Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT)
Plum Spring Clinic offers Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT) as an integrated component of our holistic treatment programs.
Over the last 70 years, research into the role of psychedelic substances in the treatment of a variety of mental health problems has demonstrated their effectiveness – often in double blind and randomized studies. Ketamine is currently the only legal medication capable of inducing the non-ordinary states of consciousness that are associated with the positive responses seen in these clinical trials.
Many clinical sites now offer ketamine intravenous infusions for treatment resistant depression (TRD). In these settings the use of ketamine is focused on its biochemical or pharmacologic effects.
At Plum Spring Clinic, ketamine is part of our holistic approach to treatment.
Many studies suggest that careful preparation, attended experiencing, and supported processing of the ketamine ‘journey’ can result in profound insights and be a unique and powerful tool in the resolution of trauma. We offer the ketamine experience, attended by a physician or coach, as an element of a broader ‘envelope’ of skilled support for healing traumatic stress.
In our experience, unresolved trauma is a major factor underlying the complex illnesses suffered by the majority of our patients, most of which have not responded to conventional medical therapy. The ketamine experience has the capacity to induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness that can safely reach the roots of trauma and open the psyche to the work of releasing or transforming the trauma. We know that this work can alter the core physiological imbalances that have resulted from chronic stress, enabling the body and mind to heal.
The Plum Spring Clinic Ketamine-Assisted Therapy protocol includes:
- a medical evaluation by Dr. Sharp or Dr. Withrow to ensure you qualify for use of the medication;
- preparatory coaching session or sessions with your attendant;
- experiential sessions or journeys with ketamine administered either sublingually, intranasally or via intramuscular injection;
- Integration coaching between ketamine sessions during which the material from your journey is explored to maximize its benefit to your health and wellbeing.
Our KAT program is informed by the non-pathologizing healing orientations of Somatic Experiencing, polyvagal resilience, and Internal Family Systems, as is all our work. This blended orientation allows KAT to be useful in conjunction with any or all components of our other functional medicine programs.
A note on the preparation of the Plum Spring Clinic KAT team
Dr. Sharp has completed training with PRATI and Polaris Insight Center in the use of attended ketamine sessions, in combination with integration counseling, to accelerate the healing process. Our KAT attendants and integration coaches are not psychotherapists. Rather, they are trained as coaches in a mode of compassionate presence to the individual patient and their unique healing process. We know it is this unwavering and sensitive presence that allows for the nervous system of the patient to feel safe and accompanied into the journey of discovery that is healing. In alignment with the foundational Plum Spring Clinic belief, our coach-attendants’ guiding principle is respect for the innate healing intelligence at the core of each patient, which we recognize as the true healer.
The skillful focus of our staff ~~ physicians and coach-attendants ~~ recognizes the patient in the driver seat of their healing journey. You are in charge, and the process goes at your pace. We work with what you want to work with, utilizing the following elements:
- Deep listening;
- Asking questions that encourage you to make kindly contact with wounded or alienated parts within;
- Opening your story or stories as much as your inner protective system allows;
- Acknowledging and honoring the woundings;
- Welcoming and celebrating the discovery of authentic parts and true nature of the self.
We recognize that there may be occasions when a referral to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist may be indicated.
Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Resources
- Download our Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Manual
- Schedule a free welcome call to discuss this form of therapy
- Download our Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Informed Consent Document
- Download our Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Statement of Ethical Commitment
For a good discussion of Internal Family Systems and Ketamine-Assisted Therapy, see this video: