Ketamine Assisted Psychedelic Psychotherapy:
In addition to talk therapy I now offer the possibility of a deeper, consciousness expanding psychotherapy experience with the entheogenic and euphorigenic medicine, ketamine in oral/sublingual form. I do NOT operate an IV ketamine clinic.
Ketamine is now an “off-label” treatment for various chronic “treatment-resistant” mental conditions. It is a Schedule III medication that has long been used safely as an anesthetic and analgesic agent and now, often effectively for treatment of depression, alcoholism, substance dependencies, PTSD and other psychiatric diagnoses as well as for existential, psychological and spiritual crises and growth.
How Does It Work? The current, most probable, understanding of ketamine’s mode of action is as an NMDA antagonist working through the glutamate neurotransmitter system. This is a very different pathway than that of other psychiatric drugs such as the SSRIs, SNRIS, lamotrigine, anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines, etc.
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic, dissociation meaning a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual self. At the dosage level administered to you, you will most likely experience mild anesthetic, anxiolytic, antidepressant and, potentially, psychedelic effects.
The beliefs people hold and the stories we tell ourselves shape our identity and our internal model of reality. They shape our relationship with ourselves and other important people in our lives. When our belief system with all it's flaws and distortions becomes rigidly fixed and or tied to our ego we build broken habits and make decisions that don't create what we want because we have a faulty model of reality. And we suffer. Ketamine allows a dissolution of that rigid and inflexible way of perceiving and experiencing ourselves and the world around us. It allows one to question their firmly held assumptions about reality and build a more flexible mind so that they have a broader range of responses available to deal with challengers in their lives.
While more recent work has demonstrated the possibility of an anti-depressant response to low dosages of ketamine administered in different routes such as intravenous, intra muscular (IM,) intra-nasal and sublingual (in the mouth), this effect tends to be more sustained with repeated use—in other words, a cumulative effect. Hence, frequent sessions occur in the first 2-3 weeks.
No matter the route of administration, ketamine tends to produce dissociative effects in a broad range, depending on dosage and your susceptibility. It is my view that ‘dissociative’ experiences may well be instrumental in providing a more robust effect. In the Trance state, these effects are deliberately reduced in intensity to enable psychotherapy and direct communication. At higher but still sub-anesthetic doses, the dissociative effect predominates for a time, usually about a half hour to an hour.
Both methods tend to produce a positive change in outlook and character and relieve symptoms of depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other difficult states of mind and heart. I employ both sublingual and IM methods — generally beginning with the sublingual–as will be described herein. I do not support IV ketamine treatment at "infusion clinics" since it is not associated with therapy and post session integration, which is the main mutative factor in ketamine treatment.
Essential to both methods are time-outs from our ordinary state of mind, this period being of varying duration, usually 30 to 90 minutes, though it will seem timeless. Characteristically, there is a relaxation from ordinary concerns and usual mind, while maintaining conscious awareness of the flow of mind under the influence of ketamine. This tends to lead to a disruption of negative feelings and obsessional preoccupations.
It is my view that this relief and the exploration and experience of other possible states of consciousness are uniquely impactful. As a therapist, I will act as a guide to the experience, preparing you for it and facilitating your process. For most people, KAP is singularly beneficial.
Why Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy?
The purpose of the sub-lingual ketamine lozenge sessions is to generate a robust anti-depressant, or other (PTSD, anxiety, etc.) benefit that often occurs over time with repeated administration of the lozenges, often in concert with the IM sessions. For some individuals, only the lozenge experience may be utilized as this is sufficient for effect.
Your experience will be unique to you. And if you and I decide to have additional sessions using ketamine, each of your sessions will be different. The number of sessions varies based on personal needs and treatment responses. I cannot pre-program your experience. I will do my best to give a prognostic view as I learn with you how KAP affects you. All KAP journeys are adventures that cannot be programmed. They evolve from your own being in relation to this substance. Journeys vary in intensity from the sublingual lozenge trances to the IM experiences. While it is best to form an intention for your journey, you may or may not be able to hold onto that. Indeed, no holding on is best and the journey will flow whether or not you hold on and resist, or follow the path that unfolds and you relax into it. Holding on is the main source of anxiety in this and other related journeys. A ketamine session can be light, dark, or both. There will be concepts, visions, encounters, and you may well deal with your own death, mortality, and immortality. Most journeys are enjoyable and all are filled with awe. Invariably you will discover a new sense of who you are and what is important to you. You will have a time-out from suffering and an opportunity to change your view.
Eligibility for ketamine treatment:
Before participating in ketamine treatment, you will be carefully interviewed to determine if you are eligible for ketamine therapy, including a medical history, a physical exam if deemed necessary, review of your medical/psychiatric records, a psychiatric history and administration of brief psychological tests to assess your state of mind.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers are not eligible because of potential effects on the fetus, or nursing child. The effects of ketamine on pregnancy and the fetus are undetermined, and therefore, it is advisable to protect against pregnancy while exposing yourself to ketamine or in the immediate aftermath of its use.
Untreated hypertension is a contra-indication to ketamine use as the substance causes a rise in BP. Similarly, a history of heart disease may make you ineligible to participate.
Information on ketamine’s interaction with other medicines is only partially available and it will be assessed as to your eligibility for KAP. Most psychiatric medications are compatible with KAP.
Ketamine should not be taken if you have untreated hyperthyroidism. There have also been reports of some decrease in immune function in patients receiving surgical doses of ketamine.
Ketamine has an extensive record of safety and has been used at much higher doses for surgical anesthesia, without respiratory depression.
Bladder dysfunction has occurred in recreational users of ketamine at very high and repeated doses. In clinical practice this has occurred very rarely.
Please be aware that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet established the appropriateness of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and its use is considered off-label, the only official ’indication’ for use of ketamine being anesthesia. Your awareness of this situation is key to understanding any liability associated with your use of ketamine. Your signed informed consent indicates you are aware of this situation.
Ketamine is a relatively new psychiatric treatment—the primary studies have been with depression, bipolar disorders and alcoholism. It is moving towards becoming a mainstream treatment.. There is an expanding array of ketamine clinics across the country, primarily administering ketamine intravenously, and usually without a therapy component—in other words, as a drug. That therapeutic effect generally occurs with more than one treatment and is most robust when part of an overall treatment program. It may not permanently relieve depression. If your depressive symptoms respond to Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, you may still elect to be treated with medications and ongoing psychotherapy to try to reduce the possibility of relapse. Over time, you may also need additional ketamine treatments or other therapies to maintain your remission.