Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) has entered a renaissance in recent years. Part of the reason for this resurgence is that there is growing interest integrating psychedelic medicines in psychotherapy across the board and Ketamine is a safe and legal psychedelic medicine available to mental health providers. It has been used in treating depression, chronic pain and variety of mental health concerns over the past two decades. The effects of the medicine don’t last long (about 45-60 minutes), which allows for the effective combination of psychotherapy.
Ketamine is a synthetic compound that modulates a neurotransmitter called glutamate. This can enhance mood, decrease anxiety, curb depression and decrease the cravings found in addiction. Ketamine also enhances neurogenesis or growth of neuronal connections within the brain. Increases functional connectivity between limbic regions and resting state networks.
While the antidepressant effects tend to be temporary after a single treatment, multiple sessions have proven to have a cumulative effect, successfully alleviating symptoms in individuals with treatment-resistant depression.
Ketamine provides a softening of psychological defenses, which allows for deeper self-reflection, emotional and interpersonal processing and access to unconscious material. Because of this, the psychotherapeutic process is quickened. The ability to access and process deep feelings is increased. Ketamine enhances openness, and fosters empathy. It also tends to reduce inhibitions, making it easier to talk about difficult subjects and access troubling feelings. It enhances adaptive learning, decreases default mode network activity and increases interpersonal openness and bonding.
Ketamine can produce meaningful transpersonal experiences and is a wonderful medicine for spiritual exploration. These experiences can bring important clarity and insight into your struggles or a place you feel stuck in your life.
If you would like to know more about KAP, please reach out and feel free to ask all questions that come to mind. I’d be happy to be in conversation with you to see if this might be an appropriate and useful medicine for you.