Imagine going rafting for the first time, you have to go to another part of the river and you’re sitting on your little raft with your game face on waiting for signals from your guide. Your guide suddenly yells, “Go, paddle!” Except you don’t have a paddle, they didn’t give you one, you were not even given headgear, or worse you do not have a life jacket on! The horror! For sure, that would not be the best rafting experience for you, you would not even want to try it again!
Going into therapy can be intimidating, and more so when the therapist is present while one is undergoing an altered state of consciousness - it is a vulnerable position to be in. Psychotherapy is a profound journey toward self-discovery and healing, Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) heightens these experiences as it taps more into one’s physical senses. Your therapist as a guide would not be doing the paddling, but only transitioning you into a sacred space where you would feel comfortable and at ease. Intuitive Heart Counseling integrates a holistic approach to this integration process by incorporating complementary practices that can elevate this transformative process to new heights and gently ease the clients into a state that is most vulnerable.
What are some of the tools used to equip clients in transitioning into an altered state of consciousness and its benefits for those undergoing Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?
Scent has an intricate relationship with memory, that’s because of the unique anatomy of the body that allows scents to directly travel from the olfactory bulb and then through the limbic system - the part of the brain that governs emotions. This is why when we smell certain scents we remember a specific memory, place, person, or experience and the feelings we ascribe to it. Before the KAP session, one can choose an essential oil to use during the process, this is to tie the event with that specific scent. These also would be “markers” for the person as they would now signal the start of the session and the insights afterward. During the first few minutes of KAP, it is essential that the person feels at ease and comfortable facilitating a transition from consciousness to an altered state.
Journaling provides a safe space for clients to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It has been an age-old practice that fosters one’s well-being. Journaling offers clients an avenue to express their thoughts and feelings in a structured but confidential manner. As clients begin to jot down their thoughts and experiences, patterns and triggers become more apparent. Journaling empowers clients to be free in their own spaces and to actively engage in their healing process.
Here are some other benefits of essential oils and journaling as they are used as transition tools and markers during KAP sessions:
1. Emotional Regulation:
Aromatherapy, when incorporated into psychotherapy sessions, can create a soothing and safe environment, reducing anxiety and promoting emotional openness.
2. Facilitating Emotional Release:
Certain essential oils, such as frankincense or bergamot, are believed to support emotional release. Clients can use these oils during sessions that involve addressing past traumas or releasing pent-up emotions. The scent can act as a supportive backdrop as clients navigate difficult subjects, facilitating a more gentle and cathartic process.
3. Tapping into multisensorial healing:
Combining aromatherapy with journaling can enhance the introspective experience. Clients can use specific essential oils while journaling to create a multisensory environment that deepens emotional exploration.
4. Creating Rituals for Closure:
Incorporating essential oils and journaling as rituals can help clients close each therapy session with intention and reflection. Clients might choose to write down their key takeaways from the session while diffusing an oil that resonates with their insights, creating a symbolic bridge between the therapeutic space and their everyday lives.
At the end of each KAP session, the client should feel a renewed sense of self and have a lot of memories that tie into the multi-sensory and holistic approach to therapeutic healing.