Ketamine is a unique and beautiful medicine. It was originally developed as a human surgical anesthetic, but in recent years, ketamine has become known for its rapid-acting antidepressant and anti-suicidal properties. In addition, ketamine is highly psychedelic under certain circumstances, producing a strange, dissociative, and expansive psycho-spiritual experience. In this presentation, three experienced ketamine clinicians will talk about the legal uses of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy.
First, Dr. Bennett will describe several different approaches to ketamine treatment: the medical and biochemical paradigm, the psychotherapeutic and relational paradigm, and the psychedelic and shamanic paradigm. Next, Dr. Vaid will present some of the clinical indications for ketamine treatment, including severe depression, bipolar disorder, ruminative suicidality, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. She will also talk briefly about some of ketamine’s side effects, and the importance of physical and psychological safety in ketamine treatment. Finally, Veronika Gold will present on the power of combining ketamine treatment and psychotherapy. She will also speak to the importance of preparation, guided work, and psychedelic integration.
The panelists will also talk about the current controversy around esketamine (a.k.a. Spravato), which is an outrageously expensive filtered ketamine product that was awarded FDA approval in 2019 for the treatment of refractory depression. This introductory level presentation will contain helpful information for clinicians, ketamine clients, and the community at large.
Taking entheogens can be like air travel: people do it all the time, it’s usually fine, but when it’s not fine, it’s sometimes very bad. We’ve been there. And that’s where an experienced guide can make the difference in the outcome.
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