Let’s Talk Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy!

Are you seeking Ketamine Therapy? Many people are currently looking into Ketamine therapy for depression, PTSD, and other mental health-related issues, as the research has shown some very promising results. The following article will help you better understand Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy or KAP, which is when you pair Ketamine therapy with psychotherapy for longer-lasting and potentially more impactful results. This article will discuss the benefits of KAP and how it differs from Ketamine IV infusions, so that you can make an informed decision about your health care and get the most from your mental health treatment.

Benefits of Ketamine Treatment

Recently people are talking about the benefits of psychedelic medicine to treat a variety of mental health conditions. Ketamine has emerged as a promising treatment for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression and some other mental health conditions for the following reasons:

  • Safety: Ketamine therapy is very safe when administered in a controlled, supervised setting.
  • Effectiveness: Ketamine has a high degree of effectiveness at helping people suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Ketamine treatment has helped many people transform themselves from living in despair to re-engaging with the world and living a happy, productive life.
  • Speed of efficacy: Unlike traditional antidepressants that can take weeks to kick in, Ketamine therapy often works within hours. This rapid onset of action can be life saving for those in the throes of a mental health crisis.
  • Potential for long-term efficacy: Ketamine treatment can facilitate a path to long-term healing by targeting the brain’s glutamate system and promoting neuroplasticity: the brain’s natural ability to form new connections and adapt.

IV bag

Common Treatment Approaches

There are currently two major in-clinic approaches used to treat mental health conditions with Ketamine: Using Ketamine alone or using it in tandem with psychotherapy and spiritual care.

Ketamine IV Infusion

In one approach, patients are connected to an IV Ketamine infusion in a clinic setting with their vital signs monitored by medical staff and do not receive any type of therapy support.

Research has shown that experiencing the effects of Ketamine alone (without therapeutic support) can positively impact mental health; however, it may not be ideal.

In these settings, clients are often provided with no preparation and no follow up to help them make sense of the experience and therefore can be left feeling confused or as though something is lacking in the process. They may experience a rush of valuable personal insights during their medicine infusion but then leave without making any kind of interpersonal connection or having the opportunity to discuss the many insights they experienced during the session.

One client described their IV Ketamine session as “difficult,” saying, “It wasn’t the Ketamine that was so hard. It was the fact that I was really emotional, and the only reason anyone talked to me was because I was crying.” The client reported that the attendant who checked on them expressed their own shock at what came up but was not prepared or skilled enough to hold space for the client to discuss it further in that moment.

A select few outpatient therapists are trying to mitigate this problem by educating themselves on the use of the medicine so they can be part of the preparation and follow-up process for the benefit of their clients. However, this is not an integrated model because often the therapist and the prescriber rarely communicate with each other about the client’s treatment.

ketamine therapy room at the Lotus Center
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

By contrast, the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) model offers a higher level of support to clients before, during, and after medication administration.

KAP blends Ketamine therapy with a supportive environment, a collaborating team of professionals to create a holistic healing experience, and psychotherapy to prepare you and help you integrate insights from your medicine journey.

The team of professionals may include spiritual chaplains, physicians, nurse practitioners, compassionate medical technicians, and psychotherapists working together with a shared commitment to your wellbeing. Ideally, the team trains in facilitating psychedelic journeys and helping you assimilate all that you’ve learned, and the team’s goal is to support you though your journey as well as help you integrate the insights and revelations that commonly arise during your journey.

In the KAP model:

  1. The therapist spends time helping you prepare for the journey by setting an intention relating to your clinical goals.
  2. You’re accompanied by a caring professional that sits with you while on your journey. Imagine settling into a cozy setting with music specially chosen to enhance the experience and a skilled professional by your side, providing personalized support and guidance throughout the Ketamine journey.
  3. Following the Ketamine therapy, the therapist helps you process insights from the session and integrate what you’ve learned into your everyday life, fostering lasting changes in how you think, feel, and relate to the world around you.

This collaborative approach ensures that your experience aligns with your unique emotional and therapeutic needs.

When considering the long-term impact, the KAP model aims to produce lasting benefits by helping you weave the insights from your Ketamine therapy experience into your ongoing therapy and your life, resulting in deeper, more sustainable healing.

ketamine therapy healing medicine quote

Case Study

One client, “Kerry,” was very depressed which made it hard for them to get to work on time. They began calling in sick and were eventually fired from their job. They lived with their parents and slowly began to isolate themselves. Their brothers and friends noticed that they spent less time with them and were spending more and more time alone in their room. When those close to them asked personal questions, they told them they just felt tired and retreated even further into isolation, avoiding contact with them. In therapy, they complained of feeling powerless and felt helpless to change their life and their situation. They slowly began to descend into a spiral of depression and despair. The more they isolated and stopped taking part in activities they enjoyed, the more they wanted to be alone in their room to sleep.

Their therapist recommended Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy. “Kerry” considered it for several weeks before deciding to try it. Next, they began to prepare for the KAP treatment with their therapist. After a few Ketamine sessions and weekly discussions with their therapist, they began to re-engage. Within a few months their family and friends noticed that they were joining them again. Eventually, they began talking about the future in an optimistic way, making plans, getting out of their room, and getting out of their house. They began to smile again, and their progress began to spiral upward, giving them improved confidence. Six months later, they had a full time job and began dating.

The KAP Model Maximizes the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy

In the landscape of mental health treatment, the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) model emerges as a beacon of comprehensive care and lasting healing. The KAP model not only offers relief from symptoms but also fosters profound insights and sustainable changes. At The Lotus Center our established KAP program embodies this interdisciplinary approach, ensuring that you receive the utmost support and benefit from your Ketamine journey. While KAP may not be suitable for everyone, it stands as a powerful tool in the arsenal of mental health treatment, promising transformative outcomes for those seeking integrative medical care.

If you are interested in learning more about Ketamine therapy and whether or not you might be a candidate, please make an appointment for evaluation with one of our APRNs by calling 385-272-4292.

Written by Pat McGuinness, CMHC


Kincaid, Kate and Montjoy, Jennifer. (2021, July 13). Ketamine Therapy vs Therapeutic Ketamine Infusion. Psychedelic Support.

Scroll to Top