Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
In my practice, I facilitate ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) sessions that are an integrated part of regular and ongoing psychotherapy. While ketamine treatment can often induce a rapid reduction of symptoms, these are often short-lived. However, when repeated and combined with ongoing psychotherapy, these reductions in symptoms can often be sustained.
What does Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) Look Like?
1. Preparation: Before the session, we will go over what to expect in detail and answer any questions you may have. Prior to commencing KAP, we will, at minimum, have enough regular psychotherapy sessions to establish a therapeutic and supportive relationship and an understanding of core issues that may arise during the KAP sessions.
2. Setting: The treatment session takes place in a calm, comfortable, and safe environment. The room will have music suited to enhancing the experience. There will be a place to lie down comfortably and to sit up.
3. Administration of Ketamine: Ketamine is taken as sublingual lozenges that are prescribed by a psychiatrist and that you bring to your session.
4. Presence of a Therapist: Throughout the session, the therapist will be present to provide support, guidance, and facilitate the psychotherapeutic process. The therapist may engage in conversation, guide you through various therapeutic techniques, or simply be a compassionate presence during the experience.
5. Length of Session: These sessions are 3 hours. The first part of the session lasts from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours where the ketamine is most active. Usually, this period will be spent without talking and with an inward focus, although the therapist is available for talking if that is desired. After this period, the ketamine will have mostly subsided. The rest of the session will be spent integrating the experience as well as using the increased openness and insight that often results from ketamine for further therapeutic work.
6. Psychotherapeutic Techniques: During a KAP session, you may be led in different psychotherapeutic techniques, such as talk therapy, mindfulness exercises, guided imagery, or trauma-focused approaches. These techniques are aimed at exploring emotions, gaining insights, and processing difficult experiences.
7. Integration and Follow-up: After the KAP session, in future therapy sessions (without ketamine) you will discuss the experience, emotions, and insights that arose during the session. We will work together to integrate these experiences into your broader therapeutic journey, identifying ways to apply the insights and continue the healing process.
What are the Benefits of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is an emerging therapeutic approach that combines the use of the anesthetic medication ketamine with psychotherapy techniques. Here are some potential benefits associated with this form of therapy:
1. Rapid Relief: Ketamine has been found to provide fast-acting relief for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. It can often produce noticeable improvements within hours or days, compared to traditional medications that can take weeks to show effects.
2. Enhanced Emotional Processing: Ketamine has been shown to promote neural plasticity and facilitate the reorganization of neural pathways related to emotional processing. This can help individuals gain new perspectives, process difficult emotions, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
3. Expanded Therapeutic Insight: Ketamine's properties may allow individuals to explore and address traumatic memories or deep-seated emotional issues that are typically difficult to access. This can lead to breakthroughs and insights during therapy sessions.
4. Reduced Suicidal Thoughts: Studies have indicated that ketamine can rapidly reduce suicidal ideation in individuals experiencing severe depression. This effect is particularly significant because it can provide immediate relief and buy crucial time for long-term therapeutic interventions.
5. Customizable Treatment: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be tailored to an individual's specific needs. The therapy is typically provided in a supportive and comfortable environment, ensuring the optimal setting for psychological exploration and growth. Eventually and when indicated, some ketamine sessions can be done at home on your own, with integration sessions happening later.
6. Potential for Lasting Effects: Although the immediate effects of ketamine may wear off, it can trigger positive changes in the brain that endure beyond the actual treatment session. This prolonged benefit can support ongoing psychotherapy and help individuals sustain long-term improvements in mental well-being.
What is the Cost of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?
Please keep in mind that while ketamine can be accessed either as a stand-alone treatment or with therapy that lasts only as long as the ketamine treatment lasts, in my practice, KAP is an integrated part of therapeutic treatment that mostly involves therapy without ketamine. I am not on any insurance panels, but I am happy to give you an invoice for insurance reimbursement for out-of-network coverage (if available to you).
KAP costs include:
· Meeting with a psychiatrist: less than $500
· Cost of Ketamine Lozenges: approximately $150 for 20 lozenges
· 3-hour KAP session: $750
· Integration session for Ketamine session done at home: $250