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Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

What is ketamine? Broadly speaking, it is a novel antidepressant with dissociative anesthetic properties, and can induce psychedelic states that offer an opening to the psyche and mental landscape within one self. It is an old medicine with newly discovered tricks. It has been used for decades as an anesthesia medication, especially helpful in children, but was discovered to have significant mind altering and mood lifting effects. Ketamine is now being used as an anti depressant and has been shown to have robust anti depressant and anti suicidal effects in various medical studies. While there are various forms of medicine, I work with primarily oral lozenges, intramuscular, and nasal spray forms of ketamine. Like with any psychedelic medicine, set and setting matter, as well as dose. It is a complicated medicine to work with, and should not be taken impulsively or without proper preparation and intention. This is where working with a skilled provider who can discuss options and treatment modalities is very important.

What is ketamine like? It is different for each person, but it provides a very inward, reflective, mind expanding experience. It helps disconnect certain parts of the brain that might be stuck on repeat, break certain patterns of neural firing that are maladaptive, and helps the brain find new paths of thinking. Importantly, it increase neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to grow and learn. Taken together, this means it can help you let go of ruminating, unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviors, and then in the aftermath of the medicine session, more easily create new more functional ways of experiencing yourself and the world, and helping healthier behaviors become imprinted more firmly in your brain as you practice and utilize that neuroplastic state. It helps tremendously with that sense of “I know I should do xyz but I just can’t,” become “I actually feel what I know and now it is easier to do!” For example, many people cite references to “knowing” they are a good person and worthy of self love, to actually “feeling” this deeply, and being able to embody and act like a person who understands this deeply and shows up for themself in a loving way with more ease and compassion.

The journey itself has been written about extensively in various literature, but everyone has a unique experience. I encourage people to not overly analyze or read or set up expectations for your journey, and just be open to what your mind will show you. After all, you only have a first experience once, and a beginner's mind is such a gift. Working with a skilled practitioner also ensures you will be adequately prepared with room for exploration and growth for as many sessions as is necessary. I provide you with the education and tools personalized to you, so that you can receive what you need from your medicine experience.

Ketamine Group Retreats

Psychedelic therapy is returning to psychiatry as a major aide in transforming the mental health of individuals and communities. Traditionally, plant medicine has been used in group ceremonies, utilizing the power of the collective experiences and individuals coming together under the guidance of shamans or community healers, to work through various individual and collective challenges people were facing. In the field of psychiatry, we have studied and concluded that group therapy and group work has a profound and different effect on emotional regulation, interpersonal and intrapersonal shifts, and provides a sense of belonging that individual work may not similarly achieve. It is with both ancient and modern models in mind that I have offered group ketamine retreats. These programs provide a much needed space for healing in a container with other humans who are also doing their own individual work.

Our group retreats are held in a warm, inviting, intimate setting, typically with 1:1 facilitator to patient ratio, and the group number is kept small so that everyone has ample space physically and mentally to engage with the process. We offer preparation groups and integration groups before and after the retreat day, as these are crucial components of the group process and personal work with psychedelic medicines. Participants often find these groups as helpful as the medicine itself. Groups can also be individualized for a specific purpose, such as work within families, partnerships, or for integration into other treatment programs, such as eating disorder or addiction treatment groups. Whether this is your first experience with ketamine, or you have tried individual treatment, or are looking to expand your capacity for healing in a different setting with other individuals, the group program is an amazing opportunity to work with yourself and the medicine.

Clinician groups who are interested in training or providing experiential learning for their mental health or medical professionals can also work with me to customize a program or group process tailored to the needs of the organization. Many mental health clinicians I have worked with in group settings have found these ketamine medicine groups very supportive personally and professionally.

There are many possibilities for group medicine and group healing.

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