Ketamine Assisted Therapy (KAP)
I offer a therapeutic modality called Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) in partnership with an organization called Journey Clinical. Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a holistic modality in which ketamine is used as a complement to psychotherapy to help eligible patients experience more frequent breakthroughs and sustained improvement in symptoms. I take on the psychotherapy portion of the experience, while Journey Clinical’s medical team supports you on all medical aspects. This includes determining eligibility, developing a custom treatment plan, prescribing the medicine and monitoring outcomes. Below is more information about KAP to help you determine if it may be a good fit for you.
What is Ketamine?
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 antidepressant and mood-enhancing effects, which can begin to take effect within 1-2 hrs. after treatment and last for up to 2 weeks. It works by blocking the brain’s NMDA receptors as well as by stimulating AMPA receptors, which are thought to help form new synaptic connections and boost neural circuits that regulate stress and mood. Ketamine has also been shown to enhance overall neuroplasticity for lasting symptom improvement.
Ketamine can be administered in a variety of ways, including IV infusion, intramuscular injection, via nasal spray and using sublingual lozenges. In my work with Journey Clinical we only use the sublingual lozenge form.
How Does Ketamine Feel?
The effects of ketamine, which most patients find pleasant, last for approximately 45 minutes. These effects can make you feel “far from” your body, and facilitate shifts in perception that can often feel expansive in nature. Your motor and verbal abilities will be reduced, so you’ll be lying down in a comfortable position during the experience. Once these effects have subsided, we’ll spend the remainder of our appointment giving you space to process and discuss your experience. While it may feel hard to articulate what happened during the experience, patients feel like the insights gained are none-the-less clear. Studies have shown that the benefits to mood and neurological growth can last up to two weeks after the Ketamine experience.
How Does KAP Work?
I. Schedule Initial consultation with Journey Clinical
You schedule an initial evaluation with a clinician from the Journey Clinical medical team via zoom. They will go over your medical and psychiatric history with you, provide education on the treatment and determine if you are eligible for KAP.
If Journey Clinical’s medical team determines that you are eligible for KAP, they will develop a personalized Ketamine prescription and outcome monitoring plan for you.
Journey Clinical’s medical staff will write a ketamine prescription for you, and a small amount of oral ketamine will be sent to your home (enough for the first 2 KAP sessions). You will be taught to take your vitals and self-administer the ketamine lozenges by Journey Clinical’s medical team in advance of our KAP sessions.
II. Preparation Sessions
Once you receive your ketamine lozenges, we will schedule time together for our KAP preparation, dosing and integration sessions. Preparation session(s) will be scheduled just like regular therapy sessions prior to the KAP dosing session. The goal of a preparation session(s) is to review the process and set intentions for our KAP sessions together.
III. KAP Dosing Sessions
A typical ketamine dosing session lasts between 2-3 hours and is conducted remotely via telehealth.
During a dosing session, you will self-administer your ketamine lozenge in your home. 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, I will be present with you the entire time to hold space and provide support as needed.
IV. Integration Session
After our KAP dosing session, we will meet for multiple integration therapy sessions to review the memories, thoughts & insights that arose during your dosing session. We'll review the treatment plan and decide when and if we'll schedule the next dosing session.
V. Follow-up Appointments with Journey Clinical
After our first KAP session, Journey Clinical’s medical team schedules regular follow ups with you to monitor outcomes and prescribe ketamine lozenge refills, as appropriate. The frequency of follow ups depends on your unique treatment plan, at a minimum of once per quarter.
What is Journey Clinical?
Journey Clinical is a platform for licensed psychotherapists to incorporate evidence-based psychedelic therapies in their practice safely and effectively. Journey Clinical’s in-house medical team takes on patient eligibility, prescriptions and outcome monitoring, while I take on the therapy. Their collaborative care model is designed to deliver personalized treatment plans to meet your individual needs and improve long-term outcomes.
Additional KAP Resources
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
Ketamine for Depression and Mood Disorders by Erica Zelfand, ND for Townsend Letter
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy with Jonathan Sabbagh of Journey Clinical - Psychology Talk Podcast