What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) and how could it work for me?
You may be feeling like you've tried every kind of talk therapy, medication, coping tool or self-care practice to feel better...but you can't seem to get relief. Or, at least, relief that lasts longer than a few hours, days or weeks.
Most days end up feeling like a struggle against depression, anxiety, people-pleasing, traumatic past experiences or possibly circular thoughts about things you can't change or control. You probably ask yourself...."Is this ever going to get better?"
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy offers incredibly promising results for people just like you.
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (otherwise referred to as 'KAP') is an alternative treatment in which Ketamine is taken in conjunction with psychotherapy. KAP is a science-backed, safe treatment that has been found to create long-lasting change in one's feelings, perspectives and behaviors. It has been found to offer promising relief and healing beyond traditional treatment techniques and allows for the development of deeper levels of insight and interpersonal, emotional and spiritual connection.
I am currently offering KAP in partnership with an organization called Journey Clinical. I will work with you on the psychotherapy portion of the experience, while Journey Clinical’s medical team supports you in all medical aspects regarding Ketamine. Journey Clinical will determine your eligibility, develop a custom treatment plan with you, prescribe the medicine and monitor your outcomes. Below is more information about KAP to help you decide if it may be a good fit for you.
What is Ketamine and how does it work?
Ketamine is an FDA-approved medication that has been used since the early 1970's as a dissociative anesthetic used medically for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Ketamine on its List of Essential Medicines.
More recent research has indicated that in small amounts, Ketamine has psychoactive effects that promote the growth of new neural connections in the brain. It is now being used to treat conditions such as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, suicidality, addiction, PTSD and OCD, among others. Ketamine is believed to have rapidly-acting antidepressant and mood-enhancing effects, which can begin to take effect within 1-2 hours after treatment and last up to 2 weeks. Studies have shown that Ketamine has about a 70% success rate in treating depression and anxiety long-term - as opposed to a 20-30% success rate with traditional anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications.
Ketamine works by regulating glutamate levels in the brain and allows for increased neuroplasticity, which is essentially the brain’s ability to be open to new learning and to creating new pathways of change, overriding long-standing patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It helps parts of our brain talk to each other in a different way. Therapy used in conjunction with Ketamine has been shown to help people make long-lasting changes that were previously very difficult (or impossible) to make.
How is Ketamine administered?
Ketamine can be administered in a variety of ways, including IV infusion, intramuscular injection, nasal spray and sublingual lozenges. Journey Clinical provides Ketamine in sublingual lozenge form which the client self-administers while in the presence of the therapist.
How does Ketamine feel?
The effects of ketamine, which most find pleasant, last for approximately 45 minutes. These effects can make you feel “far from” your body (imagine having a 30,000-foot view of your life) and facilitate shifts in perception that can often feel expansive in nature. Your motor and verbal abilities will be slightly reduced but by the time you leave, you feel feel more back to yourself. I will provide everything you need to be comfortable during the experience including pillows, blankets and eyeshades while listening to relaxing music. You may also bring any important personal items from home that you may want to have with you. Once the effects of Ketamine subside, we will spend the remainder of our session time giving you space to relax, process and/or discuss your experience. While it may feel hard to articulate what happened during the experience at that time, most people feel like the insights gained become clearer and easier to put into words in the days and weeks following the dosing session.
Studies have shown that the benefits to mood and neurological growth from one dosing session can last up to two weeks after the Ketamine experience. Our integration sessions (which follow the dosing session) enable us to further discuss your experience, feelings and realizations, helping to make the new neural pathways stronger and longer-lasting.
What is the process of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?
1. Initial consultation with Journey Clinical
You schedule and attend an initial evaluation with a clinician from the Journey Clinical medical team (held virtually). They will go over your medical and psychiatric history with you, provide you with education on Ketamine treatment and determine if you are eligible for KAP.
If Journey Clinical’s medical team determines that you are eligible for KAP, they will develop a personalized Ketamine prescription and outcome monitoring plan for you.
Journey Clinical’s medical staff will write a ketamine prescription for you, and a small initial amount of oral ketamine will be sent to your home - typically enough for the first two (2) KAP sessions. You will be taught by Journey Clinical to take your vitals and self-administer the ketamine lozenges in advance of our KAP sessions.
2. Begin Preparation sessions
Once you receive your ketamine lozenges, we will schedule time together for our KAP preparation, dosing and integration sessions. Preparation session(s) will be scheduled just like regular therapy sessions prior to the KAP dosing session. Anywhere from 1-3 preparation sessions may be needed. The goal of a preparation session(s) is to align on the process, complete consents and set intentions for our KAP sessions together.
3. KAP Dosing Session
A typical ketamine dosing session lasts approximately three (3) hours and can take place either in-person at my office, or remotely via telehealth.
