Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP), also called Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy (PAT) and known informally as Psychedelic Therapy, includes the professionally supervised use of ketamine as part of psychotherapy programs (known as Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT). In California, ketamine is the only legally accessible psychedelic treatment available outside of clinical trials at this time.
PAP is a treatment method in which specific pharmacological actions temporally induce modifications in brain functioning and conscious experience. When appropriately mediated, these can be deeply meaningful experiences that elicit specific emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes. The combination of psychotherapy with psychedelics can be an experience with positive long-term mental health consequences.
Ketamine is a Schedule 3 drug and can be prescribed by a physician or a nurse practitioner in collaboration with a physician. Although ketamine can be purchased online, we recommend that our clients contact Resilience Integrative Wellness, with whom we collaborate. At Resilience Integrative Wellness, ketamine is administered by a nurse practitioner, typically intravenously or via an intramuscular injection. (Note: Affirming Therapy Center does not prescribe, sell, or administer ketamine.)
What is PAP treatment like?
The patient first attends a number of preparatory therapy sessions where goals and expectations are explored.
When the patient is ready, the ketamine is administered. If the ketamine is administered at Resilience Integrative Wellness, the patient can arrange for our therapist to be present during the procedure to help the patient understand, process, and record the experience.
Afterwards, the patient attends integration therapy sessions, where the psychedelic experience is examined and analyzed.
What are the effects of ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative psychedelic. This dissociative effect allow the patient to zoom out and observe their lives from a different vantage point. It can feel like your mind is separated from your body, and may cause unusual physical sensations, emotions, visual effects, and mystical experiences. These effects are often described as relaxing and pleasant experiences; however, they can also be difficult or uncomfortable. Working with a therapist to help make sense of these experiences can help distill meaningful takeaway messages that allow healing and releasing of past trauma and areas of struggle.
What if I have a bad trip?
Psychedelics are non-specific amplifiers. This means that there are no good trips or bad trips. Yes, there may be very challenging psychological and physical experiences that appear during a psychedelic-assisted therapy session, but with the right support, such experiences usually lead to deeper healing and integration, helping us turn toward and better understand things we may have suppressed.
Your therapist is a neutral, witnessing presence to what is happening and can be an anchor while you ride the waves of your experience.
What should I expect after treatment?
Each of us is unique and each responds differently to both Ketamine and to therapy. Ketamine is not a miracle worker – but with the help of a qualified service provider, ketamine is a highly effective tool that can allow patients to connect with parts of themselves they may have been cut off from and access the brain’s innate ability to heal itself.
Although the effects of just one infusion may not be long-lasting, studies have shown that a series of six infusions within a two-to-three-week period increases the efficacy of treatment.
As with all therapy at Affirming Therapy Center, the goal is a happier and more fulfilled you.
Note: In the state of California, Ketamine requires a prescription and is illegal for recreational use; other psychedelic drugs are not legal, including MDMA (aka Ecstasy and molly), LSD, Mescaline, and DMT. Certain municipalities have moved to decriminalize psilocybin and psilocin such that psilocybin therapy could be provided. If you are unsure, please contact a medical professional and an attorney.
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