What is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy? Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a unique approach to traditional psychotherapy. KAP applies the medicine ketamine during a 2-4 hour psychotherapy session. The skillful and safe application of ketamine to the therapeutic container can powerfully accelerate your healing process by helping to surface unconscious beliefs and experiences that are often at the root of dysfunctional behavior. Sessions last longer than traditional therapy, and are conducted with medical support and psychological counseling to ensure you are well cared for throughout your experience.
Ketamine may, at times, facilitate psychedelic experiences such as expanded consciousness, and spiritual connection. These characteristics are similar to other psychedelic drugs that have been used successfully in clinical trials to reduce pain and distress. However, ketamine is currently the only available medication that may produce a psychedelic effect that can be used in psychotherapy legally.
In conjunction with psychotherapy, KAP may be useful for treating, PTSD/CPTSD, trauma, depression, anxiety, unresolved attachment issues from childhood, grief & loss, and end of life distress. It can also help people learn how to rejoin and re-engage with life after a major or chronic illness.
What is Ketamine and how does it work? Ketamine is a Schedule III medication that was approved by the FDA for medical use in 1970. It has long been used safely as an anesthetic and analgesic agent. It has been on the WHO's list of "essential medicines" since 1985. In recent years, psychiatrists, medical doctors and other practitioners have been administering ketamine in lower, sub-anesthetic doses to treat pain, depression, and other psychiatric diagnoses and conditions. This “off-label” clinical application of ketamine for psychiatric and therapeutic use has become relatively widespread and has been studied by prominent research bodies including the National Institute of Mental Health. Promising early research suggesting ketamine may provide rapid relief of depression symptoms has garnered it front-page publicity as the newest potential antidepressant for use after other treatment approaches have been unsuccessful.
Ketamine is now increasingly clinically applied as an off-label treatment for a variety of chronic, “treatment-resistant” conditions, including chronic pain, depression, substance dependencies, and PTSD. In these applications, it is commonly administered by intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM), sublingual, and intranasal routes. In my clinical work I use sublingual ketamine lozenges.
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic, often producing a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual self. At the dosage level you will receive in ketamine assisted psychotherapy, you will most likely experience mild anesthetic, anxiolytic, antidepressant and, potentially... psychedelic effects. Recent work has demonstrated the possibility of an antidepressant response to low doses of ketamine—administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or sublingually—that produce minimal psychedelic effects. This antidepressant effect tends to be more sustained with repeated use—in other words, a cumulative effect.
It is my view that psychedelic, or even ‘dissociative’ experiences may well be instrumental in Ketamine's healing effects. This may well include a positive change in outlook and character that we term a ‘transformational’ response.
How do I get started? Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy must occur in conjunction with the screening and case management of a well trained medical prescriber such as an MD.
I currently work in conjunction with Dr. Birkholz at Your Wellness MD. After establishing a therapeutic relationship with me, clients schedule a consultation with her in order to determine whether or not KAP is an appropriate mental health intervention before beginning treatment.
If you are interested in learning more about whether or not Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is right for you or want to know more about how to get started, please CONTACT ME.
Meet Dr. B.
The founder of Your Wellness MD, Dr. B. is dedicated to the healing and wellness of each and every patient she has the pleasure of meeting. Licensed for Telehealth visits in CO, CA, and AZ Karla Birkholz, MD is a functional medicine and family physician with decades of experience and professional accolades in both the modern and integrative medical worlds. She supports people who choose to live lives that are happier and healthier through cutting edge diagnostic tools and treatments. She is excited to be offering Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy as a powerful and innovative treatment for various psychiatric and psychological conditions that haven't responded well to traditional methods of treatment.