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What is Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?

     Psychedelic-assisted therapy refers to the use of psychedelic substances such as ketamine, psilocybin, or MDMA in a clinical setting to assist in the treatment of various mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The psychedelic experience is facilitated and guided by a trained therapist, to help the you gain insight, increase well-being, and reduce symptoms.​

     Psychedelics have shown potential in reducing shame, a common emotional experience characterized by feelings of worthlessness and self-blame. This is achieved by inducing altered states of consciousness, which can facilitate a change in perspective and increase emotional openness and self-reflection. This can help you better understand the source of your shame, leading to a reduction in its intensity and a greater sense of self-compassion.

What is Ketamine-Assisted Therapy?

     Currently the only legal psychedelic-assisted therapy option in Oklahoma, ketamine-assisted therapy refers to the use of the dissociative anesthetic drug ketamine in a clinical setting to assist in the treatment of various mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The drug is administered through an IV Infusion under the supervision of a trained medical healthcare professional certified psychedelic-assisted therapy provider. Ketamine has been found to have rapid-acting and long-lasting antidepressant effects and is being explored as a potential alternative to traditional antidepressants. Ketamine acts to increase neural plasticity to change neural networks that cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Treatment is based on your own needs.

What does the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy process look like?

     You will go through through a medical screening to review your full medical history to screen for any contraindications to ensure that you're a good fit for ketamine. Next is the intake process where you'll review your mental health history  and discuss goals for treatment. Then there are multiple preparation sessions ( minimum of 3) to identify goals, talk about expectations of the treatment and of the medicine, and discuss core elements of psychedelic-assisted therapy which include setting intentions, anchoring, deepening, broadening, and integration. After preparation you have your medicine session. 24 hours after your medicine session, you’ll have what’s called an integration session which is to help process your medicine session and discuss how it can or did aid in the healing process. 

What are Preparation Sessions for Ketamine-Assisted Therapy?

     Preparation sessions for ketamine-assisted therapy are essential components of the therapeutic process that occur before the actual ketamine administration. These sessions are designed to help you prepare mentally, emotionally, and practically for their ketamine experience, ensuring you have a safe and supportive environment and understand what to expect. Here's what preparation sessions typically involve:

  1. Assessment and Evaluation: During the preparation sessions, therapists conduct thorough assessments to gather information about the your mental health history, current symptoms, treatment goals, and any relevant medical or psychiatric conditions. This helps determine if ketamine-assisted therapy is appropriate for you and informs the development of a personalized treatment plan.

  2. Education about Ketamine: Therapists provide information about ketamine, including its pharmacology, potential effects, and safety considerations. This education helps you understand how ketamine works, what to expect during the experience, and any potential risks or side effects. Therapists also address any questions or concerns you may have about ketamine therapy.

  3. Setting Intentions and Goals: Preparation sessions provide an opportunity for you to clarify your intentions and goals for the ketamine experience. Therapists work collaboratively with you to identify specific areas of focus, such as healing trauma, alleviating depression or anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, or exploring existential questions. Setting intentions can help you derive maximum benefit from the ketamine session and guide your integration process afterward.

  4. Establishing Safety and Support Plans: Therapists help you create a safety plan and establish a support network to ensure you feel secure and supported during and after the ketamine experience. This may involve identifying trusted friends or family members who can assist if needed, as well as discussing strategies for managing challenging emotions or sensations that may arise during the session.

  5. Exploring Mindset and Expectations: Preparation sessions involve exploring your mindset and expectations regarding ketamine-assisted therapy. Therapists help you cultivate an open, curious, and non-judgmental attitude toward your experience, while also addressing any unrealistic expectations or fears you may have. Cultivating a positive mindset can enhance the therapeutic benefits of ketamine.

  6. Practical Considerations: Therapists provide practical guidance on logistical matters such as the timing and location of the ketamine session, as well as instructions for any pre-session preparations (e.g., fasting, abstaining from certain medications). They also review the informed consent process and ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities as participants in ketamine therapy.

     Overall, preparation sessions for ketamine-assisted therapy are an essential phase of treatment that helps you feel informed, empowered, and ready to engage in the therapeutic process. By addressing logistical, psychological, and emotional aspects of the experience, preparation sessions lay the groundwork for a safe, effective, and transformative ketamine journey.

What are Integration Sessions for Ketamine-Assisted Therapy?

     Integration sessions for ketamine-assisted therapy are follow-up sessions conducted after the administration of ketamine to support you in processing your experiences, insights, and emotions that emerged during the ketamine session. These sessions are crucial components of the therapeutic process and are typically conducted by trained therapists or mental health professionals.

Here's what integration sessions for ketamine-assisted therapy typically involve:

  1. Reflective Processing: You are encouraged to reflect on their experiences during the ketamine session, including any thoughts, emotions, memories, or insights that emerged. Therapists may use various techniques such as guided imagery, mindfulness exercises, or journaling to facilitate this process.

  2. Emotional Support: Integration sessions provide a safe and supportive environment for you to express and explore any difficult emotions or sensations that arose during the ketamine session. Therapists offer empathy, validation, and compassionate listening to help you navigate and process these experiences.

  3. Integration of Insights: You may have gained new insights, perspectives, or understandings about yourself, your relationships, or your life circumstances during the ketamine session. Integration sessions focus on helping you integrate these insights into your daily lives and make meaning of your experiences in the context of your broader therapeutic goals.

