The History of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

The History of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

There are many treatment options for mental health disorders, but some are more effective than others depending on the condition. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy has become a widely favored method for helping clients with PTSD, addiction disorders and treatment-resistant depression.

You may be curious how ketamine came to be included as part of the therapeutic process. While prescription medications have long been used in conjunction with psychotherapy, using a psychoactive drug during therapy may raise some questions.

In this post, we’ll explore the history of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) to help you better understand why it’s become a valuable resource for many clients.

Where It Started

Currently, ketamine is the only legal psychoactive medication available to mental health professionals. Ryan Hicks is the only therapist at Foundations Family Counseling specially trained to administer and work with patients on ketamine.

Doctors created ketamine in the 1950s to serve as a powerful analgesic (painkiller). It was first created as phencyclidine in Detroit, Michigan by Parke-Davis and Company. After animal testing showed promising results, phencyclidine was marketed as Sernyl, a powerful anesthetic with pain-relieving properties.

As doctors and scientists continued to improve phencyclidine, ketamine was created. In 1964, volunteer French prisoners tried the drug. They reported feeling as if they were floating aimlessly in outer space with no connection to their limbs.

Medical professionals realized that what the prisoners felt was really dissociation. This study laid the groundwork for future uses of ketamine as a hallucinogenic drug.

FDA Approval for Soldiers
During the Vietnam War, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ketamine for field soldiers. At that point, it was a strong pain reliever that could help soldiers who were injured in combat escape the agony of their wounds.

From the 1970s onward, people began to use ketamine as a psychedelic. Outside of its medical use, many people sought the dissociative “high” that the drug can induce. While it is not legal for personal use today, the ability for ketamine to relax the mind and create greater awareness of the subconscious makes it useful in therapy.

How We Use KPA

Our ketamine-assisted psychotherapy counselor, Ryan Hicks, works with patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression or PTSD. He helps them overcome subconscious blocks by using ketamine as a gateway to deeper understanding.

Before we administer KAP, patients have to undergo a thorough assessment to ensure it is a safe and beneficial treatment option for them. If you are open to trying ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in Denver, Colorado, you can contact Foundations Family Counseling to schedule an appointment with Ryan.