What is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy?
When other forms of therapies have failed to adequately address depression, anxiety or trauma, Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is an effective and safe alternative that can result in transformational outcomes and lasting change.
While Ketamine has traditionally been used for anesthesia, mental health professionals are increasingly harnessing ketamine’s enormous therapeutic potential to treat depression, trauma, and other mental health conditions.
How does Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy work?
Ketamine is thought to be impactful both through biochemical mechanisms and the psychedelic experience. Biochemically, researchers believe ketamine produces its effects by binding to NMDA receptors in the brain, which modulate glutamate production and activate receptors that help neurons in your brain create new connections and pathways. Engaging in intensive psychotherapy during this period of increased neuroplasticity results in a disruption in entrenched negative thought patterns, presents opportunities to establish new ways of thinking, rewire emotional memories, and increase capacity for joy and optimism.
The experiential aspect is related to the dissociative and psychedelic effects of ketamine. The time away from usual experiences can help to improve your emotional state and can result in a reset of the mind and improvement in depression and anxiety experiences.
At Amavi, patients experience Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in a comfortable and tranquil setting. Our board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioners administer ketamine through intramuscular injection, though on occasion patients may instead be prescribed troches (lozenges) or intranasal spray. We are not an infusion clinic, and strive to create a therapeutic environment that feels peaceful and serene, rather than medical. Your therapist remains with you throughout the ketamine session to guide you through the experience. You should anticipate being in the clinic for approximately an hour and a half for each session.
Prior to your first session, you will meet with one of our psychiatric providers to review your psychiatric history, medical history, and current medications to determine whether ketamine is an appropriate treatment for you. You will then have a ketamine orientation session with one of our KAP trained therapists to explore your goals of treatment, set intentions for the ketamine sessions, and discuss ways that your individual preferences can be incorporated into the ketamine experience. Once you have completed these orientation visits, you can schedule your Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy series.
Studies have shown that optimal outcomes from Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy are achieved by participating in a series of five to six sessions spaced closely together over two to three weeks to allow for the brain to create new neural pathways. We recommend committing to the complete treatment series to experience the full benefit of ketamine therapy. Following this initial series of sessions, patients may choose to do ongoing monthly maintenance sessions.