What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

KAP 101
September 22, 2022

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the incidence of mental health diagnoses doubled, and today, nearly half of the US population suffers from some form of depression or anxiety condition. We urgently need effective, novel tools to help ease the burden of our patients and improve their long-term outcomes.

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) is one of those tools. PAP is defined as the professionally-supervised use of psychedelic medicines as adjuncts to psychotherapy programs, and it is increasingly showing positive, safe, & lasting clinical outcomes for a growing number of difficult-to-treat conditions.

Of all the psychedelic medicines, the most studied has been ketamine. Ketamine is a legal, safe and effective medicine used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and PTSD (source: MAPS). Ketamine has rapidly-acting antidepressant and mood-enhancing effects, which can begin to take effect within 1-2 hrs. It works by blocking the brain’s NMDA receptors as well as by stimulating AMPA receptors, which are thought to help form new synaptic connections and boost neural circuits that regulate stress and mood. Ketamine has also been shown to enhance overall neuroplasticity for lasting symptom improvement. Ketamine can be delivered in a variety of ways, including IV infusion, intramuscular injection, via nasal spray and using sublingual lozenges (at Journey Clinical, only the sublingual lozenge form is used).

Over the last several decades, ketamine’s record of clinical safety in ER, outpatient and psychiatric settings has produced an extensive body of clinical evidence which supports its safety for use in psychotherapeutic settings (source: Dore et al, 2018).  Leveraging ketamine as an adjunct to psychotherapy, also known as Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) has been particularly effective for significantly improving clinical outcomes.  A 2018 study by Jennifer Dore et al. which examined outcomes from three psychotherapy practices using Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for hundreds of patients over the course of several years concluded that KAP is “an effective method for decreasing depression and anxiety in a private practice setting, especially for…those with severe symptom burden” (source: Dore et al, 2018).

At Journey Clinical, we believe that Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy will play a major role in shifting the mental health paradigm to more lasting, effective treatment. Through our turnkey platform, we are empowering a growing community of licensed psychotherapists to incorporate psychedelic therapies in their own practice safely and effectively, starting with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). If you are a licensed mental health professional passionate about this work, we invite you to join our community.