Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a holistic modality in which ketamine is used to complement psychotherapy. This can assist clients to experience more frequent breakthroughs and sustained improvement in their symptoms. The psychotherapy portion is led and guided by Cathy while the medical aspects are supported by Journey Clinical's medical team. Journey Clinical is a platform for licensed therapists to incorporate science-based psychedelic therapies in their practice safely and effectively, starting with ketamine. Their collaborative care model is designed to deliver personalized treatment plans to meet your individual needs and improve long-term outcomes. Their responsibilities include determining eligibility, developing a custom treatment plan, prescribing the medicine, and monitoring outcomes. 

Ketamine is a legal, safe, and effective medicine used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Ketamine has rapidly-acting anti-depressant and mood-enhancing effects, which can begin to take effect within 1-2 hours after treatment and can last for up to two weeks. It has also been shown to enhance overall neuroplasticity for lasting symptom improvement. Ketamine is administered in a variety of ways: IV infusion, intramuscular injection, nasal spray, or sublingual lozenges. In my work with Journey Clinical we only use the sublingual lozenge form.

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How does ketamine feel?

The effects of ketamine last for approximately 45 minutes. These effects can make a person feel “far from” the body and facilitate shifts in perception that can often feel expansive in nature. Motor and verbal abilities will be reduced and will be supported by lying down in a comfortable position during the experience. Once these effects subside, the remainder of the therapy session is spent processing and discussing the experience. Studies have shown that the benefits to mood and neurological growth can last up to two weeks after a ketamine experience.

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What is the cost?

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is an affordable, accessible modality. Although the medical intake and follow ups are not covered by insurance, they are eligible for out-of-network reimbursement. Medical Intake through Journey Clinical is a $250 one-time fee and follow-up sessions are $150 each session (minimum of one per quarter). Ketamine Lozenges are $75 for approximately 4-6 lozenges, which is not covered by insurance. Contact Cathy for more information on her fees for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as this is variable. 

the KAP process

Step 1

The medical consultation through Journey Clinical (telehealth) will go over your medical and psychiatric history, provide education, and determine if you are eligible for KAP. If the medical team determines that you are eligible, they will create a personalized prescription and monitoring plan. The medical staff will write the prescription, which initially is a small amount of oral ketamine. This is enough for the first two KAP sessions, and will be mailed to you. You will be taught to take your vitals and self-administer the ketamine lozenges in advance of the psychotherapy portion.

Step 2

The second step is preparation for KAP sessions. We will schedule the prep, dosing, and integration sessions once you receive the lozenges. Preparation session(s) will be scheduled  like regular therapy sessions. The goal is to align together on the process and set intentions for the KAP sessions. This may be 1-2 sessions. 

Step 3

Next is the KAP dosing session. A typical ketamine dosing session lasts between 1-2 hours and will be at my office. During a dosing session, you will self-administer your ketamine lozenge during the appointment. You will be in a comfortable, reclining position wearing an eye mask and listening to calming music. Although a KAP dosing session may be largely an internal experience, Cathy will be present with you the entire time to hold space and provide support as needed.

Step 4

After the dosing session, the focus of the next couple of therapy sessions will be integration. Integration sessions involve reviewing the memories, thoughts, and insights that arose during your dosing session. We will spend time processing meaning found during the dosing session and allowing this to find integration with the rest of your life. We will also prepare for the next dosing session.

Step 5

Lastly, is a follow-up consultation with Journey Clinical. After the first KAP session, Journey Clinical’s medical team schedules regular follow-ups to monitor outcomes and prescribe ketamine lozenge refills, as appropriate. The frequency of follow-ups depends on each unique treatment plan, at a minimum of once per quarter.

Helpful Resources

1. Paradigms of Ketamine Treatment by Raquel Bennett, Psy.D. for MAPS

2. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP): Patient Demographics, Clinical Data and Outcomes in Three Large Practices Administering Ketamine with Psychotherapy - research study by Jennifer Dore et al, 2018

3. Ketamine for Depression and Mood Disorders by Erica Zelfand, ND for Townsend Letter

4. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy with Jonathan Sabbagh of Journey Clinical - Psychology Talk Podcast