Ketamine-Assisted Therapy

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy combines traditional talk therapy with the use of ketamine in a safe and supportive setting. Ketamine is presently the only legally available psychedelic medicine (other than cannabis) for clinical use.

Ketamine-assisted therapy (KAT) is a unique therapeutic method used to address a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, addiction, and some forms of anxiety. It involves the use of ketamine to enhance and deepen the therapeutic process, and the use of psychotherapy and other integrative forms of treatment to amplify and prolong the curative effects of ketamine. *

In low doses, ketamine can serve as a supportive adjunct to psychotherapy, as it provides an opportunity for the temporary softening of the psychological defenses, allowing for deeper self-reflection and psychotherapeutic processing.

In moderate doses, ketamine has psychedelic effects, which have been shown to facilitate profound transpersonal experiences. These types of experiences can help people in a variety of ways, offering important clarity and insight into one’s struggles, adding a spiritual dimension to ongoing therapeutic work, and facilitating a sense of meaning and interconnectedness.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a psychoactive drug that was first synthesized in 1962 and has been used in the United States as an anesthetic in medical settings since 1970. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

Ketamine has been used off-label in sub-anesthetic doses for the past 20 years to treat chronic pain, depression, and a variety of other mental health concerns, thanks to its rapid onset antidepressant effects, sometimes providing nearly immediate relief from emotional and physical pain. While the antidepressant effects tend to be temporary after a single ketamine treatment, multiple treatments have proven to have a cumulative effect, successfully alleviating symptoms in approximately 30 – 60% of individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

Who qualifies?

Ketamine is used off-label for a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction.

Some medical and psychiatric conditions need to be treated before you can safely work with ketamine. These conditions include hallucinations, untreated mania, cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, increased intracranial pressure, cystitis, or evidence of liver disease.

FEES: Fees are discussed during the intake session and treatment plan is customized to each client’s needs. 

What to expect

I believe that each of us has the answers we are seeking for our lives. We all have access to an inner intelligence that wants to move towards discovery and healing. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be a powerful tool for accessing the answers, awareness, and insights that already exist within you.

I integrate ketamine treatments with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy with ketamine is the most effective treatment. The ketamine allows us to dive deeper, speeding up the process in ways talk therapy on its own simply cannot.  Each type of treatment on its own can have a positive impact. But it’s only the integration of the two that creates lasting, life-changing results.

We will start with a written intake in which you describe your symptoms and determine whether ketamine-assisted therapy (KAT) might be of benefit to you. If so, you will meet with me for a few preparatory sessions before meeting with a prescribing physician for an initial consultation and psychiatric assessment. If you qualify you will continue to work with me to prepare for your KAT session. There will be a minimum of three preparatory sessions before your first KAT session. In some cases, more than three sessions may be essential to your treatment.

I work in partnership with physicians, psychiatrist, and psychiatric nurse who provide medical monitoring and supervision. I consult regularly with clients’ primary medical and mental health care-providers (If applicable), and, when appropriate, I provide referrals for other treatment options.

The ketamine session itself typically lasts 2-3 hours. I will be with you throughout the ketamine session. While there are many possible routes of administration, I primarily work with sublingual lozenges. The effects begin to appear after about 15- 20 minutes, peak for about 40 minutes, and dissipate over the following 1-2 hours. Positive impacts on mood have been shown to last over the following days and sometimes weeks.

After your first KAT session, you will have at least 2 integration sessions in which I will help you integrate your experience during the ketamine session, discuss how you responded to the medicine, and determine an individualized course of treatment moving forward. I recommend a commitment to at least 3 ketamine sessions, as this medicine tends to have a cumulative effect and is most beneficial after multiple treatments. Please contact me directly for more detailed information and to answer any questions you might have.

The psycholytic and psychedelic aspects of psychotherapy can provide:

  • A beneficial “time out” from ordinary mind and reality (and habitual patterns of thinking and perceptions)
  • Profound shifts to more positive perspectives on the self, relationships, and one’s place in the larger world
  • More positive outlooks on challenging life situations and relationships
  • A decrease in negative or obsessive thoughts and negative self-talk Increase in self-esteem and self-compassion
  • An enhancement of creative problem-solving abilities
  • Greater motivation for lifestyle or behavior changes
  • Relief of existential anxieties and a potential for greater spiritual curiosity 

Olga M. Vera, PhD, LP

Dr. Vera is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 24 years of experience in the mental health field.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy combines traditional talk therapy with the use of ketamine in a safe and supportive setting.  Ketamine is presently the only legally available psychedelic medicine (other than cannabis) for clinical use.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can help reduce impulsive or destructive behaviors, regain control of your emotions, become more effective with others and handle crisis and distress better.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies.

Hakomi uses mindfulness and the innate wisdom of your body to safely recall and reexamine past experiences; uncover hidden core beliefs that shape your life; and open new life possibilities and choices.

Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy—Relationships can be difficult to navigate, even under the best of circumstances! Despite any challenges, we are wired for connection. It is in a secure, loving relationship with another person that we experience the best version of ourselves.