Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)


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What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a therapeutic approach that combines ketamine administration with psychotherapy sessions to enhance the treatment process. This method involves several stages: preparatory sessions to set goals and build rapport, controlled administration of ketamine, therapeutic sessions guided by a therapist during the ketamine experience, and follow-up integration sessions to incorporate the insights gained into daily life. By leveraging the psychological and neurochemical effects of ketamine, KAP facilitates deep emotional processing and psychological exploration.


What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a versatile medication known for its use as a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it induces a trance-like state to help treat trauma and injury. Recently, lower dose (sub-anesthetic) ketamine has shown great promise in the treatment of mental health conditions. Its mechanism of action involves blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, which play a critical role in pain perception, mood regulation, and neuroplasticity.

Woman in white shirt with low bun, finding therapy in serene setting.

Benefits & Applications of KAP


Treatment-Resistant Depression

KAP has shown significant promise in treating patients who do not respond to traditional antidepressants.


PTSD & Trauma Recovery

KAP can help patients process traumatic memories and reduce PTSD symptoms.


Anxiety Disorders

It may also be effective in reducing symptoms of various anxiety disorders.


Chronic Pain

KAP can help manage chronic pain conditions by altering pain perception and addressing the psychological components of pain.

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Catherine Alvarado Office Chair

Key Aspects of KAP

Preparation: Before ketamine is administered, individuals typically undergo preparatory sessions to establish goals, set expectations, and build rapport.
Administration: Ketamine is administered in the office in sublingual form. Effects of the medication typically appear within 10-30 minutes with peak effects lasting up approximately 25-60 minutes.
Therapeutic Session: During the ketamine experience, I will be present and you will never be left alone. 

Integration: After the ketamine session, individuals engage in follow-up therapy sessions to integrate the insights and experiences from the ketamine session into their daily lives. This step is crucial for the long-term effectiveness of the treatment.


Medication Management

Skylight Psychedelics is a physician owned and operated organization that prescribes ketamine to patients with various mental health conditions who meet criteria for treatment. Individuals are evaluated by Skylight physicians. If eligible, your medicine will ship directly to you to be brought to the office for administration on the day of our KAP.


Research on KAP

  • 2019 study explored patient demographics, clinical data and outcomes in three large practices administering ketamine with psychotherapy. Findings suggest that KAP is an effective method for decreasing depression and anxiety.  Learn more here.
  • Another 2019 study explored repeated oral ketamine for out-patient treatment of resistant depression through a randomised, double-blind, pacebo-controlled, proof of concept study. The results suggest that add-on oral ketamine may hold signifcant promise in the care of patients suffering from TRD in the community. Learn more here
  • 2021 study used randomized controlled trial of repeated ketamine administration for chronic PTSD. Findings  significantly greater improvements from ketamine groups. Learn more here


Frequently Asked Questions

What is ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP)?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that combines the use of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, with psychotherapy. It involves administering ketamine in a controlled environment under the guidance of a trained therapist to facilitate emotional exploration and psychological healing.

What conditions can ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treat?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy has shown promising results in treating various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and treatment-resistant mood disorders. It can also be beneficial for individuals seeking personal growth and insight.

How does ketamine work in psychotherapy?

Ketamine works by modulating neurotransmitter systems in the brain, particularly glutamate, which is involved in mood regulation and cognition. In psychotherapy sessions, ketamine can help lower defenses and increase receptivity to therapeutic insights, allowing individuals to explore difficult emotions and experiences more deeply.

Is ketamine-assisted psychotherapy safe?

When administered by trained professionals in a clinical setting, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is generally considered safe. However, like any medical treatment, it carries some risks and potential side effects. These may include dissociation, changes in blood pressure or heart rate, and psychological discomfort. Your therapist will closely monitor your experience and take steps to ensure your safety and well-being throughout the session.

What can I expect from ketamine-assisted psychotherapy?

Treatment typically begins with a separate session to conduct thorough assessment, discuss your goals, concerns, and medical history.

The actual KAP session involves receiving a dose of ketamine with your therapist. You may experience altered states of consciousness, heightened emotions, or insights during the session.

Afterward, there is often a period of integration where you reflect on and process your experience with your therapist.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

If you feel this approach could benefit you, connect with me so we can discuss further and determine next steps.