Ketamine therapy, often known as Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP), is an innovative treatment approach combining the use of low-dose ketamine with psychotherapy. Administered under medical supervision, ketamine serves to temporarily alter consciousness, allowing patients to explore emotional and psychological issues more deeply. The therapy has shown promising results in treating a range of conditions, from major depressive disorder to chronic pain.

woman relaxing during ketamine assisted therapy

What is Ketamine Assisted Therapy?

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a relatively new and innovative psychiatric/psychological treatment approach for various chronic “treatment-resistant” mental/emotional conditions.

Ketamine is a Schedule III medication that has long been used safely as an analgesic agent and now, often effectively for the treatment of depression, alcoholism, substance dependencies, PTSD, and other psychiatric diagnosis as well as for existential, psychological, and spiritual crises and growth. Ketamine assisted psychotherapy involves the combination of ketamine administration in a safe and supportive “set and setting,” inner-directed and supportive psychotherapy, and ongoing integration.

Initial sessions will involve an evaluation of a patient’s:

  • Current problems, concerns, and needs
  • Prior history and review of current or ongoing treatment
  • Overall health/medical condition
  • And an assessment of the potential suitability and viability of this type of treatment for that patient.

By the end of the evaluation period, we will offer our clinical impressions and a recommended approach to treatment. The goals of therapy are always arrived at by mutual collaboration. These goals will be reviewed during the course of the treatment in order to assess and/or modify them according to changing needs, perspectives, and progress.

Experimental Session

Our engagement with each other is set for three hours. We will start by reconnecting with each other and then dropping into the space with a meditation. We will check blood pressure and pulse measurements before and after journeying as Ketamine can cause increased blood pressure.

The participant will be instructed to hold lozenge under their tongue for fifteen minutes and candy will be provided as the taste can be bitter. Participants will be mostly internally focused for 45 minutes and stay under the effects of ketamine for at least an hour.

We provide an anti-nausea medication prescription called ondansetron in case a participant experiences nausea during their journey. New participants will receive a lower dose during the initial session, as it is always better to start with a lower dose to reduce anxiety and become familiar with what a substance may produce in you. It is more difficult to correct a bad experience because of too high of an initial dose and the anxiety it may engender. Therefore, it is much better to have an initial learning experience.

Together, we are creating a state of mind in a safe and conducive setting.

Safety and Comfort

When it comes to any form of therapy, particularly one that involves altering one's state of consciousness, safety and comfort are paramount. At The Ho Tai Way, we prioritize these factors to ensure an optimal therapeutic experience. Ketamine assisted therapy is conducted in a controlled, serene environment, monitored by highly trained medical professionals.

Before starting treatment, a comprehensive medical evaluation is carried out to determine your suitability for KAP. This includes a review of your medical history, any pre-existing conditions, and potential drug interactions. This ensures that the treatment aligns well with your specific health profile.

During the KAP session, your physical vitals such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels are continuously monitored. The medical team remains vigilant throughout, ensuring that any adverse reactions are quickly addressed. Post-session, a thorough debrief occurs to discuss your experience and any concerns, and to plan for subsequent sessions. This rounded approach towards your safety and comfort sets the stage for effective, transformative therapy.

Emotional Insights and Transformations

One of the most significant benefits of ketamine assisted therapy is its ability to facilitate deep emotional insights and transformations.

When the mind is in an altered state due to ketamine's psychoactive properties, patients often find it easier to access and confront repressed emotions, traumas, or deeply rooted fears. This profound self-exploration offers the opportunity to reframe your experiences and make transformative emotional shifts that traditional therapy alone may not achieve.

Emotional barriers that seemed impenetrable can suddenly become porous, allowing for a new level of healing. Importantly, the context of a therapeutic setting ensures that these revelations are both safe and guided, enhancing their long-term efficacy.

When Ketamine Therapy Might Be Right for You

Ketamine assisted therapy is especially useful for individuals who have found little to no relief from traditional forms of treatment. This includes those struggling with treatment-resistant depression, severe anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and certain substance use disorders. 

  • Major Depressive Disorder: Provides immediate relief from depressive symptoms.
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Lowers the frequency and severity of episodes.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Helps in reducing compulsive behaviors and intrusive thoughts.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Assists in processing traumatic memories and experiences.
  • Suicidal Ideation: Provides quick relief from thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Addiction Recovery: Supports the recovery process from substance abuse by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Women, in particular, may find KAP beneficial, given that they often experience mood disorders differently than men and may not always respond to conventional treatments in the same way. The Ho Tai Way specializes in focusing on the needs of adult women, providing a tailored, empathetic, and effective approach to ketamine assisted therapy.

It's important to note that KAP is generally considered safe but isn't suitable for everyone. Individuals with a history of psychotic disorders or certain other medical conditions may not be good candidates. Consultation with healthcare providers experienced in KAP is essential for determining your suitability for this form of therapy.

