washington dc

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

IFS-informed therapy to prepare for and integrate your ketamine experience

When swimming against the current of emotional pain and anguish, relief can seem unattainable. All you want is to heal, feel calm, and establish a sense of belonging in the world. 

When we peel back the layers of common issues like depression and anxiety, we can see that trauma is often at the root of distorted thinking, behavioral patterns, and obstacles to optimal mental health. Though trauma is traditionally characterized as a big, life-altering event, the truth is that any stressor that creates a sense of overwhelming fear or helplessness has the potential to be traumatizing. 

In recent years we’ve seen a shift towards more holistic frameworks of mental health and wellness, an embrace of treatment approaches that go beyond the conventional talk-therapy model. The current psychedelic renaissance is part of this embrace, with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy being at the leading edge of that shift. Even though ketamine have proven to safely target symptoms of depression and PTSD, these treatments are much more effective when paired with the guidance of a psychotherapist. 

ketamine-assisted psychotherapy

In the last two decades, Ketamine has been increasingly used off-label to treat various chronic and treatment-resistant mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other conditions. And while a psychiatrist can prescribe ketamine to use on its own, the integration of psychotherapy in ketamine-assisted treatment can provide lasting relief to symptoms that may otherwise be resistant to medication. 

Because ketamine can help you feel more relaxed and less agitated by ordinary concerns, ketamine-assisted therapy can help you shift your perspective, disrupting negative belief patterns and ruminations. Such a disruption may lead to important insights, resulting in significant improvements in your overall well-being

Our Process

KAP treatment begins with an assessment from the prescriber with whom I partner, Avesta Ketamine & Wellness, who will determine if based on your symptoms, you could benefit from ketamine-assisted therapy. 

Together, we will design a treatment protocol that best fit your needs. The usual sequence consists of 2-3 preparatory therapy sessions before Ketamine infusions start, 6-8 infusions with therapy sessions in between them, and 2-3 integration sessions after your last ketamine appointment.

During preparatory sessions we will explore any questions or concerns about the treatment as I walk you through the process. We will also gather important aspects of your story and set intentions to help you ground this experience. 

During the integration process, we will use Internal Family Systems (IFS) to help you understand and integrate the parts of yourself that create inner turmoil. And because IFS, along with ketamine-assisted therapy, revolves around creating harmony and new perspectives, you are likely to deepen your sense of compassion toward yourself and those around you. 

 

what does a KETAMINE infusion feel like?

Depending on the dose of ketamine and for how long you receive the infusion, you may experience :

  • being more aware of how your body feels
  • quieting of the mind
  • feelings of love and gratitude
  • feeling connecting to the Universe/God
  • reliving past experiences from a different perspective

Our Framework

Weeks one - three

Preparation

  • Introduction to IFS and its application within expanded states
  • Exploration and mapping of the different parts of yourself 
  • Set, setting, safety, and harm reduction
  • Intentions, resourcing, and practices
weeks four - eight

Treatment

  • Ketamine infusions (usually 2 per week)
  • Ongoing therapy sessions every week
  • Immediate integration practices
  • Documenting of the experience
weeks eight - ten

Integration

  • Mind mapping individual/collective experience
  • Exploration of insights, themes, and lessons
  • Translating content into meaningful shifts and practices
  • Long term integration practices
Parts Work

We’ll be fusing different healing modalities during your treatment to prepare for and integrate these experiences. 

A conversation with the parts of yourself that might be needing care and attention. 

An invitation to connect to your body to access inspiration, healing, and connection.

An exploration of the interconnectedness of our individual and collective wellbeing.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and concerns

You will work with your prescriber to establish if this could be a beneficial approach for you. And if you decide to move forward with the treatment, I will make sure to answer all of your questions in the preparatory therapy sessions.

This is a common concern. The goal of the preparatory sessions is to ensure that you feel safe, and we can strategize how to cope if and when painful memories come up. One of the main benefits of ketamine-assisted therapy is that it can help you process trauma from a safer more connected place. 

Great! This work usually complements more long-term therapy approaches. Clients have the option to continue with their regular therapy sessions or pause that work and resume with their regular therapist after integration. 

The cost for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is $200/session. This is independent from the cost of infusions, as set by Avesta Clinics

This type of treatment is certainly an investment, but it can be an important one. Ketamine-assisted therapy is goal-oriented and time-limited in nature, so you’ll likely spend less in the long term than you would on other more long-term treatments. 

You can email me (mara@thehealingexhale.com) your question and I’ll do my best to answer it. We can also schedule a free consultation to explore what you’re looking for and whether we’d be a good fit to work together.