Psychedelics are all the rage right now. After seeing their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, psychedelics spent decades in relative obscurity after federal and state governments opted to ban their production and consumption.
However, a surge in psychedelic interest has recently seen millions of dollars invested in developing psychedelic therapies to treat mental health issues such as depression and PTSD. This “psychedelic renaissance” has also been accompanied by an explosion of public interest, with many people around the country looking to use drugs such as ketamine and psilocybin for recreational, medical and spiritual purposes.
But the main question for the millions of Americans who have only heard about psychedelics on the news or online but never actually consumed them is, what is a psychedelic experience actually like? How would a guided psychedelic session actually go?
In a recent Q&A, Philadelphia-based therapist Jess Jones explained how she helps patients treat mental illnesses such as severe depression using ketamine-assisted therapy.
Once a patient has received a ketamine prescription from a licensed psychiatrist, Jones said her objective is to get to know the patient “as quickly as possible.” Through a series of questions, she helps patients shift their perspectives to a place of curiosity and openness, stating that she attempts to help clients “feel agency and choice” around their decisions to undergo the therapy, because she is primarily a trauma therapist.
Jones also described the physical senses the patients might experience while under the influence of ketamine. For instance, she said, some patients may feel a pleasant sensation, some may feel heat, and others may feel numbness. She and her patients also practice different ways in which she can meet their needs during a ketamine-assisted session, such as playing music or asking for a hand to hold during the session.
During the session, a patient will put a ketamine-infused lozenge in their mouth and swish it around until it is absorbed. Once the patient has headphones and shades on, Jones spends the first 15 minutes helping the patient get into an “open, receptive state” by either reviewing the skills discussed during the preparation sessions or guiding them to become less defensive and protective.
During sessions with lower doses of ketamine, Jones says that patients are more engaged and may even engage with her; she only checks in on patients once an hour while they are on higher doses.
Jones then begins therapy right after the patients come out of the experience, focusing on the pleasant sensations they are feeling and how to make those feelings last. After that, she gives patients a snack and sends them home accompanied by responsible adults. Jones added that she has a follow-up session some 48 hours later, during which patients practice different types of breath work and discuss healthy emotional containment.
This scientific approach to the use of various psychedelic substances is supported by many players within the psychedelics industry, such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ), because it provides a path for patients to gain benefits while limiting any potential side effects.
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