new perspectives. It can produce visual, auditory, or other sensory effects that can produce a sense of awe, beauty, or connection with the world. People often experience a sense of detachment from their usual sense of self and thoughts. They can see their lives in a novel way that helps them become less stuck in unhelpful, repetitive thoughts and habits that perpetuate depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Using ketamine for mental health treatment is backed by robust scientific research. It has a short duration of 45-90 minutes, has few side effects, generally creates a pleasurable experience and does not interact with most psychiatric medications.
While traditional psychotropic medications such as anti-depressants work on neurotransmitters such a serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, ketamine acts on one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in the brain, glutamate, which cannot be affected by oral medications. Ketamine also increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). These changes enhance neuroplasticity, the ability of the neurons in the brain to form new connections, and even helps neurons that have been damaged by the chronic stress of mental health conditions to heal and regrow. Ketamine encourages healthier connections between neural networks (such as the prefrontal cortex) which increases executive functioning; the ability to regulate emotions, pay attention, inhibit impulses, and think rationally.
The combination of neurological and psychological benefits can give people the energy, motivation, and clarity to make changes in their lives. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy can help clients capitalize on the benefits of ketamine fully by helping them establish goals, relate to thoughts differently, and understand themselves and their problems from a new vantage point.
How Does Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Work?
Ketamine will be prescribed by a collaborating physician, and if you’re deemed an appropriate candidate, a pharmacy will mail you the medication.
You will take the medication at a two-hour therapy appointment. Prior to taking the medication we will discuss your intentions for the treatment. What would you like to get out of it? What are your hopes for how it will improve your life? This helps create an ideal mindset for the ketamine experience.
Once you have taken the medication, the effects will last for approximately one hour. I will be there to make sure you feel comfortable, safe, or need reassurance as you go through the experience. Most people prefer to not speak while on the medicine but should there be anything they’d like to discuss we can process it then or make note of it and save it for later.
After the medication wears off, we can discuss the experience. What was it like for you? Did you have any insights that you’d like to make sure you remember? What can you take from the experience that will be helpful in changing your life?
Ketamine creates a high state of neuroplasticity in the days following treatments. We can discuss goals for behaviors or thought patterns that can really help you make meaningful, long-lasting changes.
There may be additional sessions before or after the ketamine treatments to establish goals and intentions, review the process, and assess symptoms and progress.
How Many Times Will I Take It?
A course of ketamine treatment consists of six sessions 1-2x per week. Some individuals may benefit from additional rounds of treatment, and some may find occasional booster doses helpful.
How Long Do the Benefits Last?
The onset and length of the effect of ketamine can vary. Some people find near immediate relief from their symptoms within the first few sessions while others need to complete all six sessions for noticeable change to occur. The exact duration of these benefits can vary. The goal of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is to extract the most benefit from every ketamine session.
Why Should I Consider Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Instead of a Ketamine Clinic?
Most patients seeking ketamine treatment for mental health over the last decade have gotten it though clinics, a doctor’s office like environment where the medication is infused by a nurse or anesthesiologist. The ketamine is regarded as a medication that is administered in the absence of any therapeutic context.
With Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, ketamine is viewed not only as an impressive medication for the brain, but also a tool for insight and therapeutic potential. The ketamine experience is treated as a meaningful experience in and of itself, not merely a substance to be put in the body like a traditional psychotropic medication.
The significant phenomenological and neurological changes ketamine creates provides an ideal state of mind for psychotherapy. In Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, clients are invited to take full advantage of the medication by cultivating an open state of mind for its use, setting intentions for what they would like to get out of the session, and then processing and integrating the experience so that any insights become part of their life going forward. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy can help clients capitalize on the benefits of ketamine fully by helping them establish goals, relate to thoughts differently, and understand themselves and their problems from a new vantage point.
In terms of value, a Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy session costs about as much as treatment at a clinic but with the added value of the medication being taken in a therapeutic context with a licensed therapist.
Is Ketamine Safe?
Ketamine has been widely used in medicine as an anesthetic and analgesic since 1970 and has an established safety record. Like any medication, it has risks and potential side effects. The prescribing physician will assess your health and determine if you have any underlying medical conditions would rule out ketamine treatment. The most common reasons to avoid ketamine are uncontrolled high blood pressure, serious heart conditions, or pregnancy.
How Does Ketamine Compare to Other Psychedelic Drugs?
Ketamine is the only legally prescribable psychedelic drug, which makes it the only option for legal and ethical use in therapy at the moment. It has a shorter duration than the popular psychedelics psilocybin (mushrooms) or LSD. It does not produce the intense hallucinations characterized by other psychedelics and there for reduces the chances of a “bad trip”. It is generally well tolerated, and generally creates a positive emotions and feelings of well-being. This is particularly appealing to people struggling with mental health conditions as it may be the first time they have experienced a positive emotional state in years!
How is Taken?
For Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, ketamine is taken sublingually. Tablets are placed in the cheeks or under the tongue and allowed to dissolve for several minutes before being spit out. No needles or IVs required!
Is Ketamine Addictive?
While ketamine has been abused recreationally as a street drug, it does not create physical dependency and is therefore not considered addictive. Using it in a therapeutic setting with a doctor’s prescription is very different then using it in a party context. Ketamine is actually used to help people who struggle with addiction. Compared to the risks of alcohol -a addictive neurotoxin that destroys brain tissue, creates physical withdrawals that can be lethal, increases anxiety and depression, causes numerous health conditions in several major organs, and ruins countless lives every day- ketamine is a very safe medication in terms of abuse.
Is Ketamine Appropriate for All Mental Health Conditions?
While ketamine is not FDA-approved for any mental health condition, it is used “off-label” for depression, anxiety, bipolar depression, OCD, PTSD, chronic pain, passive suicidal ideation, and alcohol and substance use disorders. “Off-label” use of a medication is common in medicine because while many drugs have considerable research for treating a given condition, they aren’t always pushed through the demanding and expensive FDA approval process when there isn’t a significant financial incentive for a drug manufacturer to do so.
Ketamine should not be used by anyone with a history of schizophrenia or psychosis, while in a state of active mania for people with bipolar disorder (though it is ok for bipolar depression), or for people with certain severe personality disorders. We will review your mental health state and current condition to determine if ketamine is appropriate for you at this time.
What Training do You Have in Ketamine?
I have complete a Ketamine-Assisted Therapy certification course through Skylight Psychedelics, a physician-led ketamine prescriber and training practice.
If you think Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy might be for you, contact me using the pop-up form below to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. Or you can call me at my confidential business number: (303) 748-4730
I look forward to speaking with you about your concerns and am happy to answer any additional questions about how I might help you!