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GUIDED KETAMINE
THERAPY

The most progressive type of treatment available for depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues

  • Do you struggle with unrelenting depression that has failed to respond to multiple forms of medication or other treatment?

  • Have you found it impossible to face trauma history or seek help for PTSD?                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Have you made progress with therapy for trauma or other issues, but feel ready for the next step in healing?                                                                                                             

  • Are you motivated to maximize your psychological and emotional growth in a safe, legal, controlled, and supportive setting?​

What is ketamine? How is it safe?

Ketamine is an FDA approved substance that's historically been used as an operative anesthetic, but has also been demonstrated as safe across a wide range of applications. Ketamine is now being used as a medication that alleviates depression and chronic pain for extended periods with cumulative use, as well as a vehicle for an altered state of consciousness that facilitates psychotherapy for trauma and other mental health issues. The Center for HBH is thrilled to now offer preparation, guided ketamine therapy, and integration services through Wellward Medical

 

Ketamine's ability to change consciousness occurs through its mechanism as a dissociative anesthetic, meaning that it creates some degree of detachment from one's usual sense of self.  At high enough doses, this can range from a near-death experience to temporary but complete detachment from identity also known as ego dissolution. While research shows that reaching this state often has great benefit to well-being afterward, it can often be terrifying at the time. In contrast, Wellward Medical physicians are neither using high doses that would create a very frightening experience, nor a sedated dosing approach (common to many ketamine treatment facilities) that treats depression pharmacologically, but allows no therapeutic work. Using an individualized, therapeutic dose administered either through  IV infusion or intramuscular injection--both with vital sign monitoring--the result is a dissociative effect that is mild to moderate, and one that can typically be managed by re-connecting with the therapist and the reality of the room. 

How does guided ketamine therapy work?

Although dissociation may sound unpleasant at any level, the ketamine effect at this dose actually tends to be enjoyable. Although ketamine is a synthetic substance developed in a lab, it can have an entheogenic effect like many plant-based medicines, creating feelings of self-compassion and spiritual connection.  The key thing to understand about the benefit of a dissociative effect is that it disrupts what's known as the brain's Default Mode Network (DMN)--the collection of our individual identity patterns, beliefs, wounded parts, and other ego constructs. In other words, the DMN is our pervasive and fundamental sense of selfhood, and that which keeps us feeling separate from others or something broader than the tangible world. 

By allowing you to somewhat disidentify with the fixed psychological orientation of the DMN in a safe and supportive setting, new connections about trauma, identity, or outlook can be developed through a ketamine sessionInterestingly, the connections aren't always totally clear during the session, but instead may become evident over the ensuing days and weeks. For this reason, combining the treatment with a more comprehensive therapeutic approach such as Internal Family Systems (which fundamentally works with the DMN), crafting an intention for each session, and doing follow-up integration sessions makes ketamine treatment maximally effective.  You may wonder how a synthetic substance could be as effective for healing as a plant-based medicine, but experiences and observations suggest that the ''Self'' proposed within the Internal Family Systems model--a compelling force that drives us toward wholeness--guides the effect through the vehicles of intention, preparation, and integration. Consider that setting an intention can be very effective when we use it in any capacity because the Self responds; now consider that ketamine and other psychedelics become super-boosting tools for intention because the Self is assisted by their abilities to challenge the fixity of the ego. 

 

Regardless of how your therapeutic experience plays out, your brain will benefit in a straightforward pharmacological way from the effects of ketamine on the midbrain, where it has a boosting effect on all the transmitters of well-being. For example, with a series of ketamine treatments alone, you can experience significant relief from even profound depression. However, with the addition of psychotherapy, you can face your issues with support, and even begin challenging aspects of your identity or narrative that were precursors or coping responses to that depression. While the ketamine administration itself isn't covered by insurance, the psychotherapy before, during, and after is billable to most major insurance plans.

 

The ketamine experience feels and plays out differently for everyone, but generally, you're likely to feel slightly less psychologically burdened with each treatment session, and significantly less burdened after several. 

 

Can I use ketamine while taking other medications for mental health?

 

Certain health conditions are contraindicated for ketamine use, but because ketamine acts on NMDA (glutamate) receptors rather than serotonin receptors, it has the distinct advantage over some other psychedelics (such as psilocybin and MDMA) of being safe to use if you already take an SSRI or SNRI medication for depression, anxiety, or other symptoms. This avoids the dilemma of having to taper off these prescribed medications beforehand and potential associated ''discontinuation syndrome'' effects, which have been known to continue affecting people even after they have a positive psychedelic macrodosing experience. GABA receptor agonists such as Lamictal or the benzodiazepines can also be used safely along with ketamine if the dose is adjusted accordingly.

 

Trying guided ketamine treatment may seem overwhelming or intimidating, but you'll receive support from start to finish, with assistance from the Wellward Medical Patient Navigator (to discuss an overall plan, including cost), establishment of a safe relationship in therapy sessions prior to actual ketamine treatment, and a physician's oversight of all the medical aspects. 

As the therapist in the process, I would be honored to hear your story and facilitate your change.

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     Guided ketamine therapy in Lexington, KY