“There is a wealth of information built into us … tucked away in the genetic material in every one of our cells … without some means of access, there is no way even to begin to guess at the extent and quality of what is there. Psychedelics allow exploration of this interior world and insights into its nature.”
Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a psychoactive drug classified as a dissociative anesthetic. that has been used in the United States as a safe anesthetic in medical settings since 1970. It has been used as an off-label psychological treatment for depression and anxiety for over 20 years.
For people suffering from treatment-resistant depression or suicidal ideation, ketamine can oftentimes provide immediate relief. While the antidepressant effects tend to be temporary, multiple treatments, especially those in conjunction with psychotherapy, have the potential of reducing symptoms in individuals with depression and other psychological disorders.
Another characteristic of ketamine is that it creates novel states of mind which facilitate psychotherapy in general. Ketamine at low doses creates enhanced awareness of underlying psychodynamics, habitual mental states, and unconscious coping strategies. Familiarity with ketamine states can teach resilience, openness, and equanimity.
What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) uses low and moderate-dose ketamine to enhance and deepen psychotherapy. While ketamine alone can often have an immediate antidepressant effect, the literature suggests that ketamine is most effective when paired with psychotherapy. Change is best facilitated within a structured, supportive psychotherapeutic environment with trained and skilled clinicians who are focused on assisting clients with their issues, hopes, desires, and struggles (set, setting, and integration).
Is KAP right for you?
Ketamine is used off-label to address a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction.
Some medical and psychiatric conditions may be a contraindication for KAP and/or need to be treated before you can safely work with ketamine. These conditions will be assessed prior to intake with one of our MD's to determine if you are eligible for KAP.
We highly encourage our KAP clients to be in ongoing psychotherapy in conjunction with and after their KAP treatment. We will further discuss this in the intake process and make appropriate referrals to local resources as needed. Additionally, many of our Temenos therapists accept new referrals for on-going psychotherapy, which can be a uniquely beneficial experience to work with a therapist skilled in psychedelic integration work after your ketamine treatment has been completed.
Ketamine as a Psychedelic Medicine
In moderate doses, ketamine has psychedelic effects, which have been shown to facilitate profound transpersonal experiences. A ketamine medicine session creates a non-ordinary state of consciousness and may facilitate transpersonal or mystical experiences. These kinds of experiences often expand one’s sense of self and shift one’s understanding of existence. Ketamine may also enable individuals to access their own inner healing intelligence in a manner that is valuable.
Our Temenos clinicians assist clients in processing the experience and its impact.
We encourage you to explore additional information about ketamine. We offer some useful resources here.
What to Expect in KAP Treatment
Your inquiry begins with a 15-minute phone consultation in which we discuss your symptoms to begin assessing whether ketamine-assisted psychotherapy might be of benefit to you.
If it seems likely that KAP could benefit you and you are interested in proceeding, you can fill out our preliminary forms, and schedule a Medical/Psychosocial Assessment session with one of our psychotherapists and one of our physicians. Oftentimes clients desire a more in-depth discussion with a therapist to determine whether ketamine is likely to be helpful for them. These sessions can be scheduled with a Temenos psychotherapist or physician for a fee.
During the Medical/Psychosocial Assessment Session, clients meet with one of our psychotherapists and our physician. We will review your medical and psychosocial history, further discuss the use of KAP, answer any questions you have, and prepare you for your first medicine session. Our physician will also provide you with a prescription for the sublingual ketamine lozenges which you will bring with you to your first session.
We may suggest additional preparatory sessions prior to your first ketamine ession, depending on what arises in the Assessment Session.
Ketamine sessions last 2.5 hours. A psychotherapist will be with you during the entire session, and our physician oversees each session. Sublingual lozenges will typically be utilized during your first Medicine Session, beginning with one 100 mg lozenge. After approximately 20 minutes, you may be offered additional lozenges depending on how you respond to the medicine. You will begin to feel the effects of the medicine within 15-20 minutes and feel its full effect for approximately 40 minutes, after which the effects will dissipate over the next 1-2 hours.
After your first ketamine session, you will meet with your psychotherapist for an integration session. During that time, we will discuss how to integrate your experience. Many clients experience emotional freedom and cultivate novel ways of thinking about themselves and life as a result of the intentional neuroplasticity training that is a central component of the integration session.
Given the potential for abuse or misuse of ketamine and/or adverse side effects, our medical and psychological carefully screen potential clients to ensure they are a good candidate for KAP and closely monitor response to ketamine throughout treatment. Additionally, we provide thorough preparation for the ketamine session to ensure physical and psychological safety, outlining safety parameters such as the need for a driver and avoidance of operating heavy machinery on the day of the ketamine session.