Thank you for your interest in Blossom. Below you will find important information about ketamine, along with what to expect and how to prepare for your sessions.
Blossom is a service that provides space to practitioners and clients to engage in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) in a safe, medically supervised setting.
We help connect clients and therapists so that you can do the healing work that you need in your life at this moment. We are unique not only because we require therapy when using ketamine, but also because of the vetting process that our therapists go through in order to qualify in working with us.
Ketamine is now an "off-label" treatment for various chronic "treatment-resistant" mental health conditions. Ketamine is a Schedule III medication that has long been used safely as an anesthetic, and now is often used effectively for the treatment of depression, substance dependencies, PTSD and other psychiatric diagnoses, as well as for existential, psychological and spiritual crises, exploration, and growth.
Our first contact will be deciding whether Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is appropriate in your treatment planning via a medical clearance consultation with a Blossom practitioner.
Once we decide to incorporate Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in your care, we will go over the informed consent and your intention for the treatment. This initial consult is not a session in which ketamine will be used for treatment.
After you are approved for ketamine treatment, you will be referred for an initial consultation with a therapist - Blossom contracts with our own therapists through Integrative Psychiatry Austin, or you can choose another therapist trained by Blossom - our administrative support staff will guide you in this process. After your therapy consultation, you will continue to work with our administrative support staff to schedule your initial ketamine series, and any tapers or follow-up sessions that may be recommended. This means you will be required to complete associated consents and forms for Blossom and for your participating therapist.
Please allow 1.5 to 3 hours of time for your KAP session. This time is highly subjective to the individual and how long they are actively experiencing the medication, which varies from person to person. A typical session will include: brief check-in with your therapist, vitals with a medical professional, medication administration, your active experience time, processing with your therapist after the experience, and rest/relaxation/re-orienting time.
An active experience duration under the influence of the medication lasts anywhere from 15 to 75 minutes, with an average duration being 45-50 minutes. An example of a standard IM session based on the average duration is:
Check-in/discussion with your therapist:
Vitals and medication administration:
Processing experience with your therapist:
Relax, journal, rest on your own in the ketamine room/office:
remainder of time
*vitals and administration in an initial session using the sublingual/oral tabs may take 15-20 minutes due to the nature of the oral tabs. Blossom typically does a sublingual session for the initial session, and following sessions employ the intramuscular (IM) administration
Your therapist will be present for the check-in before the ketamine is administered, your active experience, and for 30 minutes after your experience ends for processing. If you need additional processing time with your therapist about your experience(s), we suggest to schedule individual psychotherapy integration sessions with them on non-KAP days.
Before Your Session
It is important that you are comfortable and prepared for each session; your mindset going into a session plays an integral role in your ketamine experience. For an optimal experience:
Do not eat any foods or drink any liquids for at least 4 hours prior to your session
Refrain from alcohol and other substances for at least 24 hours prior to your session
Bring a journal to write down your experience and new insights that may come about
Bring a blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, crystals, incense - any items of comfort that you find help you to relax and/or feel more comfortable
Blossom has blankets available in office for your comfort, if you choose
Don’t forget your eye mask! You will receive a complimentary eye-mask at your first session - please bring it with you for all following sessions.
If you forget your eye mask, Blossom has them available for a $25 fee (yours to keep) or you can opt to use a sanitized reusable eye mask that is kept in office
Make sure to arrange transportation - it is recommended that you do not operate a vehicle for at least 4 hours after receiving ketamine due to the possibility of lingering coordination and light sensitivity issues. Blossom is not liable for any driving-related incidences if you choose not to arrange for alternative transportation.
How Does It Work?
The current, most probable, understanding of ketamine's mode of action in the brain is as an NMDA antagonist working through the glutamate neurotransmitter system. This is a very different pathway than that of other psychiatric drugs such as the SSRIs, SNRIS, anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines, etc. Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic, with dissociation meaning a sense of disconnection from one's ordinary reality and usual self. At the dosage level administered to you, you will most likely experience mild anesthetic, anxiolytic, antidepressant and, potentially, psychedelic effects.
While more recent work has demonstrated the possibility of an anti-depressant response to low dosages of ketamine administered intravenously (IV), intra-nasally, intramuscularly (IM), and sublingually (orally) that produce minimal psychedelic effects, this effect tends to be more sustained with repeated use - in other words, a cumulative effect. It is our view that psychedelic, ‘dissociative' experiences combined with psychotherapy may well be instrumental in providing a more robust effect of the medication.
This may include a positive change in outlook and character that we term a ‘transformative' response. Relaxation from ordinary concerns and usual mind, while maintaining conscious awareness of the flow of mind under the influence of ketamine is a characteristic effect of the medication. This tends to lead to a disruption of negative feelings and obsessional preoccupations. It is our view that this relief and the exploration and experience of other possible states of consciousness are likely impactful in the healing process.
As therapists, we act as guides to the experience, and process the experience and its impacts with our clients before (via intention setting discussions), during and after the sessions. Our therapists are training specifically in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and each therapist brings their own experiences and outside training into the therapeutic process as well.
We are looking forward to guiding you through this journey. Please feel free to reach out with any questions; we are here to support you.