Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

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Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

In Atlanta, Georgia, board-certified psychiatrist Karen Giles, MD, MS, at Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions specializes in highly personalized treatments that resolve even the most complex mental health conditions — especially those that don’t respond to traditional approaches.

Based on proven scientific research, Dr. Giles has partnered with psychotherapist, Dr. Ted Liberty to offer a groundbreaking combination treatment — ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP). 

If you're struggling with treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder (with or without anxiety and suicidal ideation), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or eating disorders, KAP might be the solution you’ve been seeking.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy: A double dose of effectiveness

Psychotherapy or talk therapy has been a tried-and-true approach to mental health issues for many years, and it still works — but not for everyone, and not very quickly.

IV ketamine, traditionally used as an anesthetic, is gaining ground as an effective medication for certain mental health conditions. 

With KAP, Dr. Giles combines these two approaches to address treatment-resistant depression and other issues with a one-two punch that produces results faster than the individual treatments alone.

Whether you have major depressive disorder and battle relentless thoughts of hopelessness and negative self-perception or PTSD and struggle to manage overwhelming fear and uncontrollable flashbacks, you need a treatment that addresses the underlying issues and helps you manage the symptoms.

During a typical KAP session, you lie down in a serene room and take a prescribed dose of IV ketamine while being monitored by Breakthru’s medical team. 

Soon after, the dissociative effects of ketamine begin to take hold, breaking down the barriers and creating the opportunity for new thoughts and ideas to take hold. 

The ketamine-induced trance-like states help you face painful emotions, opening up a controlled space where you can engage without resistance from your mind’s natural defenses.

Within 48 hours of your ketamine treatment, Dr. Liberty will meet with you to discuss the experience and to work on strengthening and exploring new neural pathways. In the following weeks, you continue to address your challenges, with or without ketamine.

It is important to note that when delving into painful emotions and experiences, things may initially worsen before they improve. 

Many have experienced profound therapeutic breakthroughs using KAP, often at a much faster pace compared to traditional talk therapy. They have been able to unveil repressed memories, confront previously overwhelming emotions, and even discover their long-sought sense of purpose.

What to expect during KAP

During your IV ketamine session, Dr. Giles delivers a personalized dose directly into your bloodstream. In just 40-60 minutes, you’ll feel the effects. 

You remain awake and aware. Though you might experience mild dissociative feelings, rest assured that Dr. Giles and our qualified staff are there to supervise you throughout the process and help you manage any temporary side effects, such as mild nausea or dizziness.Our clinical staff provides continuous observation and support throughout your treatment process. 

Unlike traditional medications that take weeks to work, ketamine kicks in quickly to reduce negative feelings and boost your mood. 

But it doesn’t stop there. The days following your ketamine treatment are crucial. Your brain enters a neuroplastic state, meaning it’s primed for change — this is where the real work happens. Engaging in targeted psychotherapy with Dr. Liberty during this time allows you to create new neural pathways, leading to breakthroughs and transformation.

Am I a good candidate for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy?

Dr. Giles determines whether you’re a good candidate for KAP based on multiple factors, including the longevity and severity of your symptoms and your treatment history. There are, however, other considerations as well. 

Paying for KAP

Insurance plans don’t typically cover ketamine-assisted psychotherapy since ketamine isn’t FDA-approved for treating depression. 

Preparing for KAP side effects 

Another factor is your ability to handle the potential side effects. The good news is that even though ketamine infusions can cause temporary and mild discomfort, such as nausea, headache, dizziness, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and dissociation, they usually only occur during the infusion itself.

Preparing for KAP results

We also want you to know that therapy sessions help you uncover and explore painful emotions and experiences that may initially bring about discomfort before yielding positive results. Dr. Giles and Dr. Liberty address this aspect with you and formulate an appropriate plan if needed.

Understanding the KAP timeline

The time commitment for ketamine treatment involves a clinic visit lasting approximately two hours per IV ketamine session. Then, we schedule a talk therapy appointment within 48 hours of your ketamine treatment, lasting approximately 50 minutes.

Talk to Dr. Giles about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to determine if it can help you overcome your mental health issues. Request an appointment online, or call Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions in Sandy Springs, Georgia.