Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a unique approach to traditional psychotherapy. KAP applies the medicine ketamine within a 3 hour psychotherapy session. This combination may accelerate the process of growth and change. Sessions last longer than traditional therapy, and are conducted with medical support and psychological counseling to ensure you are well cared for throughout your experience.
Ketamine is a psychoactive drug that was first synthesized in 1962 and has been used in the United States as an anesthetic in medical settings since 1970. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
Ketamine has been used off-label in sub-anesthetic doses for the past 20 years to treat chronic pain, depression, and a variety of other mental health concerns, thanks to its rapid onset antidepressant effects, sometimes providing nearly immediate relief from emotional and physical pain. While the antidepressant effects tend to be temporary after a single ketamine treatment, multiple treatments have proven to have a cumulative effect, successfully alleviating symptoms in approximately 30 - 60% of individuals with treatment-resistant depression.
Ketamine was dubbed a “dissociative anesthesic” due to its tendency to produce a disconnection from our usual way of feeling and experiencing. At low doses given during a therapy session, this influence produces shifts in consciousness such as expanded states of awareness, novel ways of viewing life concerns, and freedom from the worries and anxieties of our ordinary mind-states. Psychotherapy offers real-time reflection on this experience to enhance growth and change.
Ketamine may, at times, facilitate psychedelic experiences such as expanded consciousness, and spiritual connection. These characteristics are similar to other psychedelic drugs that have been used successfully in psychotherapy sessions to reduce pain and distress. However, ketamine is currently the only available medication that may produce a psychedelic effect that can be used in psychotherapy.
A course of KAP typically begins with an Intake session to determine if KAP is a good fit for you, and to identify treatment goals. The actual sessions may be 90 minutes to 3 hours in length. The varying length of time depends upon dose, response to the medicine, recovery time, and other factors that are discussed during the Intake session. While some patients may request a single KAP session, we recommend committing to an individualized course of treatment that may occur over several weeks. Traditional therapy focused on support, integrating insights, and identifying and reinforcing change may also be a part of the treatment process.