Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a form of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, a cutting-edge treatment approach to mental health that is well established by decades of medical research. Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy refers to professionally supervised use of ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, or other psychedelics as part of an established psychotherapy treatment program. Currently, ketamine is the only psychedelic legally available for use in the United States. In our clinic, we use experienced, highly trained therapists and medically supervised administration of psychedelic doses of ketamine. This treatment is both legal and safe.
Ketamine as a Psychedelic Treatment
By far, the most studied psychedelic agent is ketamine which, in much higher doses, has been used as an anesthetic agent for decades. At lower doses ketamine temporarily modifies consciousness, causing changes in mood, anxiety level and thought patterns.
Ketamine has been studied in over 70 Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for psychiatric disorders, given as single or repeated administrations in varying doses and by various routes of delivery. Most studies have been for depressive disorders, but ketamine has also shown to be effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidality, eating disorders and addictions, including alcohol, opioid, and nicotine dependence. Psychedelic-assisted therapy has also shown promise as a treatment for end-of-life distress and fear of death related to a terminal illness.
Ketamine for Addiction
Tackling deeply ingrained addictive behavior patterns requires determination, introspection, and a desire to change and grow. Talk therapy and/or 12-step programs are important yet often not enough to achieve long-lasting recovery. Ketamine overrides the part of the brain that controls habitual behavior, allowing access to the subconscious, where core issues lie. This helps to disrupt unwanted behaviors patterns and sets the stage for lasting change. Ketamine also weakens addiction triggers for alcohol and drug cravings which are often associated with environmental cues.
Long-term problematic alcohol or drug use is often a symptom of underlying depression, anxiety, or PTSD. By treating hidden mood disorders and processing stored trauma, we have seen many people reduce or eliminate their problematic alcohol or drug use. Once the mood improves and the trauma is processed, the “need” to drink or drug dissipates.
What to Expect
Enrollment in the program begins with an intake evaluation with one of our specialized therapists. This visit will be used to design an individualized therapy program for you. During this visit, your therapist will answer any questions you have. You will then have a medical screening exam by a physician to ensure that you can safely be treated with ketamine.
Next, your therapist will work with you to get to know you, to establish your therapy goals and to make sure you are adequately prepared for psychedelic work. This phase of treatment is the preparation phase. The number of sessions varies according to your needs.
Most clients will then have between one and three psychedelic sessions where ketamine will be administered either by a lozenge that dissolves in your mouth (no needles!). Your therapist will stay with you during these sessions. A trained medical provider will be available throughout the period that the medication is taking effect should you require any assistance. The entire visit takes about 2 hours.
After each ketamine session, you will have follow-up sessions with your therapist to discuss your experience. This part of treatment is called integration and helps you understand how to use your experience with ketamine to move forward with your overall therapy goals.