What to Know Before Starting Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

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Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

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If you’re here, then you’ve probably been referred by someone to start ketamine sessions for treatment-resistant illnesses. Ketamine has been around for decades and has been used in the past as a dissociative anesthetic prior to surgery. Starting in 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. The use of ketamine in a series of doses, prescribed by a physician, is shown to significantly improve treatment outcomes of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. In fact, this includes in populations where previous attempts of antidepressants have failed to produce significant results! This is a new and exciting development within the mental health field!

Getting Started

Ketamine can be prescribed by a physician in a couple of different forms, but the most often that we see at Revive Psychotherapy are intravenous (IV) or sublingual (troches that dissolve under the tongue). 

The standard way it is prescribed is in a series of multiple ketamine sessions where you go to a clinic and take the medicine under surveillance of medical professionals. The usual set of sessions ranges from 4-8 sessions in total, depending on what you and your prescriber decide will be most medically beneficial. The frequency of these sessions is usually spaced every other day, and often advised to not go more than 3 days between sessions.

After taking ketamine, the influence of the medication usually lasts around an hour, and for some people it can last up to two hours, depending on the dosage and their metabolism. Effects of the medicine will last longer than that, but with much less intensity, so it is important to note that you will not be allowed to drive yourself home after taking ketamine. 

When you are in Revive’s office, you will be encouraged to wear an eye-mask and music will be played for you to encourage the psychedelic experience of your ketamine journey.

What Will Happen When I Take Ketamine? 

Ketamine produces a psychedelic effect on the mind at certain doses, so you can expect some kind of psychedelic experience. I say “some kind” because there are two different ways to break down that experience. 

The first is what is referred to as a psychedelic experience. In this state, you can expect to experience a wide range of experiences, as no one is going to have the exact same one. Common experiences are becoming disoriented from the current time and space, difficulty with complex conversations, a feeling of floating, and sometimes confusion. With an eye-mask on, which Revive encourages you to wear, you may experience visual hallucinations– some people report seeing geometric shapes and lines moving and shifting, others report seeing faces of people they love, and still others report visualizations of being transported elsewhere (ex. “I was surrounded by stars”). You may experience feelings of euphoria during the ketamine experience, as well as confusion, or other emotions that emerge. Often times people report feeling as if they are having an out-of-body experience, where they are observing the visualizations from a third-person point of view. 

The other type of experience that you can have while taking the drug is called a psycholytic experience. This is usually what happens if you take smaller doses of the drug, and when you do not have a full-blown psychedelic experience. In this experience, there is still the dissociative effects of the drug, but at a lower intensity, so the person is still oriented to time and space.

Why Pair Ketamine with Psychotherapy?

Regardless of which psychedelic experience you choose to have, the benefit of pairing the medicine journey with psychotherapy is ultimately the same. From an emotional processing standpoint, the medicine allows the person to interact with their life and experiences from a radically different point of view than what the person is able to access under normal circumstances. 

During the experience, Revive Psychotherapy will be there to guide your experience. This can be asking gentle probing questions to guide the experience farther, helping to calm if something troublesome were to arise, even taking notes of self-report during the experience.  The pacing of psychotherapy during Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is to have the therapist with you during your ketamine medicine session in order to help guide. Psychotherapy is also important to use as an integration tool within one to two (1-2) days after your ketamine session, where you can process what happened during the psychedelic experience without being under the influence of the drug itself. This ensures that what was learned during the ketamine experience is not lost, due to the drug’s ability to increase neuroplasticity. Therapy will help to hone in on specific targeted areas of growth and embrace the growth that has already occurred as a result of taking a psychedelic.

Psychotherapy is there to help the person integrate this new experience of themselves, their life, and the world. When someone sees the world from a different perspective, their perception of the world changes, and psychotherapy assists in anchoring to the lessons that were learned during the psychedelic trip. The goal of using ketamine as a medicine to heal treatment resistant illnesses is to change the daily lived experience of the person suffering from them. Psychotherapy aides in utilizing the neuroplasticity that is enhanced within the brain to create new neural pathways towards healing.

Seek professional help from a KAP-trained 


If you are interested in learning more about ketamine assisted psychotherapy, reach out to Revive’s specialized and trained ketamine assisted psychotherapist. If you are unsure if you want to start a ketamine journey, but do know you need help with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or chronic pain, you can start with psychotherapy and asses down the line if ketamine is right for you. Revive is trained in both psychedelic and non-psychedelic psychotherapies. If you or someone you know is suffering, please share this blog so that we can help.

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Hi, I'm Marci. Therapist to Free Spirited Humans Looking for More.

Your number one hype girl, the door opener of weekly meetings with the highest version of YOU, and a trusted professional offering a sacred experience of meeting - and being seen - in your wholeness.  

Learn more

What is Ketamine- Assisted Psychotherapy?


What You Need to Know Before Starting Therapy



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