• Amy Hertle Counseling Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy

Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

{MDMA and Psilocybin-assisted therapies are not yet available, but Ketamine-assisted therapy is legal and available today}

What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy might be an option if you have already tried different types of therapy, but haven’t been able to heal from your struggles or trauma. Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy is a science-backed, alternative, and safe way to create lasting, transformational change and healing.

As the only legal psychedelic medicine available to mental health providers for the relief of emotional suffering (MDMA-assisted therapy has been approved by the FDA but not yet available, and Psilocybin-assisted therapy is further away), Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy has proven to help people with treatment-resistant mental health conditions that include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and trauma. It’s quickly growing as a treatment option in the United States, and these types of treatments were featured on a recent Netflix documentary “How to Change Your Mind”.
Ketamine-assisted therapy is legal in Minnesota with a prescription, approved by the FDA for therapy, and supports your mind’s healing in ways that can go far beyond traditional therapy. After just one session, research has shown around 50% of patients with treatment-resistant depression have a reduction in symptoms within 24 hours. About 66% have a reduction in symptoms after the 4th session. It is currently one of, if not the most, promising tools for treating treatment-resistant mental health issues.

How does Ketamine work in therapy?

In Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy I combine the use of ketamine with therapy and integration of the experience. Ketamine can help you find a unique feeling of separation from your typical thought processes. Some people describe a feeling of being able to see oneself in the third person, or having an out-of-body state of consciousness.
When it comes to your mental health, people can often get overwhelmed or swept up by negative thoughts that won’t go away. By adding Ketamine to therapy, you can take a step back and see things from a different perspective. By combining this state of being or experience with the multiple therapeutic modalities I practice, you can experience long- term changes in your mental health and well being.
While there are Ketamine infusion clinics in Minnesota, most don’t include therapy as part of the treatment method. Use of Ketamine in low doses as a standalone treatment often isn’t enough to foster lasting change. To maximize the use of Ketamine as medicine, adding therapy to your treatment plan gives you a new sense of awareness to discuss what you’ve gone through, reframe habitual thinking, and more.  The insights you discover from your sessions can be then incorporated into your everyday life so that you can actively take steps to improve your mental health.

Phases of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.


Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy begins with an initial evaluation. In this initial phase you have the opportunity to share your story, ask questions and learn about Ketamine treatment.  This will allow us to determine if KAP will be helpful for your unique needs and mental health goals.  You will also be referred to a medical provider to discuss any medical concerns and assess if Ketamine is safe for you.  The medical provider will manage your prescriptions and participate in the medication sessions as needed.


If Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy is determined to be a good fit we will begin the Assessment, Intention-setting and Preparation Phase. This involves collaborative discussions around your history, mental health, intention and goals.  It builds a safe therapeutic relationship and space to experience your medicine session.   Before your Ketamine experience you will know what to expect, how it works, and feel supported and prepared

Medicine Experience

During the medicine experience, you will enter an non-ordinary state of consciousness, facilitated by ketamine and supported within a safe therapeutic relationship.  This experience, which is deeply personal and unique to each individual, can vary in length.  Usually it ranges from  60-120 minutes with additional time to begin the integration phase.


Integration is a crucial phase of Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy.  In this phase you will process the insights and emotions that surfaced during the experience.  This may occur immediately following the session and during subsequent meetings, allowing you to weave the insights gained into your daily life.

Deepen and Continue

This phase is about taking the growth and understanding you have gained and applying it to your life.  You may choose to continue regular psychotherapy sessions to deepen the integration and support your ongoing journey towards wellness.

Is Ketamine a Psychedelic form of Therapy?

In low doses Ketamine shouldn’t cause psychedelic effects.  In moderate amounts, it can have psychedelic properties that may help people see situations from a new perspective.  This can create new or different perspectives on meaning and purpose.
Having a psychedelic experience can be very valuable in a therapeutic setting when you have a mental health professional to help facilitate and guide you through the process.  Ketamine can help you find a sense of separation from not only your own thoughts, but your thought processes.
When you are having mental health challenges, you can often get caught up in negative thoughts.  With Ketamine, you may be able to find clarity in ways that you otherwise wouldn’t.

Benefits of Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy

  • Helps neural connections grow that have been damaged by chronic stress.
  • Takes healing to a deeper, longer-lasting level.
  • Works quickly with mild or no side effects such as headache or nausea.  (Other side effects have occurred in individuals but very rarely.)
  • It works quickly and allows your body and mind to release what’s holding you back.
  • Gives your mind a break from personal challenges.
  • Can help you discover and address the root of your problem faster than with traditional therapy.
  • Supports the creation of change in your neural pathways that help you create new habits.
  • Very high success rates for treating anxiety, trauma, and depression. Studies indicate symptoms stay in remission for over 70% of people.
    Access your subconscious mind without your conscious thoughts holding you back.

Have you already participated in a psychedelic experience but want to benefit from the process of integration work?

I offer intensive integration around psychedelic treatments outside of my practice. This may include preparation work prior to medicine, and therapy with integration following.  “Set and setting” is shown to impact the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted therapies.  Together we can work on preparing for your journey including your intentions for the experience. This is your “set”.  Furthermore, experiencing the medicine in the safe space of my office, accompanied by a trusted therapist, can be an effective “setting”.  Alternatively, another setting of your choice can be utilized.  This preparation and intention will allow for an expansive therapy and integration process following your experience which may further intensify the impact on your health, healing and changes you are longing for.

(Please note:  I am a psychotherapist.  I am not a medical clinic or research facility.  Ketamine-assisted therapy and integration is not “trip sitting” or “psychedelic guiding”.)

Want to learn more? Let’s talk!