While ketamine therapy and psychotherapy are both effective independently, there is a substantial synergistic effect when the two are combined. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy allows you and your therapist to take full advantage of the neuroplasticity and perspective shifts that come with ketamine infusions, integrating lessons learned and developing strategies to keep healing and enact more positive behaviors.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way of helping people deal with emotional challenges that stem from stress, trauma, or mental illness of any kind. Psychotherapy involves regular meetings with a trained therapist, who begins by establishing trust and alliance with the patient. Over a series of sessions, the therapist supports the patient’s exploration of thoughts and emotions to deepen their understanding of their mind, heal psychological wounds, and develop adaptive and positive behaviors.
Ketamine-assisted-psychotherapy employs preparatory, medication (one to three sessions with moderate to high doses of ketamine), and integration sessions. During the initial sessions, the therapist or co-therapist team engages the patient to explore their life history and help them understand their symptoms and intentions, emphasizing the potential for emotional and psychological growth. They also educate the patient about what to expect during the ketamine sessions and work to develop a solid therapeutic alliance.
During the ketamine session, the therapist maintains integrity and safety for the therapeutic relationship. The medication is administered in a comfortable room with a reclining chair, in an environment that is decorated and appointed so that it will feel familiar and not intimidating in the way a medical office or institutional setting might. The patient is encouraged to focus their attention inward and can listen to music and wear eye shades. The therapist listens empathically to the patient for the next 60 to 90 minutes and maintains a non-threatening, neutral therapeutic stance. The drug effects and the patient’s thought content drive the experience. The therapist aims to facilitate safety, trust, and openness.
After the medication session, during the integration sessions, the therapist works with the patient to interpret the content of the ketamine experience into meaningful long-term change by identifying insights or analyzing thoughts or ideas that arose during the experience.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be a transformative experience. It does not need to replace any current therapy or treatment. KAP often works best as an adjunctive treatment to ongoing psychotherapy. Nevertheless, some patients benefit from a course of KAP even though they are not currently engaged in another psychotherapy or treatment plan.
If you suffer from mental health issues and want symptom relief, turn to Serenity Health in Louisville, KY, for exceptional care. Our expert team offers ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to treat a variety of mental health conditions. Call the office to learn more about this revolutionary treatment, or book an appointment online today.