Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is an emerging therapeutic approach that combines the use of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, with psychotherapy to treat a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. One crucial element of KAP is the process of setting intentions before each session. Setting intentions helps clients and therapists focus their treatment and maximize the therapeutic benefits of ketamine. In this write-up, we will explore the importance of setting intentions in KAP and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it effectively.
Why do we set Intentions?
Setting intentions gives you a compass. Your intentions during KAP sessions would always point to your whys and improve the outcomes of your experiences. Intentions will give you meaning, strength, and the courage to journey through difficult moments. You do not need to know how or when your intentions will come true, but it’s always great to know what they are to deepen your experience. They keep you focused on the process and be open to what could come up throughout your KAP experience.
Difference between Intentions and Expectations
Coming into a KAP session is daunting, we tell clients to drop their expectations of the process, and just instead focus on general intentions. Expectations create attachments to different experiences and could lead to disappointment when one’s expectations are not met. Intentions on the other hand give you a sense of what you want to accomplish throughout the journey, but still having that space and openness to new experiences. Perhaps this idea is better explained by our mantra for KAP sessions, “You do not get the experience you want, you get the experience you need.”
Preparing the Mind for a KAP Session
Here are some tips to prepare your mind before your KAP Session:
1. Get clear with your intentions
Setting up a clear intention allows you to have structure but also allows you to have strength and perseverance in your KAP journey.
2. Develop a curious-observer mindset
A curious-observer mindset lets you have an experience that is from a perspective beyond your personal self and allows you to let emotions pass without judgment or without being ruled by them.
3. Prepare for discomfort
Your experience will be unlike what you have experienced before and into a series of altered-state experiences and phases. Your mind needs comfort, and your body will too as you try to process the root cause of the conditions that live in your body. Being uncomfortable is sometimes a part of healing.
4. Be ready for Expansion
Being in a KAP process expands your consciousness of the self. As a preparation for your KAP sessions, it is great to practice going inward and try to introspect your own mind-space and focus on your inner-most being. Say hi to your innermost self.
5. De-stress your Mind
Practice self-soothing, and allowing yourself to calm your mind in the face of stress, tension, worry, or fear. This is a great reminder to focus on your breath or focus on your breathing. It is advised to not expose yourself to intense drama, toxic relationships, and even violence shown in media, film literature, or music, as these all cause intensity and chaos in the mind. Before your KAP sessions, say bye to any intense stimuli that could be a distraction.
At the end of each KAP session, the goal is to process your experience in the way that most resonates with you, and is helpful for you. Not all KAP experiences will be the same experiences, and that is okay, the KAP experience that you will have is the one bespoke to you at that moment in your life.