Our Psychedelic (Ketamine)-Assisted Psychotherapy Program
Developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic and analgesic (pain relief) agent and currently listed as a Schedule III drug, ketamine is legal for "off-label" use by licensed medical professionals for various treatment-resistant mental health conditions. Ketamine is considered a very safe medication when administered under proper medical oversight. A growing body of research demonstrates that ketamine treatment incorporated with a robust psychotherapy integration program can be a powerful tool in the therapeutic treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, grief and loss, substance dependencies and other psychiatric conditions. Our program utilizes psychotherapy in conjunction with ketamine treatments to promote optimal therapeutic outcomes.
Located in Tucson, Arizona, at Cathexis Psychedelics we believe that psychotherapy integration is the cornerstone to KAP treatment. During a ketamine therapy session, people often have profound experiences filled with symbolism and insight, much like a vivid dream. Integration work can promote the binding of these insights and experiences, enabling the client to utilize them towards advancement of their therapeutic goals. Our licensed counselors use a variety of psychotherapy approaches including, Sand Tray Therapy (Sandtray Therapy), mindfulness, CPT, and others.
What Makes Our Treatment Program Unique?
At Cathexis Psychedelics, psychotherapy integration is the cornerstone of our ketamine therapy program. A Licensed Professional Counselor will be at your side throughout the ketamine experience to offer support and guidance, and will provide psychotherapy integration immediately after each ketamine therapy treatment.
While ketamine does have pharmaceutical effects (increase in Glutamate and decrease in hippocampal GABA, as well as promoting neurogenesis), metaphorically, the medication can be thought of as a "doorway" while integration is where the work really shines. It is theorized that the pharma effects of the medication promote memory recall via increasing the conductivity of neuro-synaptic connections (the glutamate) while decreasing the emotional reactivity to such memories (the GABA effect), and in a way gives us access to the unconscious/repressed without the same emotional load in which those memories are fused.
Much like how dreams work, ketamine becomes accessible to our conscious mind briefly in a way that allows us to process the content and make meaning of the experiences without being emotionally overloaded. This is where integration work with a competent and trained therapist comes into play. Also like dreams, if processing does not occur immediately after treatment the client runs the risk of forgetting key moments of experience, and losing the opportunity to apply the insights therapeutically.
Set and Setting
Research time and again confirms the anecdotal evidence that set and setting are vital for best outcomes not just for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, but for many kinds of mental and physical health treatments.
Set, short for mindset, describes the state of mind a client holds prior to and during a ketamine therapy treatment. The therapeutic work done by the client and counselor prior to each treatment is designed to help the client achieve an optimal mindset going into the experience. This includes an openness to accept whatever the ketamine experience delivers, the willingness to "lean into" the difficult parts, and self-permission to enjoy the pleasant parts with a sense of awe.
Setting refers to the environment in which a person undergoes the experience. This includes not just the physical environment, but also the security a person feels with those present during the session, and the sounds and smells of the environment. It is crucial that the client feels safe, comfortable, and supported throughout the experience.
At Cathexis Psychedelics, we believe in a customized approach to "setting", tailored to the individual needs of each client.
Intention vs. Expectation
Ketamine can be a powerful therapeutic tool, but it must not be mistaken for a magic pill. It has the potential to offer profound insights which may benefit clients greatly, and research suggests that it may help restore mental pathways that are often shut down from prolonged anxiety and depression. However, it is not reasonable to expect that a few ketamine sessions will resolve all of a client's mental health concerns.
Rather, ketamine can be immensely useful in elevating a client's therapeutic progress to the next level. That is why it is important to understand the difference between intention and expectation.
During the ketamine experience, a client's inner wisdom is free to provide insights that the individual may not be equipped to receive outside of an altered state of consciousness. This is why it is said that ketamine gives a person what they need, and not necessarily what they want.
Therefore, rather than expecting something from the experience (the ketamine will get rid of my depression), it is better to have intentions of what you hope to work on during the altered state (I hope gain insight which will allow me to no longer feel ashamed of my depression).