During a dosing session, you will self-administer your ketamine lozenge in my presence per the instructions of Journey Clinical. You will be in a comfortable, reclined position wearing an eyeshade and listening to calming music. Although a KAP dosing session may be largely an internal experience for you, I will be present with you the entire time to hold space and provide support for you as needed.
After the acute effects of the Ketamine wear off (usually about 45 minutes or so), you will be able to relax out of the experience and discuss your experience, if you would like.
I will be sure that you are feeling well enough to leave the office before being sent home with your chaperone. NOTE: It is recommended not to drive for the rest of the day after taking Ketamine. You must arrange to have someone reliable to take you home after the dosing session.
4. Integration Session(s)
1-3 days after your KAP dosing session, we will meet for a preliminary integration therapy session to review the memories, thoughts & insights that arose for you during your dosing session. Additional integration sessions are typically needed to continue to maximize the effects of the Ketamine and its continued effects on neuroplasticity. When/if you are ready, we will then begin to prepare for your next dosing session.
5. Follow-up consultations with Journey Clinical
After our first KAP session, Journey Clinical’s medical team schedules regular follow ups with you to monitor outcomes and prescribe ketamine lozenge refills, as appropriate. The frequency of follow ups depends on your unique treatment plan, at a minimum of once per quarter.
What is the cost of treatment?
There are 2 sets of costs associated with KAP treatment - the medical fees and the therapy fees. Fees are as follows:
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Fees:
Preparation Session (1 hour): $175
Dosing Session (3 hours): $550
Integration Session (1 hour): $175
Integration Session (45 mins): $150
Journey Clinical Medical Fees (approximate):
Medical Intake: $250 (One time fee, may be reimbursable through out-of-network benefits)
Follow-up Sessions: $150/session (minimum of 1/quarter, may be reimbursable through out-of-network benefits)
Cost of Ketamine Lozenges: $75 for approximately 4-6 lozenges (typically not covered by insurance)
Who isn't a good candidate for KAP?
KAP is not for everyone. Generally speaking, KAP is not indicated for people with medical conditions such as hypertension/high blood pressure, glaucoma, breathing problems, acute mania, history of psychotic disorder and uncontrolled substance use disorders. Journey Clinical, upon their medical evaluation, will determine if you are appropriate for Ketamine treatment.
What are the potential benefits of KAP?
The benefits of KAP are unique to each individual. Like any treatment, there are no guaranteed results, but I will work closely with you to set realistic expectations and position you for success. Here is a list of some of the potential benefits of KAP:
Takes healing to a deeper and longer-lasting level
Has very few side effects and works quickly
Can help you discover and address problems faster than traditional therapy
Has high success rates of treating depression, anxiety and trauma. Research has shown that symptoms in 70% of individuals stay in remission.
Helps neural connections grow that may have been effected by trauma and chronic stress.
Allows for changes in neural pathways that create opportunities for shifts in feeling, mood, behavior and perspective.
Promotes access to your unconscious and subconscious mind without your conscious thoughts and feelings holding you back.
Can I have a "bad trip" on Ketamine?
The idea of having a psychedelic experience that feels out of control is enough to make someone feel anxious about using Ketamine. While it's not possible to predict what one's experience on Ketamine will be, Ketamine used in small doses in therapeutic settings with proper preparation, support and guidance typically do not produce lasting negative effects. One may experience the "revisiting" of a past trauma during the ketamine experience, but in the days/weeks after the Ketamine therapy session ends, most people find that their perspectives and feelings around the trauma are transformed into something that seems more easeful, peaceful, tolerable and even more optimistic in nature.
How do I get started?
If you would like to explore the possibility of working with me, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss eligibility and next steps. You may also schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation with me by clicking on the button on the bottom of this page.
What is Journey Clinical?
Journey Clinical is a platform for licensed psychotherapists to incorporate science-based psychedelic therapies in their practice safely and effectively, starting with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). Journey Clinical’s in-house medical team is responsible for all medical eligibility, prescriptions and outcome monitoring, while I do the therapy portion. Their collaborative care model is designed to deliver personalized treatment plans to meet your individual needs and improve long-term outcomes.
Helpful Resources and Research on KAP
Paradigms of Ketamine Treatment by Raquel Bennett, Psy.D. for MAPS
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP): Patient Demographics, Clinical Data and Outcomes in Three Large Practices Administering Ketamine with Psychotherapy - research study by Jennifer Dore et al, 2018
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Systematic Narrative Review of the Literature - S. Drozdz, et al, 2022.
Ketamine for Depression and Mood Disorders by Erica Zelfand, ND for
I focus a significant part of my practice providing specialized therapy to
people navigating their unique life's challenges. After learning more about what psychedelic medications can offer, I decided to become trained and integrate psychedelic therapy into my practice. (At this time, Ketamine is the only legal substance available for this purpose. MDMA is currently in clinical trails and may be approved in the near future.)
I will provide you with everything you need for your Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy experience. I am dedicated to assisting you through your Ketamine journey from start to finish in a safe, compassionate and intentional way.