And What Kind of Therapy Works Best
What is ketamine?
Ketamine is an FDA approved dissociative anesthetitic. Dissociative means that at certain doses, ketamine can make you feel a temporary sense of disconnection between your mind and body, and from your normal reality, memory, and sense of identity. Ketamine is increasingly used at sub-anesthetic doses (doses lower than used for putting you to sleep) because of its effectiveness in rapidly improving treatment resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.
It is used by ER doctors to treat suicidal patients because depression is associated with low levels of a brain signaling molecule called glutamate, and ketamine causes a surge in glutamate levels. It was used in treating injured soldiers on the battlefields in the Vietnam War.
The World Health Organization has designated it as an "essential medication".
What does ketamine feel like?
Taking ketamine can make you feel dream-like, detached, disconnected, relaxed, happy, confused and nauseated. You may feel like you are observing yourself from the outside.
Ketamine can also alter your perception of time and space, make you hallucinate (see or hear things that aren't there), and temporarily stop you from feeling pain.
We recommend you only take ketamine under the guidance of a
SLIP trained physician or therapist due to the potential risks of taking a medication that can be disorienting and to increase it's ability to help you heal the underlying causes of your depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
How is our approach better?
Our therapy matches the problem with the solution.
Some clinics provide medication only, but this is no better than "self medicating" or "tripping." If people were able to use psychedelic medication on their own to heal their issues, then the people who do that would get better. Without proper guidance they are only able to achieve temporary relief.
Some larger medical tech companies provide "sitters" who do an initial virtual call or two with you, thanking you for sharing, but are unable to provide the support you need to address the subconscious link between the traumatic memory and the ANS response.
Numerous complaints are popping up as people feel they have wasted their money and struggled with long wait times. Read more about the dangers these companies present
(Image Credit: Michelle Urra)
Our medical provider not only prescribes the medication, but also provides the ANS Somatic Integration Therapy, a unique and innovative tool that helps safely access and heal deep mental and emotional wounds. ANS-SIT is the only type of treatment that facilitates healing at the level of the subconscious autonomic nervous system. Each treatment takes 1.5-2 hours.
Medication, talk therapy, EMDR, cognitive and behavioral therapy, work at the level of the rational mind and are not ideal for processing profoundly stressful events. In fact, these therapies may trigger buried traumas and have no way to effectively address the automatic fight or flight response that happens after being triggered.
SLIP (Somato-Limbic Integrative Psychotherapy) works at the level of the damage that has been done to your nervous system from severe stress and trauma. The fight, flight or freeze response that at one point helped you survive, causes a lifetime of torture when it gets stuck in your subconscious connected to profoundly stressful events and trauma.
SLIP allows you to heal these subconscious connections while growing new brain cell pathways so that you can properly process the stress response, and move on to experience life with a new sense of safety, freedom, and happiness.
What about Mindbloom and other online medical tech companies?
We don't recommend this approach to your mental health. These services provide medication but no real guidance. This is more suited for people who just want to trip on ketamine; not for people who want to work out deep emotional scars.
According to a recent article published in Vice, "After an online screening process, clients are set up with a nurse practitioner who determines dosing and takes a medical history. A person chooses a “guide” (who is not necessarily a mental health clinician, according to clients) to check in with before and after each at-home ketamine session, but clients can proceed unguided after the second session, former clients said. There are group “integration” circles included, where people discuss and process their experiences—but one-on-one integration costs extra." (
Some people and have tried Mindbloom, but switched because they felt they got
improper dosing or inadequate supervision, and others felt the service they provided was even dangerous. There have also been complaints that they were billed more than they expected, and never spoke to a doctor. Find out more about that by reviewing their google reviews. (Image Credit: Michelle Urra)
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be seen by a medical doctor when being evaluated for medical therapy because of the potential risks and side effects. Without proper therapy, people are unlikely to be able to overcome the emotional pain at the root of the problem and relief is temporary at best. Without proper guidance, taking ketamine can be no more than "tripping."
What ketamine is not.
Ketamine is not a stand alone treatment for mental health.
Alone, ketamine causes a surge in neurotransmitters (molecules your brain cells use to send messages to each other), often resulting in an immediate improvement in mood. When the effects wear off, people feel happier than before treatment.
This happiness can be short lived however, without somatic therapy, which helps you release deep mental and emotional wounds that are constantly at work below the surface, creating feelings of unhappiness, despair, nervousness, anxiety, fear, and sometimes numbness, lethargy, depression, and suicidality.
Because your emotions operate in the background and are resistent to logic and reason, an experienced therapist is needed to help you get the most improvement during each treatment.
Without proper dosing and supervision, people can find themselves using ketamine purely because it makes them temporairly feel better, without the healing that creates a lasting improvement. If navigating your subconscious was easy, you would be able to do it alone and automatically without falling into depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, with the complex mental capacity that we have as humans, sometimes our rational minds cannot comprehend how to navigate mental and emotional scars. A skilled SLIP therapist however, can help you process the old wounds while ketamine creates an envirnoment rich for learning new life skills and gaining significant insights. (Image Credit: Erick Senteno)
Why talk therapy and cognitive and behavioral therapy don't work.
They don't address the autonomic nervous system triggers associated with proufoundly stressful events.
Studies have shown that cognitive and behavioral therapy do not help with stage 3 and 4 stress/trauma. These experiences are not connected to rational thought. The scars are linked to the emotional centers of the brain and the part of the brain that controls automatic functions like fight or flight, breathing, heart rate, muscle tightness, and digestion and calming. It is interwoven with how we relate to others, how we relate to ourselves, and our potential to feel safe emotionally.
Unprocessed scars predispose you to being easily triggered by circumstances that are similar to past traumas or situations where you faced severe stress, even though there is no present threat. It may feel like a panic attack when walking down a street where you had a car accident for example, or visiting a home where you had a traumatic experience, even though that experience happened years ago, and there is no present danger. The panicky feelings do not start in rational consciousness, they happen automatically, and talk therapy and CBT cannot unroot the nervous system triggers.
Once triggered, you can find yourself at the disposal of negative thought loops and illogical thinking. All the talking and cognitive training in the world will not get you back from the edge of this dark space because it is not linked to your rational mind, it is linked to emotion and feeling, automatic processes that are not under your conscious control.
Our therapy begins in the centers where emotions are held - deep in your body and nervous system.
Relief is possible with the proper therapeutic approach.