Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Have you tried to alleviate symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, or trauma, only to find little relief or intolerable side effects? If you find yourself stuck, you may be interested in exploring the potential benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP). 

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) at MHCA

KAP, offered at MHCA, leverages the benefits of traditional IV ketamine while providing a personalized, IV-free, ketamine treatment. Our KAP treatment program is overseen by a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Additionally, a licensed counselor who is specially certified in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy personally assists each patient throughout their individual treatment sessions to ensure both medical oversight and therapeutic support.

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What is Ketamine?

Experience ketamine therapy

For those unfamiliar with ketamine, here’s a concise overview of its historical context and its application. Ketamine, developed in the 1960s, has primarily functioned as a potent anesthetic for surgical procedures in both pediatric and adult patients. Additionally, it has proven effective as a battlefield analgesic during wartime. In recent times, the FDA has authorized its “off-label” use to address psychiatric conditions that have shown resistance to conventional treatment methods, including medication and psychotherapy.

Ketamine has demonstrated its potential to deliver swift alleviation of major depressive symptoms, including suicidal thoughts, for many individuals. Nevertheless, the extent and duration of symptom relief vary among patients. Some may achieve lasting relief with only a few administrations, while others may necessitate ongoing maintenance doses to sustain symptom alleviation and achieve remission. It is important to note that, akin to other mental health modalities, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is not a fix-all. The client’s continued personal efforts, such as lifestyle adjustments and ongoing integration therapy, play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of KAP and the duration of the observed improvements.

What is the cost for KAP?

  • KAP Program Package (basic) – $2,075
    • Medical Intake
    • 4 KAP Treatments
  • KAP Program Package (Premium) – $3,200
    • Psychological Evaluation
    • Medical Intake
    • 6 KAP Treatments
  • Additional Individual Options As-Needed
    • Initial Therapy Session with KAP Licensed Provider ($175)
    • Additional KAP Treatments ($450 ea)
    • Follow-up Psychiatric (Medical) Appointment ($150)
    • Post Treatment Individual Therapy ($175 ea)
  • We provide a 10% discount for all first responders (active or retired).

* MHCA participates in a wide variety of health plans to serve our patients. If you have any questions related to health insurance acceptance or covered services, click here for more information.

What is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy like?

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in a cozy room with natural artwork

The purpose of the sub-lingual ketamine lozenge sessions is to generate a non-ordinary (altered) state of consciousness that facilitates a profound transpersonal (transcendental, mystical, spiritual, religious) peak experiences. Robust anti-depressant, or other (PTSD, anxiety, etc.) benefit often occurs over time with repetition of administration of the lozenges.

You will be assigned a therapist who has received training in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). The therapist will meet with you for 1-3 sessions prior to administration of ketamine. This is to allow for rapport building and creating a safe space for you prior to experiencing ketamine treatment. The ketamine experience may prove to be auspicious in resolving your existential problems, accelerating your psycho-spiritual growth, and leading to a deep personal transformation and optimization of your lifestyle, consequently improving your quality of life. Such change is best facilitated within a structured supportive psychotherapeutic milieu in connection with a facilitator who understands your concerns, hopes, goals, and struggles.

After the total amount of KAP sessions, you will engage in integration sessions with your KAP therapist. Guidance and insights often arise in KAP sessions, regardless of circumstances (i.e. KAP trainings or individual KAP work); therefore, it is important to have psychotherapeutic support available for processing and for meaning-making in the days and weeks subsequent to your KAP experiences. The sub-lingual lozenge sessions with accompanying psychotherapy may well be your successful strategy with ketamine.

We typically ask new patients to commit to three sublingual ketamine sessions and then be reassessed to determine the next treatment steps which may include an additional three KAP sessions. This promotes familiarization with the molecule (ketamine) and its associated experiences and will amplify therapeutic benefits. Your KAP experiences will be unique to you and each of your sessions will be different. The number of sessions varies based on personal needs and treatment responses and each session evolves from your own being in relation to the ketamine molecule. Each journey will vary in intensity; while it is encouraged to form a general intention, you are also encouraged to hold onto intentions loosely and allow each session to unfold. When we hold on to our intentions or expectations too tightly, we tend to resist relaxing into what is unfolding. This resistance is the primary source of anxiety in this and other related journeys. A ketamine session can be light, dark, or both. There will be concepts, visions, encounters, and you may well deal with your own death, mortality, and immortality. Some journeys are enjoyable and filled with awe and some are difficult, but everyone grows from their experience.

How does Ketamine work?

