Should I Try Ketamine-Assisted Therapy? How To Know It’s the Right Time in Your Life
Whenever I talk to my clients about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP), they tend to have some of the same questions about it. One of the most common ones I get is: “Is it the right time in my life for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy?” It’s a totally valid question – taking the jump into ketamine (or any other psychedelic)-assisted therapy can be a big decision to make. You want to make sure you’re ready.
So the question is: are you ready? The research says (and I’ve seen from my own experience) that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is powerfully effective, and even life-changing, for many people who’ve been living with treatment-resistant depression. But it’s important to be in the right place before starting.
Signs that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is right for you now
Let me be clear: You know yourself best. Without meeting you, I can’t tell you whether or not ketamine-assisted psychotherapy might be the right choice for you (you can, however, make an appointment to talk to me – we can make a decision together).
But there are some general signs to look out for that might let you know that now is a good time in your life to try KAP.
1. Your symptoms are stubborn (you have treatment-resistant depression or anxiety)
One of the best signs that you’re ready for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is that you live with treatment-resistant depression. In other words, you’ve tried it all – antidepressants, mood stabilizers, maybe you’ve even been on atypical antipsychotic medications like Abilify. Maybe you’ve been in traditional therapy for more years than you can remember.
You’ve probably seen some improvement. The symptoms might not be as intense as they once were. Or maybe you haven’t seen any improvement. Maybe your depression has even gotten worse over the years.
No matter where you are in that journey – it might be time to consider ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Depression is a chronic condition, which means it can never be “cured.” But that doesn’t mean that you need to live with the pain of it forever. There are effective ways to manage and treat it. And KAP is one of the most innovative and effective treatments out there right now.
KAP is shown to work for people exactly where you are – people who’ve tried it all and have found minimal or no relief. After KAP, a high percentage of people seem to finally reach a place of clarity and peace that they’ve been longing for.
2. You’re willing to put in time to do the work
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy isn’t just about taking some ketamine and enjoying the experience. Just like any other type of mental health treatment, it takes work – both from you and from me. It’s not a “sit back and wait to feel better” kind of deal.
The experience should be pleasant, or at the very least not uncomfortable. And you will feel better. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing that you need to contribute to the process.
This is especially true for what I offer – ketamine-assisted psychotherapy – which is different from at-home ketamine or ketamine infusion therapy. The keyword here is psychotherapy. And the integration process, or the therapy sessions we have after your ketamine experience, is where the magic truly happens. In these integration sessions, we discuss your experience, explore any insights you gained or any memories that may have come up as well as build on positive feelings and behaviors that you develop after taking ketamine.
If you’re at a point in your journey where you’re looking for a “magic pill” or cure, then ketamine-assisted psychotherapy may not be for you yet. But if you’re willing to put in the work to heal, then you could be ready.
3. You’re not in an actively traumatic, unstable or unsafe situation
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but you will benefit more from ketamine-assisted psychotherapy if you’re not currently in an unsafe or unstable living situation or experiencing an ongoing trauma. For example, if you are currently living in an environment that will not provide you with a comfortable, safe place to process your experiences, then it might be best to wait to go through KAP when you have an environment around you that feels safe and supportive of your journey.
This is because undergoing the ketamine dosage can bring a lot up – and your emotional safety is always my primary concern.
With that said, many people who’ve been through trauma are helped profoundly by ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. In fact, there’s a body of research that shows that it can be very effective for post-traumatic stress (PTSD). So this isn’t, at all, to say that KAP isn’t for you if you’ve had any trauma at all. And in some cases, people going through active trauma can have powerful insights during KAP that help them get out of, and heal from, the situation.
This is the kind of thing that’s decided on a case-by-case basis – so if you’re unsure or have any questions, just give me a call.
4. You’re at your limit
Many people who come in for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy are so depressed that they experience serious suicidal thoughts. Similar to my point above, they have been living with painful depression symptoms for a long time. They may also have other symptoms of conditions like anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and more.
All of the emotional distress that arises from these conditions can come together in a way that makes every day acutely painful. It might cause you to have thoughts about ending your own life. You might not really want to die – you want to live – but you just can’t bear life the way it feels now. You’re at your breaking point.
If this resonates with you, please: Give me a call. I can’t promise with 100% accuracy that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will help, but I can assure you that it has helped many, many people who have been where you are now. And I can promise that I will be there with you every step of the way to support you and your healing.
**If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life, call 9-8-8 or visit your nearest emergency room or mental health facility.
5. You aren’t addicted to hallucinogenic drugs
KAP can be effectively used for drug and alcohol addiction. If you live with substance use disorder, then this type of therapy could be an excellent choice for you. And ketamine, when it’s used in controlled therapeutic settings, isn’t typically addictive.
But, like any controlled substance, ketamine does have the potential to be misused; and, in these cases of misuse, it may become addictive. But, in general, research shows that the use of hallucinogens don’t typically lead to addiction.
If you’re addicted to hallucinogenic drugs like PCP, then it may not be the best time to try ketamine-assisted psychotherapy right now. We can first address the addiction together in therapy – and, when you’re ready, we can introduce ketamine dosing sessions if it seems like the right fit for you and your journey.
6. You feel open and safe
Lastly, and perhaps the most important point – it might be a good time in your life to try ketamine-assisted psychotherapy if you feel open and excited when you think about the possibility of trying it. You trust that you will be safe during the experience, and you’re hopeful about the possible outcomes.
If you feel scared when you think about trying KAP, that’s okay, too – but that’s something that we will want to work out together in therapy before your first dosing session.
Ready to get started? I offer free consultations for people who want to know more about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, whether they’re excited, scared, or simply undecided. If you’re ready to take this next step – or think you might be – then please feel free to give me a call.
If that seems like too much, then you can also read all about my process in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and the science behind it so you know exactly what to expect.
I hope to hear from you. Either way, I hope you get the relief that you deserve.