  4. Goal Setting and Action Planning: Therapists work collaboratively with you to identify goals for their ongoing therapeutic journey and develop action plans to support progress towards these goals. This may involve identifying specific behaviors, habits, or thought patterns to work on, as well as exploring potential strategies or resources for making positive changes.

  5. Psychoeducation and Skill Building: Integration sessions may also include psychoeducation about ketamine-assisted therapy, the neuroscience of ketamine, and strategies for coping with challenges or triggers outside of therapy sessions. Therapists may teach you mindfulness techniques, relaxation exercises, or other coping skills to help manage stress, anxiety, or other symptoms.

  6. Follow-Up Assessment: Therapists may conduct assessments to monitor your' progress over time and evaluate the effectiveness of ketamine-assisted therapy in addressing your symptoms or concerns. This may involve tracking changes in mood, symptoms, functioning, or other relevant outcomes.

     Overall, integration sessions for ketamine-assisted therapy play a vital role in supporting your' healing and growth by helping you integrate your ketamine experiences into their broader therapeutic journey and empowering you to make positive change in your life.

What is EMDR?

     EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was developed as a PTSD treatment. It uses bilateral stimulation to reprocess memories to decrease the level of emotional disturbance related to that memory. In this type of therapy, you’re working on changing negative belief systems developed through difficult experiences into a neutral or positive belief system. It helps take you from a subjective mindset to an objective mindset. Where prior to the treatment when you think about those memories it feels as if you’re still going through it, reliving it. After EMDR, when you think on those memories it’s more like you’re watching a movie about it. There will still be some level of unpleasant emotion (which is normal), but it’s completely manageable.

Who is a good fit for EMDR?

     EMDR is good for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, phobias, distressing memories or experiences, or low self-esteem.

What are the side effects or potential risks EMDR?

     Since you are bringing up old painful experiences, there can be some initial discomfort while you’re revisiting those memories which can temporarily increase anxiety and depression, but the idea is that you have to feel in order to heal and release. Since trauma can be stored in the body, when you’re working with EMDR after the trauma processing sessions you may experience mood swings, unusual bodily sensations, strange dreams, other memories may resurface, or nothing at all. Everyone is different. Some people report feeling a little emotional the following hours of their session while others say they were fine leaving the session and noticed an improvement in their overall mood. 

What are benefits of EMDR?

     From an overall improved mood, to having little to no emotional disturbance with memories or relationships with people who in the past were the source of their anxiety or depression, to more confidence and self-worth which led to making healthier changes in their lives. 

What does an EMDR session look like

     It takes several sessions with a client to prepare for the trauma processing sessions. You have to identify the problem areas, belief systems, and targets/memories/relationships, develop some EMDR specific coping skills, and discuss the expectations of treatment before you can dive into the desensitization sessions. We will also identify and reinforce your positive belief system because you don’t want to just get rid of your negative beliefs but you want to swap them out for something more helpful to build resilience from those experiences which will increase self-worth.

     During the desensitization sessions, you’ll focus on the pre-planned targets and talk about the worst parts of those target to activate the related belief systems in your brain. Then we’ll take some measurements on the level of emotional disturbance when you’re thinking about that target and the validity of your positive belief then go into the bilateral stimulation process. Some clinicians use their hand movement back and forth and have their client track with only their eyes, some have light bars for the client to track, others use auditory tones and headphones, some clinicians use what are called “buzzies” which are little handheld devices for each hand that vibrate back and forth. I’ve found the eye movement can sometime hinder the clients focus or make them a little dizzy or nauseous so I use tapping and have my clients close their eyes and take a deep breath, remind them of their target, the belief system, the worst parts, and then encourage them to let their mind wander. There is minimal talking during the desensitization process. The foundation of EMDR is based on being your own inner healer which means you have an inherent ability for self-healing and growth. Our bodies are made to heal themselves. The combination of desensitizing difficult memories and strengthening positive belief systems allows the brain the create new neural networks for long-term results.

Why Choose Above All PATC?

     We aim to create a safe and supportive space where you can access the resources and guidance you need to thrive. Our team of dedicated professionals is committed to your well-being, ensuring that you receive the highest quality of care throughout your journey. We offer professional guidance by a trained and licensed therapist who has expertise in both traditional therapeutic modalities and psychedelic-assisted therapy to guide individuals through the psychedelic experience and the specific challenges and opportunities presented by psychedelics. 

     Our services aredesigned to facilitate healing, personal growth, and insight. It is based on a Holistic Approach by recognizing the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit integrating complementary practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and other holistic modalities. We offer group therapy and psycho-education classes to promote awareness about the potential benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy, reduce stigma around psychedelic therapy, and learn about the neuroscience behind why you feel, think, and behave the way you do.

     At the heart of our approach is a commitment to personalized care, cultural humility, and ethical practices. We aim to de-stigmatize and demystify psychedelic therapy, fostering a community that embraces diverse healing modalities and perspectives. Through research, education, and compassionate support, we endeavor to contribute to the evolving field of psychedelic-assisted therapy and its positive impact on mental health

     Join us on a journey toward profound healing, self-discovery, and the realization of your fullest potential. At Above All PATC, we are dedicated to transforming lives and empowering individuals to thrive on their unique paths to well-being.

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