Mental health challenges are rampant. According to the World Health Organization, nearly twenty-five percent of the world’s population suffer from a mental health or neurological disorder in their lifetime. Medications have helped but unfortunately they haven’t done enough as mental disorders are one of the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide. Psychedelic psychotherapy offers great promise to curbing this growing trend across the globe.
Most psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca and DMT are not currently legal for psychedelic therapy. In addition, not enough research has been completed yet on these psychedelics and mental health. However, a lesser-known psychedelic called ketamine has been extensively researched for mental health issues and is completely legal under proper medical supervision.
As a psychedelic therapy center focused on mental health issues, we only treat patients with clinically significant mental health issues where research has shown favorable responses to ketamine treatments. We do not advise individuals to seek out psychedelic guides using psychedelics that haven’t been legalized, especially since we do not have enough data to show the benefits and adverse side effects of these practices.
IPC never recommends the use of ketamine without proper medical supervision. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy requires therapists trained specifically in psychedelic therapy so they can navigate the traumatic memories, insights and spiritual experiences that often occur on the healing journey. At IPC, our medical director is an experienced MDMA psychotherapy researcher and all of our psychotherapists have been trained by MAPS. In addition, we are extremely conscientious of safety protocols with a nurse and physician on-site so you can focus on the experience and leave the rest to us.
During a ketamine session, mystical experiences commonly occur as the boundaries between the self and the universe melt away. Some studies have reported an association between the depth of the psychedelic experience and efficacy of the antidepressant effects of psychedelics generally and ketamine, specifically.
Medications used judicially for mental health challenges can save lives. However, psychotropic medications often come with unpleasant side effects or don’t work at all.
Seventy percent of individuals that undergo ketamine infusions reliably experience a reduction in symptoms of depression. No other medication for treatment-resistant depression has demonstrated this level of efficacy. In addition, ketamine shows promise for other conditions such as anxiety, bipolar, PTSD and OCD.
In 2019, a large study using Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy reported a significant decrease in depression and anxiety. This study is important because it shows that combining psychotherapy with ketamine is very effective.
Figure: Dore et al 2019
“My current dose of meds weren’t cutting it anymore. I didn’t want to up my dose, but I needed a helping hand in calming my reactive body and mind. Within six hours of my first Ketamine session, I felt dramatically better, more grounded, less repetitive thoughts, and the darkness of depression significantly reduced. It was very reassuring to have the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapist “holding the space” when I was under the ketamine. In addition, having someone to help me process what I experienced during the treatment led to greater insights about my visions. I think people should embrace Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy as a great tool in the toolbox. I had fears about experiencing dark thoughts that would overwhelm me, but in all of my Ketamine sessions the opposite happened: I felt comforted and rejuvenated. And, knowing there was a therapist by my side at all times made it a very safe and nurturing environment.”
“I started at IPC with severe depression, low self-confidence, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. After my ketamine treatments, I finally stopped having suicidal thoughts. I have a positive outlook and feel a connection in my relationships. I also see how my degree is useful, and I’m connecting the dots between school and career. It was really nice to have a therapist to talk with throughout the Ketamine sessions about how to be my best self.”
“I had treatment-resistant depression for my entire life. I know it sounds cliche but I was only seeing dark clouds. The ketamine sessions allowed me to start functioning again with the desire little by little to get off the couch and re-engage with life. I don’t think there would have been any effect without the therapist. The ability to discuss my experiences and to continue to work on these issues within the integrative sessions was invaluable.””
“I struggled with depression. The ketamine sessions helped me gain more perspective. I’m now able to see my life and my existence in a larger context and pick up on things I couldn’t previously do. During the sessions, it was really helpful to have a therapist to create a safe container, guide me through the rough spots, and explore the deeper areas.”
“Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy had a profound effect on my life. I struggled with chronic depression and was on meds for twenty years. I did the Ketamine series about a year ago and have not had any depression since the treatment. My baseline emotional affect has lifted. I gained tools along with new perspectives. My therapist was so supportive and understanding talking me through what I call the Ketamine world. We talked through how my new insights could be useful and help me with depression.”
“Last summer, my twenty year old daughter was struggling with a horrible depression. She was having a hard time functioning, and pharmaceuticals didn’t work for her. We decided to have her try ketamine therapy at the Integrative Psychiatry Center. After six sessions, I saw my daughter completely emerge from her depression and she remains so all these months later. Due to the therapeutic assistance that she received during these sessions, she also seemed resourced to meet her life in new ways. I’m so grateful that IPC offers Ketamine treatment, and I highly recommend this therapy to others suffering from depression.”
“Before Ketamine therapy I was struggling mostly with depression that had come on very suddenly and was very debilitating. After the Ketamine sessions, I noticed the depression I had been experiencing began to let up, I noticed I was able to make art again, and socialize with others much better than I had before. Having a therapist present made me feel safe and helped me negotiate some of the experiences I had while on the Ketamine, and also helped me negotiate my relationship with the traditional role of a therapist.”
“I had been struggling with severe treatment resistant depression for many years before the Ketamine treatments. I had tried a large number of medications but none of them seemed to work for any length of time. I had been struggling with intermittent severe depression and suicidal thoughts just prior to the ketamine sessions. My mood lifted substantially during and after the sessions. I stopped having frequent suicidal thoughts. I also became more able to make changes in my life. The ketamine treatment was very freeing in this regard. I am a longtime binge-eater and have trauma and was able to work on these issues during the Ketamine sessions which really helped me make changes during and after the ketamine treatment.”
“I decided to get treated at IPC specifically because they had a psychotherapist present during the ketamine administration. Following up with the therapist during and after the ketamine treatment was critical in reinforcing the changes that the ketamine was allowing me to make in my life. Having a therapist present was also important for helping me deal with traumatic memories that came up during the ketamine therapy. All of the staff at IPC were very caring and supportive. I had a wonderful transformative experience.”
Choosing a medical provider can be a stressful experience. We want to help you find the right ketamine provider for your needs. Although there are an increasing number of places offering ketamine, there are several key things that make our clinic different which are important to consider when determining if IPC is the right place for your care:
1. Garcia-Romeu et al. Clinical Applications of Hallucinogens: A Review. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology © 2016 American Psychological Association. 2016, Vol. 24, No. 4, 229–268.
2. Andrade, C. Ketamine for Depression, 1: Clinical Summary of Issues Related to Efficacy, Adverse Effects, and Mechanism of Action. J Clinical Psychiatry 2017 Apr;78(4):e415-e419.
3. Jennifer Dore et al. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP): Patient Demographics, Clinical Data and Outcomes in Three Large Practices Administering Ketamine with Psychotherapy, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 51:2, 189-198.