What is ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication that has been used for over 50 years to induce loss of consciousness, produce relaxation, and relieve pain in humans and animals. It is approved for use in hospitals and other medical settings as an anesthetic and is commonly used for children.
Ketamine for mental health
Treatment with ketamine has also been found to be effective for people with a number of mental health concerns.
Research has demonstrated that ketamine, used alone, can help people with severe depression who have not responded to other treatment.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy combines the therapeutic effects of ketamine with the support of an experienced and trusted therapist. As such, it can accelerate the healing process for distressing emotional symptoms, such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety. The psychotherapy component of ketamine treatment allows the client to process the insights gained through the ketamine experience with the therapist, supporting integration of these insights for lasting symptom relief.
How does ketamine-assisted psychotherapy work?
Our past and current life experiences and the meaning we make from them can give rise to negative and overwhelming psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms. Factors such as childhood abuse, trauma, loss, discrimination, poverty, and other life experiences can shape our perception of ourselves and the world, including how we react and respond to challenges and our ability to manage our emotions. These perceptions can become patterns and cycles that contribute to suffering. Individuals seeking ketamine-assisted psychotherapy often struggle with life-long or treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. They have tried other forms of therapy and are still in need of relief from their debilitating symptoms.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can help clients gain perspective on unhelpful mental patterns and belief systems. Ketamine introduces new perspectives and insights, which clients can integrate into their conceptual framework with the support of their therapist. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can aid clients in addressing thought processes which hold them back to develop new, healthier ones that can help them move forward with their lives as happier and healthier individuals.
Through ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, clients may experience more ease accessing emotion, allowing them to release pain, fear, and grief and creating space for feelings of relief and peace. During a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session, clients may experience new positive feelings of love, joy, and interpersonal connection. Clients may reconnect with a sense of purpose, passion, and creativity which had felt out of reach under the weight of their pain and distress.
What happens during a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session?
In the comfort and safety of our clinic, clients will take 100-200 mg of ketamine in the form of a lozenge or other mechanism, as indicated. When taken orally, it will take about twenty minutes to an hour for the effects of the medicine to be felt. Once the effects start, the client will lay down with eyes closed while instrumental music is played. Ketamine typically makes people feel dream-like, detached, and relaxed. Some patients feel like they’re floating or pleasantly adrift from their bodies.
Ketamine can also alter perceptions of time and space and cause hallucinations. The effects last for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. The therapist will be present the whole time, and after the effects wear off, the therapist will discuss the experience with the client.
Contact us to find out if ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for you.