What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?
KAP is a powerful, transformational treatment modality. Ketamine disrupts ordinary consciousness, and can help to shift one’s thinking out of out of cycles of habitual negative thoughts and emotional states. Like repaving a street, it is thought that ketamine clears out the ruts, providing a smooth surface to move forward in a different direction, instead of getting stuck in the same old paths. Importantly, KAP can help to facilitate profound transpersonal and mystical experiences. Such experiences can offer important clarity and insight into one’s struggles, add a deeper dimension to ongoing therapeutic work, and facilitate a sense of meaning and interconnectedness.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication that has been used safely in medical settings for over 50 years. It was initially approved as an anesthetic in 1970, and has been used off label (meaning there is no FDA indication) for procedural sedation and analgesia since that time. The first study to find that ketamine is effective for depression was conducted in the year 2000. Since then, it has been used off label for depression and other psychiatric ailments amid mounting evidence that it is a safe and effective treatment for these conditions. Interestingly, it is considered to be the only legal psychedelic medicine available in the United States.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Ketamine’s mechanism of action is complicated. It works on a variety of receptors, but its most potent effect is through antagonism at the NMDA receptor. This action causes a surge in glutamate, which is the most abundant neurotransmitter in all vertebrates. Glutamate is involved in learning and memory formation, and stress reactivity. There is an accompanying release of BNDF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), also known as “miracle grow for the brain,” which promotes neuroplasticity, synapse formation, and is necessary for the anti-depressant effect of ketamine.
What Does the KAP Process Look Like?
Initially, all prospective KAP clients will meet with me and a consulting physician for an intake and evaluation. If deemed eligible for treatment, clients will receive a few preparatory sessions where we will discuss what to expect from the KAP sessions, set intentions for what psychological material will be addressed during KAP, and explore possible challenges that may come up. After the preparatory sessions are complete, the KAP and integration sessions take place. Integration sessions occur in between KAP sessions and are an opportunity to deepen and integrate understanding and insights gained during the KAP sessions.
Does My Insurance Cover KAP?
Your insurance plan may cover the medical screening, preparatory, and integration sessions, but KAP sessions are not covered by insurance plans at this time. Additionally, coverage may depend on your specific policy and if I am considered an in-network provider. We are happy to provide you with a superbill for you to submit to your insurer for out-of-network reimbursement (if eligible). For more information about insurance plans I'm in-network with and details regarding out-of-network benefits, please see the related section on my Rates and Payments page.