Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a treatment approach that has shown to be effective for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. My approach combines the use of medically prescribed Ketamine, in the form of a lozenge or troche, with psychotherapy. This combination of medication and psychotherapy supports you in preparing for, engaging in, and integrating the Ketamine experience. Ketamine plus psychotherapy allows you to access deep emotional and psychological states and memories that sometimes are more difficult to engage and stay with in traditional therapy. This allows you to process and heal the underlying issue causing the emotional and mental suffering you are experiencing.
What is the Ketamine experience like?
Your experience will be unique to you.
I, as your guide and psychotherapist, will facilitate an introspective journey which can feel like a dreamlike state. The experience typically helps to relax and disconnect from one’s ordinary reality and usual sense of self, opening you up to new ways of thinking and feeling. You may revisit old memories or connect to a sense of something greater than yourself. The dissociative effect of Ketamine allows for a pause on the rigid ways of thinking and viewing life's challenges, opening you up to new possibilities and insights.
To read more about the use of Ketamine as a treatment
What does Ketamine do? Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has been safely used in medical settings for over 50 years and, more recently, its use for the treatment of depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain has gotten the attention of the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic communities. It is a safe, legal, and effective medication that helps in the treatment of many disorders that have been resistant to traditional treatments.
Ketamine works on the glutamate system in the brain rather than the serotonin and dopamine system, which is how most antidepressants and SSRIs work. Glutamate is the most abundant and important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Additionally, Ketamine helps to decrease the activity in brain regions associated with the Default Mode Network. These regions of the brain are associated with rumination and self-monitoring which play a major role in depression, anxiety, and trauma. Ketamine also stimulates the regrowth of synapses (learning and memory consolidation) and increases neural activity which creates possibility for change in thinking, feeling, and behavior. Plus, combining the effects of the medication with supportive psychotherapy sessions gives you the support to work through to the core issues that affect depression, trauma, and anxiety.
What is the process for KAP?
We will begin our work with an initial session to explore your current state and interest in KAP. We will explore any hopes, fears, and concerns you may have before the longer Ketamine session. After this initial exploratory session, you will contact the medical provider whom I consult with to complete a medical intake to make sure that there are no contraindications for this work. Ketamine is typically safe for most people unless there are significant health concerns, such as uncontrolled hypertension, a history of heart disease, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have untreated hypothyroidism. Ketamine has been safely used as an adjunct to psychotherapy for over 20 years and can be used while also taking most psychiatric medications, including SSRIs.
After the preparatory sessions are complete, we will schedule the longer 2 ½ to 3 hour KAP session. During the KAP session I will be present for support and guidance while you relax, often while listening to music. Also, to help facilitate inward attention and relaxation, I will offer you an eye mask to wear and have pillows and a blanket for your comfort. I will guide you through breathing and relaxation exercises, play soothing music, take notes of your insights and thoughts during the experience, and help process any emotional material that may arise. Then we will schedule follow-up psychotherapy sessions to integrate the effects and insights learned from the KAP session.
Do you want to find out more
about this work? Contact me for a free consultation.