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Debunking the Stigma of Ketamine Therapy for Healing

Ketamine therapy is very clinical, sterile, + not “organic” or “ceremonial”

I’ve always struggled with the word “therapist” because of its perceptions. One may imagine a room with a leather couch and a doctor with a notepad asking: “How Does that make you feel?” This isn’t what it looks like in my office or my therapy. I’ve worked as a therapist for 13+ years and in the ceremonial culture for 9+. I’ve trained with master teachers and incorporated lessons I’ve learned into the work. We all have an inner healer that can bring itself toward healing when the conditions are right. Using ritual, intention-setting, sound instruments, attention to detail in the office space, and somatic Internal Family Systems training, my approach is very psychedelic--even before you take your first dose.

Ketamine is only a party drug + not for healing

I’ve seen it at parties; maybe you have, too. But just as with any other psychedelic, there is a BIG difference in the effect of the substance when you consider the set + setting and the facilitator holding the space. In a controlled, safe, soft, inviting clinical stage, ketamine can support insights and closeness in couples again. It can lift the pain that may be blocking an individual or team from seeing the root of the issue and in their way to love, connection, and sexual health optimization.

When ketamine is done in a recreational/party setting, there isn’t a particular intention set for an individual to focus on. There is also the lack of control of the environment, including sound, interactions (both wanted and unwanted) with other individuals, and distractions from being able to be with one's mind, thoughts, and feelings. All of which may impact one’s ability to clarify their needs, blocks, and desires.

You’ll go into a K-hole and can’t talk to anyone.

It can look strange and uninviting when you first see someone in a K-hole at a party. Dazed, vacant looking, like, “Why the hell would I want to do that?” A K-hole is a powerful dissociative state one goes into when taking too much recreationally. When you are in a clinical setting, this is unlikely. A well-trained clinician will be able to support you in the process at the proper dosage you need to do that work safely.

If I am working with a couple, I may give them a lighter dose so they can continue talking with me and the other partner. This creates a space of openness and vulnerability that is quite beautiful. If they feel that they’ve taken more than they can talk aloud, they can recline back and be more inner-reflective until they are ready to speak and interact again. I am present and attentive to my client's needs the entire time.

Ketamine does not have a benefit for sexuality

I’ve had many colleagues and friends tell me this: “I don’t find ketamine sexual. Isn’t it dissociative?” At larger doses, sure. In smaller quantities, it can support alleviating trauma-related symptoms, pain, depression, anxiety, and fogginess so that an individual can more clearly see the release of what may be inhibiting their sexual expression.

Ketamine creates the spaciousness to allow the client to be with their bodies without dysregulation (especially for clients who have an aversion to being connected there).

Many who take antidepressants experience sexual problems as early as the first week following treatment. These problems are usually physical, such as erectile dysfunction in men, vaginal dryness in women, and limited ability to achieve an orgasm in both genders. Ketamine works differently than traditional antidepressants like SSRIs and, as a result, does not have the same side effects that impact sexual functioning.

PLUS, many individuals from my Sex + Psychedelics Survey report feeling bodily connection, partner connection, turned on, pleasure in their body, and even energetic orgasms.

Ketamine-assisted therapy is expensive

I get it. You look at a ketamine-assisted therapy package's price tag, which can be a shocker. “Why would I pay that when I can just go to a ketamine clinic, order it online, or go to regular therapy?” Research shows that ketamine therapy, combined with psychotherapy, is more effective for long-term change than ketamine clinics or ketamine taken alone. A well-trained therapist can support you in your process, from preparation during the session to integration. They can ask questions that facilitate self-reflection and meaning-making. They can help you identify how to transform the lessons into actionable steps for lifestyle change. While the price tag of ketamine-assisted therapy can appear expensive at first glance, the cost of traditional talk therapy over time can be equivalent to or even more costly than a complete treatment of ketamine-assisted therapy that can have results over just a few sessions.

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