Ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is was developed for people who are looking for relief from their symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. It is for the patient that not only wants to feel better, but also wants to explore the root cause of their symptoms (dig deeper). Additionally, one may choose KAP to be an exploration of their consciousness as it relates to the individual’s patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Ketamine’s physiological actions include neurogenesis, functional growth, increased neuroplasticity, and synapse formation. Ketamine also creates a transient non-ordinary state of consciousness (NOSC). This expansion of one’s sense of self and understanding of existence and may enable someone to access their own healing wisdom (inner health intelligence). This allows for a psychological “working window” in which a person’s defenses diminish allowing difficult feelings, behaviors, patterns, and events to become more easily approached, examined, and worked with. Ketamine may also enable one to access their own inner healing intelligence.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can assist a person to gain perspective on their psychological patterns and belief systems, allowing them to understand these lingering patterns more clearly. Ketamine can also introduces people to new perspectives and insights, which they can then incorporate into their lives with the support of their therapist. KAP can assist people in making connections with areas of themselves which they have previously felt disconnected or more distant from. The Psychiatric Nurse practitioner will act as a facilitator for the session.
Ketamine is a unique therapeutic medication in that different doses present different opportunities. At lower doses, one will most likely experience mild anesthetic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, and psychoactive effects. A person might experience increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as an altered sense of time. This state may also enhance participation in psychotherapy, as defenses are relaxed, yet communication with others is still possible. Higher doses are more likely to produce psychedelic, dissociative states that are primarily internal journeys away from the external world. Body sensations are greatly diminished. Such journeys may provide a more robust treatment effect, often assisting in the resolution of existential concerns, accelerating psychological and (and possibly spiritual) growth, and promoting a positive change in outlook and character that we refer to as a transformative response. These types of experiences can help people in a variety of ways, offering important clarity and insight into one’s struggles, adding a spiritual dimension to ongoing therapeutic work, and facilitating a sense of meaning and interconnectedness. Psychedelic aspects of psychotherapy can sometimes provide:
- A beneficial “time out” from ordinary mind and reality (and habitual patterns of thinking and perceptions)
- Profound shifts to more positive perspectives on the self, relationships, and one’s place in the larger world
- More positive outlooks on challenging life situations and relationships
- A decrease in negative or obsessive thoughts and negative self-talk
- Increase in self-esteem and self-compassion
- An enhancement of creative problem-solving abilities
- Greater motivation for lifestyle or behavior changes
- Relief of existential anxieties and a potential for greater spiritual curiosity
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is structured differently from more traditional forms of ketamine therapy. The sessions are longer and appointments are provided in 3 hour increments. The first part of the session will consist of talking with the psychiatric nurse practitioner. Obtaining vital signs, reviewing intentions, and developing a plan for how to handle anxiety or fear during the session. The patient will then be administered ketamine via an intramuscular injection. The psychiatric nurse practitioner is with the patient the entire session and is present to ensure safety and to facilitate, but not to determine or control the session. Effects of ketamine can last between approximately 40 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on dose. The remainder or the appointment time is used to process and integrate. Some patients may choose to end the session early (for example at 2.5 hours), but a full 3 hours is reserved for your session. Additional 50 minute integration sessions are scheduled after the ketamine experience to assist in processing what emerges from the ketamine experience. This cycle of ketamine experience and integration is repeated per the patient’s needs and desires (usually 3-6 sessions).
Is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy covered by insurance?
No. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is currently non-covered experimental therapies by major insurance companies. For experiential ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, fees will be collected at the time of service. We can provide the patient a superbill to submit to their insurance if requested.
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