Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a process whereby the effects of a dose or multiple doses of ketamine are accompanied by psychotherapy. This process generally has two approaches: the first includes sessions whereby a mild, sub-psychedelic dose of ketamine is used as a kind of catalyst for the psychotherapeutic process; that is, it facilitates dialogue between the individual and their therapist. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can also refer to a therapeutic process that involves longer immersive sessions whereby a full psychedelic dose of ketamine is administered for the purposes of a more internal, visionary experience. These sessions are typically accompanied by a number of preparatory and integration sessions.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy with MDMA and psilocybin?
Though they are not fully approved yet for treatment, Health Canada has recently issued a statement with the intent of revising the Special Access Programme, which allows individuals to access other regulated substances for the treatment of various health issues if other means have failed. We are in the process of collecting the information of potential candidates for applications for these treatments, should the revision to the SAP go through in early 2021.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy?
It is a broad term that encompasses a number of different approaches and protocols using psychedelics, and which has been practiced in the Western medical model since the 1950s. Though psychedelics like LSD showed promise as therapeutic agents in those early years, a period of prohibition starting in the 1960s and through the early 2000s significantly hindered the research and development of these modalities.
The last decade has seen a significant body of encouraging research supporting the efficacy of PAP for a number of mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD. Though most psychedelics are still regulated substances, the legal and medical landscape is changing quickly, and more treatment options are starting to become available to the general public.
What is Psychedelic Harm-Reduction and Integration (PHRI)?
It does not involve the prescription, administration or supervision of psychedelic drugs or experiences; rather, it represents the support that a therapist or coach might provide to an individual who has had or intends to have psychedelic experiences on their own, outside of therapy. For example, an individual who is interested in using psilocybin mushrooms to help them quit smoking may seek the support of a PHRI therapist to help them plan for experiences they undertake on their own, to minimize risks and increase the likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes, including through integration sessions following these experiences.
PHRI therapists do not refer clients to underground therapists, and are in no way involved with the sourcing of psychedelic substances, nor do they conduct therapy while individuals are under the influence of psychedelics.
What is ketamine?
Ketamine was initially developed as a surgical anesthetic in the 1970s, and continues to be used today for this purposes in hospitals. It is a well-tolerated, safe medicine from a physiological perspective that also has psychedelic and dissociative effects at certain doses. It also has a rapid antidepressant effect.