What Is Ketamine?
Why Ketamine, KAP?
How Do I Use It In My Practice?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. It’s one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine. And it’s used in many hospitals and medical offices because of its rapid onset, proven safety, and short duration of action.
Believe It Or Not, Our Brains Can Hijack Us
In the Triune Brain model, there are three distinct portions of the brain.
The mid portion is the Limbic System or Paleomammalian Complex. This is the part that initiates the “fight, flight, freeze” response to danger. It performs a very fast subconscious evaluation and response system designed to keep us safe. It bypasses our neocortex where we can rationally process decision making.
Because of this bypass, sometimes the limbic system gets the cues wrong—when there is no actual danger but the body is thrown into stress response anyway, a hijacking! From chronic low-grade anxiety or full-blown panic attacks, to feeling down or major depression. Over time this creates powerful dysfunctional neural pathways that are hard to recognize or break free from. A maladaptive limbic system may be the key to why our mental health can be so difficult to improve.
How Ketamine Helps
Ketamine can interfere with the part of our brain that is creating the distress. When these dysfunctional neural pathways are shutdown we are free to experience what if feels like to be safe, comfortable, at ease, even hopeful. We are able to access our rational neocortex. With the help of ketamine, an environment is created in our brain that nourishes the creation of more helpful neural pathways. We can actually begin to “rewire” our brains towards wellness.
New neural pathways are very weak and must be strengthened by repeated use. They can fail to replace deeply entrenched dysfunctional patterns of thinking or behaving because the entrenched patterns are more like a giant neural cable, compared to a new pathway’s thread. By doing repeated sessions over a period of months, we give your brain the best chance to integrate, and strengthen the new insights for lasting, fundamental shifts toward health. I believe my therapy is unique because I pair KAP with Somatic Psychotherapy which also works in the limbic system. These therapies, together, strengthen the possibility of durable, life changing, and healthy neural pathways.
What Does A KAP Session Look Like?
I facilitate the client’s ketamine “journey” in a specific set and setting in my office. It usually includes headphones with music from a specific playlist, eye mask, and a comfortable recliner.
Clients dissolve the prescribed ketamine tablet in their mouth at the beginning of our psychotherapy session. The client simply observes what comes up during the ketamine experience. We process insights and find ways to integrate what may have come up during the journey. Sessions are usually scheduled for two hours.
Eligibility for KAP is decided by the physician we collaborate with. I do not prescribe, dispense, administer, or store ketamine. The ketamine prescription, dosage, administration, and rout of administration are between the client and their licensed medical provider.