When Ketamine Therapy Might NOT Be Right for You

While ketamine assisted therapy offers transformative opportunities for emotional and psychological healing, it's crucial to acknowledge that this treatment isn't suitable for everyone. Certain medical conditions and life circumstances can make KAP inadvisable. Below, we outline some specific contraindications that may exclude individuals from undergoing this form of therapy at The Ho Tai Way.

  • If you're not prepared for intense emotional work
  • Expectant or breastfeeding mothers
  • Unmanaged hypertension or other cardiovascular issues
  • Untreated or poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Experiencing acute mania or hypomania
  • Past or current psychosis or schizophrenia
  • Allergic reactions to ketamine or a history of ketamine addiction
  • Recent occurrences of traumatic brain injury
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea or respiratory diseases
  • History of bladder issues or cystitis
  • Prior or current addiction to ketamine

The Benefits of Ketamine Assisted Therapy

Ketamine assisted therapy offers several advantages over traditional treatment modalities for mental health conditions, particularly when standard therapies have proven ineffective. One of the most significant advantages is its ability to provide rapid relief. Traditional antidepressants can take weeks or even months to exhibit noticeable effects, while the benefits of ketamine can often be felt within hours to days.

Another benefit is its effectiveness in treating treatment-resistant depression. Approximately one-third of people with major depressive disorder do not respond to standard treatments. For them, ketamine offers a novel mechanism of action, targeting the NMDA receptors in the brain, different from the serotonin and dopamine pathways utilized by most conventional antidepressants.

Furthermore, ketamine's capability to help reframe traumatic or deeply embedded negative thought patterns during therapy is unparalleled. The dissociative experience it induces allows for a temporary detachment from one's usual mindset, offering a unique perspective on ingrained emotional issues. This enables individuals to engage more productively in psychotherapy, potentially making breakthroughs that could be elusive with traditional methods.

The Ho Tai Way provides KAP in a secure and supportive setting, focusing on the unique needs of women. Combining the innovative use of ketamine with personalized psychotherapeutic techniques allows for a synergistic effect that can catalyze genuine, lasting change.

The Ho Tai Way Difference

When it comes to ketamine assisted therapy, choosing the right facility can be the deciding factor in your treatment's success. The Ho Tai Way stands out for several compelling reasons, especially for women seeking a comprehensive, individualized approach to mental health treatment. Firstly, we are located in scenic Costa Mesa, California, between the Saddleback Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The natural serenity of the location itself plays a role in the healing process.

Our medical staff are not only well-versed in the clinical aspects of ketamine treatment but are also trained in holistic mental health approaches, including psychedelic integration therapies. This multi-disciplinary expertise ensures that your treatment is both safe and effective.

Moreover, The Ho Tai Way offers personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual. No two mental health journeys are alike; therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is often insufficient. The small, intimate setting allows us to provide focused, individualized care, facilitating a more impactful therapy session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the realm of ketamine assisted therapy may bring up several questions. In this Frequently Asked Questions section, we aim to provide clear, authoritative answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about KAP treatment.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication initially developed as an anesthetic and pain reliever. In recent years, it has gained prominence for its rapid-acting antidepressant effects. Administered in lower doses, it's increasingly used in mental health settings to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD, often when traditional treatments have failed.

What is Ketamine Assisted Therapy?

Ketamine assisted therapy is a therapeutic approach that combines the psychoactive effects of ketamine with psychotherapy sessions. The ketamine serves as a catalyst to facilitate deeper emotional processing and insight, enhancing the therapeutic outcomes.

How does it work?

Ketamine works by affecting glutamate, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in mood regulation. It helps create new neural pathways, effectively "resetting" the brain's emotional centers. This neuroplasticity allows patients to break free from destructive thought patterns, making it easier to benefit from concurrent psychotherapy.

What does it feel like?

The experience of undergoing ketamine assisted therapy can vary but is often described as a dissociative state. Patients might feel a sense of detachment from reality, enabling a deeper emotional and psychological exploration. The altered state of consciousness can facilitate a more profound connection with the therapy.

Is it effective?

Studies have shown that KAP can be highly effective, especially for treatment-resistant depression. Its effectiveness extends to a variety of conditions, including anxiety and PTSD, providing relief often within hours or days rather than the weeks traditional antidepressants take.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects include nausea, dizziness, and a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Less commonly, some people may experience anxiety or hallucinations during the treatment. It's crucial to undergo KAP under medical supervision to manage these risks.

How many KAP sessions do I need?

The number of KAP sessions needed varies depending on the individual's specific condition and response to the treatment. Typically, an initial series of 4-6 sessions is recommended, followed by periodic maintenance sessions. Always consult with a healthcare provider for a personalized treatment plan.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Are you intrigued by the potential benefits of ketamine assisted therapy but unsure how to proceed? Taking that initial step toward recovery can be daunting, but at The Ho Tai Way, we make the process as straightforward and comforting as possible.

From the moment you contact us, you'll be greeted by experienced professionals who can answer all your questions and concerns.

Our staff will guide you through an initial assessment, ensuring that KAP is the right fit for you. Once you're ready, you'll embark on a transformative journey toward better mental health in a serene, supportive setting.

Take the first step today and call The Ho Tai Way.

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