Ketamine Journeys/ Treatments with Ami Grace, Lcsw (805)234-2573 Holistic Therapist, Psychedelic Journey Guide and Ketamine Assisted Therapist
Thank you for your interest in doing guided psychedelic therapy with me. I am honored to be your guide, holistic therapist and healer for the course of your treatment. These are some helpful facts and information about Ketamine and Ketamine Assisted Therapy (KAP).
What is Ketamine?
While ketamine is an off-label medication, and therefore is not approved to treat specific conditions, the use of ketamine has shown in various clinical trials to be beneficial in alleviating symptoms associated with anxiety, depressive symptoms, PTSD, addictive behaviors and chronic pain. It is a dissociative, and at the right doses acts as a psychedelic medicine which is a powerful tool for healing deep rooted issues.
How Does Ketamine work?
Ketamine was FDA-approved in 1970 and is considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. The safety profile is such that it is commonly used as an anesthetic for children. Currently, ketamine is the only psychedelic substance available outside of research for use in clinical practice. Over the last decade, medical providers have successfully used ketamine in out-patient settings for the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions.
When our brains are healthy and functioning properly, excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters are generally able to keep the body and nervous system balanced. However, when neurons remain in an excited state for too long – from stress, anxiety, PTSD, etc., they can become overstimulated and start to function poorly.
Ketamine works partly by decreasing activity through the limbic system, the location in the brain that processes fear and pain and is seen as the reptilian ancient part which is in charge of the flight-fright-or freeze response, so we can experience certain thoughts and emotions without stress or anxiety. It also stimulates the natural process of brain plasticity, with growth of new branches and connections between brain cells. This facilitates decreased cognitive rigidity and increased flexibility in thought, feeling, and behavior.
With the correct mindset, setting, and intention, Ketamine therapy has the potential to offer valuable personal insight and alleviate chronic pain and psychological distress.
What is the experience like?
Ketamine can induce a trance-like state that results in a consciousness-expanding psychedelic experience, as well as a deep relaxation of the body. Many feel a renewed experience of the Self, and a sense of relief from the restrictive conditioning of the past. The journey can encourage a feeling of unity with something larger than one’s ordinary consciousness. Some of the effects of Ketamine can include a sense of awe, a positive mood, altered perception and cognition, increased presence, and paradoxically being aware of everything that exists and spirit world, as well as your place in this life which helps you see your very existence as meaningful.
What is Ketamine Assisted Therapy ?
KAP is exciting new approach to therapy that differs from traditional methods. KAP combines ketamine with talk therapy in order to enhance the effectiveness of both. The therapist can help you address underlying emotional or mental blocks that hinder you’re your long term growth. With your KAP therapist, you can identify your entrenched behavioral patterns, get to the root of the problem, and design a path to move forward. Ketamine provides a space to explore other, new perspectives to the same problems and issues you face daily or even from the past. Most clients carry relational truamas from their pasts, and being supported and guided by a therapist can create a corrective relational experience, ultimately strengthening the amount of positive effect that Ketamine can have on your mental functioning. By working with the KAP therapist, it allows you to move past barriers and defense mechanisms that your psyche has put up in response to trauma or stress.
What would my typical Ketamine Journeys look like?
For my in home office journeys this will require a brief medical evaluation for safety and appropriateness of Ketamine for you with Dr. Ken Starr, MD in Arroyo Grande. He can do this visit virtually if you prefer. He can be reached at: email@example.com. The phone number is: Ken Starr, MD Wellness Group (805)250-6426. After the evaluation he will determine the correct dosage per journey. I recommend starting at 250mg and going up to 300mg for each treatment/ journey. So if you book 4-6 journeys make sure you discuss how many lozenges you would like total. (18-20 recommended for a typical Ketamine course of treatment). A that time we can re-evaluate your progress.
Plan on scheduling three hours, start to finish (we sometimes can finish in 2.5). I reserve this amount of time to go over any concerns, issues and your intentions for the medicine. Before we start, we discuss your treatment goals as my job is to keep you in alignment with your goals and to help you explore new perspectives and re-patterning so that treatment goals are met with your Ketamine sessions working culmulatively.
Clients come to my home office in SLO for their Ketamine sessions at their scheduled appointment time where it is a relaxed and comfortable setting. Make sure that when you schedule your journey you can clear your calendar the rest of the day (or at least two hours after) as usually you are feeling very relaxed and somewhat groggy one hour after. I think having a safe ride home is important as you may feel groggy after the medicine. So please make sure you an ensure your safe ride home before we start so that you don’t have any extra worries while in the journey.
Before the journey, make sure to fast and not to drink any liquids 3 -hours before hand, this will keep your body light and also eliminate the need to use the rest room during the journey. The medicine is taken and it starts to take action in about ten minutes, and at this time you lay down on the journey pad, place your Mindfold on (you can buy these special eye shades for psychedelic journeys on Amazon for $12 or use mine as an option). I usually include a pre-ceremony (includes sage smudging of darker energies to clear out darkness and leave room for the light, asking ancestors or loved ones to be here in spirit, bringing special items for the alter which is totally optional). This is the time where we sit and focus on your intentions for the Ketamine, as setting clear intentions is imperative so your journey is beneficial and a powerful healing can take place. It is best to be in a neutral mindset coming into Ketamine. However, I have also seen clients who have just experienced trauma or extreme stress or anxiety and they have had effective and fruitful journeys as well. Ketamine is a positive, supportive medicine, only taking you where your subconscious will do the most healing. At just the right dose, we dialogue most of your session about what is coming up for you.
The medicine will take hold and you will relax into a blissful, dissociative state where information, memories, insights, imagery and downloads can start happening and usually will. This is where the part of the brain which holds these traumatic memories or feelings is placed aside so that there is a buffer to looking at them and resolving them without stress, anxiety or disturbance in the body. The trauma can be released this way, the depression and anxiety can be released and new perspective shifts can happen. I take notes and we go over them in a scheduled integration session which is highly recommended to allow for the full benefits of Ketamine Assisted therapy.
Depending on your issues and treatment goals and how much we would like to re-pattern and release, I may opt to utilize EMDR a modality helpful in reprocessing old patterning and trauma by holding tappers in your hands while in the medicine. We can discuss the benefits of using EMDR while in Ketamine as in my experience, EMDR helps solidify new patterns and release/reprocess old traumas which hold us back and serve as obstacles to our healing. EMDR is also working with the neuro-plasticity state the brain is in while on Ketamine-which allows your healing to be amplified and the results to be even more long-standing and profound.
What research has found to be the most helpful in eliminating or greatly reducing depressive symptoms, PTSD, traumas and anxiety are 4-6 Ketamine treatments with Ketamine Assisted Therapy.
The Cost Breakdown:
- Ken Starr, MD Medical Evaluation and Prescription: $195 (one time only fee unless re-evaluated medically)
- Cost of Ketamine Lozenges: $30-$50
- Cost of Pre-Ketamine Assessment/ Preparation Session if not existing client of mine: $175 (If ongoing client then $160)
- Cost of Ketamine Assisted Therapy/Guided Psychedelic Journey with pre-ceremony, Ketamine medicine journey, and 30 minutes integration after session: $250 per hour (most Ketamine sessions last 2.5)
- Integration Session 55 minutes: $175
*Most clients like to leave their Ketamine Lozenges with me for storage for their sessions so they do not have access to them for personal usage and to make Ketamine sessions run smoothly so medication is not forgotten for their session, etc. I would be happy to safely store them for the course of your treatment. We can discuss this option before your first journey.