In our last post in this two-part blog series, “Ketamine-Assisted Therapy: A Promising Tool, Not a Cure-all (Part I),” we explored ketamine-assisted therapy as a powerful healing resource. We also discuss the importance of understanding the potential of ketamine, and that ketamine-assisted therapy is not a cure but rather a powerful healing tool that should be combined with other integration exercises for optimal results. Read on to learn more about these methods and how to get the most out of ketamine-assisted therapy.
What are Healing Tools?
A healing tool is a technique or resource a person can practice with others, or independently, to develop and grow their mental well-being. In the context of ketamine-assisted therapy, it can include integration techniques, self-care, journaling, mindfulness, community, and psychotherapy. The goal of such resources is to help people with mental health healing and achieve lasting changes. By exploring different styles, people can find what works best for them and create a personalized plan for healing.
To maximize the benefits of ketamine as a tool for healing, working with an integrator is essential to optimize the period of enhanced neuroplasticity and learning after your ketamine sessions. Integration involves reflecting on and exploring the insights gained during your mystical experience, finding key takeaways, and then implementing them into your daily life.
At Nushama, integration begins at the treatment’s onset when members establish their intentions for the session and partake in breathwork with our integrators. This step maintains focus and intentionality during subsequent stages of integration.
Ideally, integration should begin immediately after treatment. Neuroplasticity peaks between 12-24 hours after ketamine treatment, facilitating new neural connections and growth. Without integration, growth is limited, and achieving lasting, long-term results becomes more challenging. Over time, if insights from sessions aren’t put into practice and integrated, people do not experience the full transformational potential of ketamine-assisted therapy and risk reverting to old patterns.
Engage in reflective writing to capture your thoughts, emotions, and insights. Journaling facilitates the integration of the ketamine experience, promotes self-awareness, and serves as a record of your therapeutic journey. Write freely without judgment and allow your thoughts to flow. Have your journal on hand when meeting with your integrator. Narrative reframing can be a useful therapeutic technique. However, at the same time, we often want to let go of the story that is holding us back, so write as much as you feel is helpful to you.
Calming and grounding activities such as meditation, breath work, and yoga can help integrate the inner stillness and peace from a ketamine journey. Taking a quiet walk in nature or participating in creative activities, like art or music, can also contribute to this expansive state. These mindfulness activities support the integration process and help regulate the nervous system, fostering a sense of serenity.
Build a Supportive Network
Surrounding yourself with understanding and compassionate individuals can provide emotional support and encouragement during your healing journey. Sharing experiences and challenges with relatable peers can be invaluable. Group therapy is just as effective as individual therapy for various symptoms and conditions, and in some cases, even more effective due to stigma reduction and solidarity. This has led psychologists to advocate for every private practice to offer at least one group. Nushama offers monthly integration circles for its members.
Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can significantly complement ketamine-assisted therapy. Studies have shown that combining ketamine treatment with ongoing therapy yields better outcomes than ketamine treatment alone.
A study conducted by the University of Otago revealed that ketamine therapy combined with psychotherapy led to a higher percentage of sustained remission in individuals with treatment-resistant depression compared to ketamine therapy alone. This suggests that talk therapy can help individuals build upon the insights and changes initiated by ketamine treatment, addressing deeper emotional issues and promoting long-term healing.
Ketamine-Assisted Therapy: A Transformational Tool but Not a Panacea
Ketamine-assisted therapy holds immense promise in the field of mental health treatment, offering new possibilities for individuals struggling with many mental health conditions. However, it is essential to approach ketamine with realistic expectations. As we discussed in Part I, ketamine is not a cure-all solution, but rather an invaluable tool in your healing journey. But, by incorporating the healing styles we explore here, you can build a potent healing toolbox to integrate learnings from ketamine therapy into your daily life for long-term growth.
Remember, healing takes time, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. With the right support, guidance, and an open mindset, ketamine-assisted therapy can be a transformative tool for lasting change and reclaimed well-being.