Your journey

The Journey of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

The “journey” or experience that ketamine can provide in concert with an experienced therapist and coach is just as vital to the healing and recovery process as the medicine itself.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The durability of the anti-depression effects of ketamine have a lot to do with a “change in content” of your thought life. People who experience lasting change through KAP are able not just to suppress the symptoms of depression, PTSD, and other mood illnesses, but also are able to address the root narratives that can foster these illnesses. Ketamine has neurobiological effects in that it fosters neurogenesis (the regrowth of brain cells) and neuroplasticity. But it also has the ability to foster non-ordinary states of consciousness that can provide insights and great perspective on our “ordinary” state of consciousness.

When ketamine is administered only as an infusion, without KAP, patients can still experience short-term symptom relief, often lasting 3-7 days. Eventually, however, a tolerance is developed to the medicine and the anti-depression effects often steadily diminish. If the underlying narratives that support mood disorders are not addressed, patients rarely experience lasting wellness. 

There are three broad roles the therapist and coach play in KAP. The first role is, in partnership with the client, to craft an approach and intention for the therapeutic sessions customized to the client, their symptoms, and their desired therapeutic outcomes. The second role is to guide the client through the experience of the ketamine dosing session, while fostering a context of safety, openness, and acceptance. And the third role of the therapist and coach is to help the client reflect on their underlying narratives, integrate their experience and insights, and provide coaching for continued mental wellness in everyday life.

Every person’s experience with ketamine is unique to them, and clients often find it hard to describe in words. And if you and we decide to have additional sessions using ketamine, each of your sessions will be different. Each session is a journey that cannot be programmed. They evolve from your own being in relation to this medicine and to your guides.

While it is best to form an intention for your journey (and we will help with that), you may or may not be able to hold on to that. In fact, not holding on is best, since holding on is the main source of anxiety in these journeys. The best experiences tend to flow from relaxing into the path that unfolds.

A ketamine session can be light, dark, or both. Some people describe it as feeling “dreamlike.” Some people experience sensations of love and acceptance for themselves and others. Some describe challenging feelings and ideas that invite them to confront the wounds and darkness in themselves.

Relaxation from ordinary concerns and usual mind, while maintaining awareness of the flow of mind under the influence of ketamine is characteristic. This tends to lead to a disruption of negative feelings and obsessional preoccupations or “thought loops.” Many experience an ability to “zoom out” from their normal state of consciousness and “see the bigger picture,” which can give them a sense of “reset” in their perspectives. Often this leads to a feeling of greater ability to address everyday negative thoughts and habits, and to replace them with healthier thoughts and habits.

There are three primary administration methods in use for ketamine treatment–IV infusion, intramuscular injection (IM), and dissolvable lozenges. We prefer lozenges for several reasons: First, because it allows our clients to experience KAP in the comfort and safety of your own home, without the need for a driver after the session. Second, because unlike IVs and IMs, lozenges are non-invasive and don’t involve the discomfort of needles. And third, because lozenges tend to provide a relatively gentle introduction to the ketamine experience that can then easily be adjusted with dosing.

As with any medicine, there are risks in the use of ketamine that we want our clients to be aware of. That said, ketamine is a medicine with an exceptional safety profile over its 50+ years of use, having been used extensively (at much higher doses than are used in KAP) as an anesthetic for children and sensitive animals such as kittens because it does not suppress respiration.

Common side-effects include a transient increase in blood pressure, and sometimes nausea or a “motion sick” feeling. We encourage most of our clients to utilize prescription Zofran to help prevent nausea. While rare, some people have experienced an allergic reaction to ketamine. There are a number of cautions and contraindications that you will be informed about and screened for initially.

Your journey

Our Expectations for Your Experience

While each client’s experience will be unique to them, we do hold and share high expectations that your sessions will induce important insights, clarification of values, and changes in your notion of yourself and the world around you.

Our sincere and heartfelt expectation is that this experience will be profoundly transformative and helpful to you as you pursue better mental health, and overall wellness and satisfaction in life.

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