The current, most probable, understanding of ketamine’s mode of action is as an NMDA antagonist working through the glutamate neurotransmitter system. It is classified as a dissociative anesthetic. This is a very different pathway than that of other psychiatric drugs such as the SSRls, SNRIS, lamotrigine, anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines, etc.

Ketamine is classified as dissociative anesthetic, dissociation meaning a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual self. At the dosage level administered to you, you will most likely experience analgesic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, and psychedelic effects. Ketamine also may bring about “transpersonal,” “mystical,” or “out-of-body” experiences that may also serve to facilitate a shift in your perspective and emotional state.

While more recent work has demonstrated the possibility of an antidepressant response to low dosages of ketamine administered intravenously, intra-nasally and sublingually (orally) that produce minimal psychedelic effects, this effect tending to be more sustained with repeated use—in other words, a cumulative effect—it is our view that psychedelic, ‘dissociative’ experience is instrumental in providing a more robust effect. This may include a positive change in outlook and character that we term a ‘transformative’ response.

Essential to KAP is the concept of a time-out from usual daily experience; this time-out period being of varying duration, usually 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the dose and administration. Relaxation from ordinary concerns and usual mind, while maintaining conscious awareness is characteristic during KAP. This tends to lead to a disruption of negative feelings and obsessional thought patterns.

KAP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is KAP contraindicated for some people?

Ketamine is generally regarded as safe for most adult patients, and it’s commonly used as an anesthetic for pediatric patients as well. However, it’s important to note that in this specific context, it may not be suitable for individuals with a history of uncontrolled high blood pressure, a previous myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, or an aneurysm, as it has the potential to increase blood pressure. Additionally, it’s typically not administered to clients who are currently experiencing manic episodes (such as those with bipolar I disorder) or individuals with thought disorders (like schizophrenia) due to the need for further research in these cases. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.

How do you administer medication?

Here at MHCA, we provide Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) through sublingual ketamine administration. This approach enables us to tailor your treatment and dosage according to your specific symptoms and your individual response to the medication. Your treatment is personalized to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

What if I have a psychiatric provider or therapist already?

During your Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) sessions, if there’s a need for adjustments to your medications, we’ll work in collaboration with your current healthcare provider to ensure your treatment plan aligns with your needs.

After the initial 1 or 2-week KAP treatment sessions, you will resume working with your existing psychiatric provider. For some individuals, occasional maintenance KAP treatments may prove beneficial to sustain symptom remission. In such cases, we will coordinate with your current or established psychiatric provider to ensure a cohesive approach to your care.

We strongly encourage all of our clients, whether they were engaged in counseling before starting KAP or not, to continue therapy. Integration therapy, both during and after KAP, holds a pivotal role in this treatment modality. Furthermore, ketamine has been shown to promote neuronal synaptic branching, or neuroplasticity, post-treatment, making therapy a vital component to maximize the benefits of these new synaptic connections.

It’s essential to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the combination of medications, including ketamine, along with ongoing self-exploration through therapy, significantly enhances the likelihood of achieving long-term symptom reduction and relief. Your overall well-being is our utmost priority.

Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) covered by insurance?

It’s important to note that Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is presently not covered by insurance, primarily because it is considered an “off-label” use according to the FDA. This designation stands in contrast to a mounting body of research and evidence supporting its effectiveness. At MHCA, we strive to assist you in every possible way. In some cases, we can provide you with a super bill, which you can submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement. Please keep in mind that coverage may vary, but we are committed to helping you navigate these aspects of your care.

Can I drive after taking or receiving Ketamine?

After your scheduled KAP session, which typically lasts between 2 to 2.5 hours, please note that you won’t be allowed to drive immediately afterward. It’s important to arrange transportation to and from the clinic on the days you undergo KAP in advance. However, you can safely and legally resume driving and your regular activities the day following your KAP sessions. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.

How does Ketamine work?

Ketamine is distinguished by its unique mechanism of action, setting it apart from the majority of psychotropic medications available in the United States. It primarily targets glutamate receptors, specifically the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Glutamate plays a pivotal role as an excitatory neurotransmitter, influencing various neurological functions, including memory, learning, anxiety regulation, adrenaline release, and aspects of sleep. Ketamine acts by antagonizing or blocking the transmission of glutamate receptor signals.

Furthermore, ketamine finds applications in specialized medical contexts for managing chronic and severe pain conditions. Ongoing research focuses on understanding how and why ketamine is effective in treating these conditions, as well as exploring its potential utility in addressing other medical conditions.

Take The First Step

Complete this brief form to schedule your commitment-free assessment at our convenient Phoenix or Mesa locations, or call us at (602) 704-2345, and our helpful staff will assist you.