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Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy: 
What is it and how does it work? 

Ketamine has been used as a dissociative anesthetic since 1970. Because ketamine is considered a dissociative anesthetic, it allows opportunities for people to disengage from their usual ways of feeling, thinking and being. These periods of non ordinary states of consciousness provide for larger amounts of material to work with in the context of the psychotherapeutic relationship. Some people who have experienced ketamine have made significant therapeutic progress in a shorter period of time than with other traditional psychotherapy practices. 

At low doses, this effect produces shifts in awareness, perspectives, tremendous feelings of joy, pleasure, and openness towards oneself, and their life situation. Worries and anxieties which usually accompany ordinary mind can shift and sometimes lift.  The utilization of these experiences and shifts of mind are further engage in the integration phase of treatment with psychotherapy as this helps to cement and make actionable change. 

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a form of Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy, which is being studied within institutions such as Johns Hopkins, NYU, Stanford, Ketamine Research Foundation and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. 


The benefits and field of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy have been increasing in popularity, especially following the recent release of Spare in which Prince Harry mentioned his utilization of psychedelic therapy while processing his grief.

As a legal, safe and effective medicine being used to treat a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, existential distress, grief and PTSD, benefits following a KAP session can be seen sometimes within 1-2 hours following treatment with efficacy rates significantly higher than medication or therapy alone. 

Studies revealed ketamine’s antidepressant effects with the FDA approval of eskatamine/Spravato (a nasal spray) for refractory (treatment resistant) depression in 2019. 

Ketamine can be administered in a variety of ways, including IV infusion, intramuscular injection, via nasal spray and using sublingual lozenges -- in our treatment together, we will use sublingual lozenges, prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner after medication consultation and approval. 

Ketamine is currently the only legally available medication that may produce a psychedelic effect that can be used in psychotherapy in New York State. 

Further details and assessment, such as whether this may be a good treatment modality for you, as well as a medical assessment are discussed on an individual basis with the additional component of a medical screening consultation provided by a collaborating MD or NP. 

Clients must engage in therapy with LIW Collaborative prior to seeking out KAP services for relationship and rapport building as well as participating in in depth therapeutic assessment. Typically this means at least 4 prior psychotherapy sessions with Whitney and then engaging in a medical screening and consultation to determine any health factors before engaging in a medicine session. 

KAP sessions are scheduled in person and for 3 hours. Each person is responsible for securing a ride home following treatment. Whitney will provide eye shades, music and a light snack following a KAP session. Integration sessions to discuss what arose during your KAP session are scheduled within 1 week and can be done in person or via secure video platform. 

KAP at LIW Collaborative

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