The Juniper Center is always working hard to find ways to improve the world of therapy and help clients in brand-new innovative manners. Many Americans struggle with anxiety and depression and they are frequently seeking help from professionals who can help them deal with the struggles of everyday life. While most individuals find relief through traditional medication and psychotherapy, there are others who may find it a bit more of a struggle to find the assistance they need to achieve positive changes in their lives. This is where the concept of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is introduced here at the Juniper Center and our very own, Laura Haberer, is here to answer some frequently asked questions that one may have about the world of KAP.
- What is KAP? How would you describe KAP to someone who has never heard of it before?
KAP refers to Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy and is a type of psychotherapy that is supported by the medicine Ketamine. When provided in a certain dose range, Ketamine can produce non-ordinary states of consciousness that can have profound healing effects. Not only do we know that Ketamine can have antidepressant effects on a biological level within the brain, but on a psychological level, non-ordinary states of consciousness can provide the opportunity for people to gain new insights and understandings within their lives that can prove very healing and helpful in assisting with changed behavior. In KAP treatment, a client will meet with a KAP therapist for preparation therapy sessions to prepare for these non-ordinary states, is then supported by the therapist’s presence during every medicine session and is then helped to integrate new insights and make meaning of their journeys through integration psychotherapy following each medicine session. At its center, KAP’s philosophy is that a person has within them the potential to heal and the KAP therapist and ketamine itself help the client to open up to that opportunity.
2. When and for whom might a clinician refer their client to KAP?
KAP has been approved for off-label use by the FDA for mental health issues and as such, has been used to help treat depression, PTSD, addictions, coping with anxiety, and psycho-spiritual growth. Both in clinical trials and anecdotally in practice, it has been most used to treat depression. Particularly when someone has tried multiple SSRIs and/or therapy for some time, KAP would be a good next step given its evidence in treating Treatment-Resistant Depression.
3. What makes KAP different and possibly more effective than other types of psychotherapies?
The main difference between KAP and other therapies is the opportunity to engage with deep personal growth granted by non-ordinary states of consciousness. With non-ordinary states of consciousness, someone’s defenses can be lowered, and provides the possibility of experiencing oneself and one’s consciousness in new and meaningful ways. There is a particular focus on the whole process being client-led and non-pathologizing. So even though of course people come to us with diagnoses, every attempt is made to be non-pathologizing and rather use the experience of the whole treatment as a means of healing in relationship with the self. Additionally, this is very much an experiential type of treatment. Of course, while we use language to help us make meaning out of the journey experiences, the journeys themselves are deeply felt experiences that can be a welcome and often needed experience in the context of our worlds that are dictated often by analysis. The opportunity to deeply feel peace, happiness, oneness, grounding, or love, among other possible emotions, cannot be understated.
4. What are your hopes for the KAP services that are being offered here at the Juniper Center for potential clients?
My hope is to reach the people who need KAP, who may have been suffering for a very long time. The philosophy behind this work is one of a deep belief in a person’s ability to heal and a desire to provide the right setting and support to allow someone to engage in that relationship with themselves to foster healing. I think a great metaphor for the providers in KAP, the therapists and prescribers, is that of a midwife. The birthing parent does all of the hard work to bring new life and a midwife is there to provide guidance at times, but predominantly to provide unconditional support as someone goes through something challenging but profoundly powerful and life-changing. My hope for this work is to be there to provide that support to people who are suffering but are so incredibly brave as to engage in the vulnerability of healing.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) that we offer at the Juniper Center, please contact Laura Haberer at 847-759-9110 or firstname.lastname@example.org