Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT)
Psychiatrists & Psychologists located in San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, Palo Alto, CA, Berkeley, CA, & Marin County, CA
Ketamine, a medication most commonly used in surgical settings, has been used by mental health professionals for over 20 years to to treat various psychiatric conditions. The medication has been lauded for its rapid-onset antidepressant effects, exceptional safety profile, and ability to work synergistically with the therapy process to produce deep insights and long-lasting benefits. It is notable for its considerable success in helping people who have psychiatric symptoms that have not responded adequately to conventional treatments such as medication management and/or psychotherapy.
While ketamine has been used for over half a century as an anesthetic medication, it has been increasingly used at sub-anesthetic doses as an off-label treatment for various chronic treatment-resistant mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, alcoholism & substance dependencies, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other psychiatric diagnoses.
About Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT)
While there are programs that provide ketamine as an entirely standalone medication intervention (typically as a nasal spray preparation or by IV infusion) we have found that the most successful way to achieve robust and long-lasting benefits is to use ketamine in the context of a therapeutic process and relationship. We offer a psychotherapy-focused program that will prepare you for your ketamine sessions, support you in exploring your mind during the medicine sessions, and assist you in integrating your experiences afterward.
In our program, each client has a treatment team consisting of a psychiatrist and a psychologist who specialize in Ketamine-Assisted Therapy. The treatment team follows the client through the entire process of the treatment, and works with the client’s other providers to ensure the treatment can be best utilized and integrated back into their long-term treatments.
More Information and Contacting Us
For more information about the program and to make an appointment for a free consultation, please complete the Ketamine Screening and Orientation form. This includes an in-depth orientation about the program, including information about the medicine, the treatment model, what to expect in the treatment, and fees. This should answer many questions you might have. Please complete this Orientation and Screening Form, and make note of any questions that you have. You will have an opportunity to ask these questions in the free consultation call.
*This form is the necessary first step to starting the program. We cannot answer any correspondence about the program or move on to the next steps of joining the program until this form has been completed.
KAT Q & A
Is Ketamine Safe?
Ketamine is one of the most widely used medications in modern medicine, and is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It was developed in 1963, FDA-approved in 1970, and used frequently by many hospitals and medical offices because of its rapid onset, proven safety, and short duration of action. Ketamine is most commonly used in surgical settings and is unique because it does not cause cardiovascular or respiratory depression/impairment associated with common anesthetics.
In Ketamine-Assisted Therapy, we are using much lower doses than what is commonly used in hospital settings. Using ketamine in our treatment model has proven to be very safe, particularly because our treatment team very carefully assesses each person for potential risks prior to treatment, and ensures that it is safe to move forward. During each ketamine session, a clinician will be monitoring for the entire duration of the session, and a physician will either be present in the office or on call.
What does it mean that ketamine is an "off-label" treatment?
While ketamine has been used for over half a century as an anesthetic, where it has FDA-approval and is considered “on label,” it has increasingly been used at sub-anesthetic doses as an off-label treatment for various chronic treatment-resistant mental health conditions. Many medications are commonly used as off-label treatments, which means they are used for some indication or in some way that is different from the medication’s original area of approval. In the case of ketamine being used to treat psychiatric conditions, there is substantial evidence based in scientific literature and community practices that indicates it is safe and effective. However, likely because generic ketamine cannot be patented, there is little financial incentive for it to be put through the expensive clinical trials needed to get an “on-label designation.” Off-label treatments are completely legal and commonly used.
Can I take other medications while doing KAT?
Ketamine generally is safe to take with many other medications. There are very few medications that could be potentially dangerous if taken with ketamine, and most medication interactions actually mitigate ketamine’s effects (make it less potent). Our team will work with you to understand the medications and substances you take to develop a plan for safely and effectively utilizing this treatment.
Similar medication or psychedelic-assisted treatments (such as MDMA or psilocybin) often require weaning off medications prior to starting the treatment due to potential interactions. This can be a challenging process for many people and can be destabilizing. Ketamine is safe and effective to use alongside most antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and other common medications.
*Please consult with your treating physician prior to mixing ketamine with any medications.
How much will this treatment cost?
In the Ketamine Screening and Orientation guide, there is an in-depth orientation of the fees associated with this treatment. Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT) is an intensive treatment that involves an extended amount and duration of therapy taking place over the multiple-month treatment period. Due to the 3 to 4 hour ketamine-assisted therapy sessions and regular 1 hour preparation/integration sessions, an extensive amount of therapy takes place in a short duration when compared to traditional therapy. This amount of therapy time can lead to a high cost for the service in the short-term. Many clients find this treatment can expedite their healing process, and describe this as a worthwhile investment. It is common for a course of KAT treatment to include about 20 hours of time with a provider.
The actual cost to each client will depend on their specific insurance coverage. We are one of very few Ketamine-Assisted Therapy programs that is able to get insurance reimbursement for certain portions of the treatment process to make this treatment more affordable. However, due to some insurance companies only offering a limited reimbursement (if any) for this treatment, expect that there will be an out of pocket cost. Potential participants are urged to consult with their insurance provider to understand their coverage (see the Fees & Insurance section of the Orientation Guide for info on what to ask them). We also offer low-fee options on a limited basis to clients who would otherwise have trouble accessing this service. Feel free to ask about these options in your free Screening Call with the provider.
How do I get more information about the program, or get in touch about starting the program?
For more information about the treatment and to make an appointment for a free consultation, please complete the Ketamine Screening and Orientation form. This includes an in-depth orientation about the program, including information about the medicine, the treatment model, what to expect in the treatment, and fees. This should answer many questions you might have.
Please complete this Orientation and Screening Form, and make note of any questions that you have. You will have an opportunity to ask these questions in the free consultation call.
*This form is the necessary first step to starting the program. We cannot answer any correspondence about the program unless/until this step has been completed.