What if healing was a destination?

Much of modern healthcare is focused solely on symptom management.  Pharmaceuticals are given with little thought about how and when they will be stopped.  Our goal at Asheville Integrative Psychiatry is to nourish the innate healing capacity that we all possess.  Our bodies and minds seek healthy balance when we clear the brush from their path.  

 

Psychedelic medicines, like any medicine, are never stand-alone therapies.  Their effects depend on the setting where they are used and the mindset of the user.  An underlying assumption at Asheville Integrative Psychiatry about the use of these medicines is that they are most effective when used with well-trained practitioners in natural settings as part of a holistic plan for health. 

The Journey

Our process of using psychedelic assisted psychotherapy to facilitate an enduring connection to nature allows a unique healing journey for each client to unfold.  Our goal is to use our training and experience in integrative psychiatry and nature connection to guide clients to the wellspring of their own healing energy by rediscovering a bridge between the self and the natural world.  We model our our six week Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy protocol on the Myth of The Journey.  The journey begins with The Call to Adventure.

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The Call to Adventure

The path to healing draws us all.  When we hear the call to adventure, it is time for change and the nervous excitement of an unknown destination.  This begins with you and when you hear the call, we acknowledge the difficulty of responding to it.  Our staff will help you begin your journey through our intake process by creating safe private communication with our Osmind messenger for scheduling your appointment and for gathering records.  Sometimes, the first step is the hardest and our staff are available by phone, text, and email to help you take it.  If you are ready to begin a journey toward greater health, contact us.

Encounter with a Guide

In all good myths, the heroine or hero encounters a sage at the outset of their journey.  The role of the sage is not to grant healing or wisdom but to prepare the traveller for the difficulties they might encounter on their journey.  Our process begins with an in depth intake assessment by our therapists and medical staff.   We begin with listening and learning to see the client in the context of their past and surroundings.  Our therapists are all specifically trained in psychedelic therapy and experienced with ketamine assisted psychotherapy and nature connection.  The medical team ensures sure that ketamine is a safe treatment with regards to the patient's health and medications.  From here clients will begin a 6 week process of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy with preparatory and integrative therapy sessions and guided nature connection work.  Clients will also be guided to foster nature connection in a place near their home so that their experiences remain accessible during and after sessions at our center.  

Studying the Map, Choosing Supplies

Clients will meet with our therapists before their first ketamine experience in a preparatory session to focus on therapeutic goals and how to use the process of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy and nature connection to chart a path to wellness.  Our therapist's experiences in nature connection therapy combined with their training in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy, guide the approach that will be used throughout the client’s journey.  Our therapeutic and medical practitioners meet regularly to make sure that their recommendations and strategies are synergistic and well aligned.  Too often, in modern healthcare, clients are forced to move between providers who do not communicate with one another.  Our psychiatrist, therapist, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner work in the same space and meet regularly to share perspectives in hopes of offering each client the best possible care. We are a close knit team and clients feel the comfortable and informal approach we use to working with one another.  

Crossing the Threshold

Often, in a myth or story, the heroine or hero leaves The Sage to cross a river into an unknown land and this is where the adventure truly begins.  After their initial assessment and preparatory session clients will have a 3 hour ketamine assisted psychotherapy session with our therapist which is monitored by our medical staff. Typically we use oral ketamine and the first session is designed as an introductory session with increasing doses in subsequent sessions based on the outcome of the first session.  When weather allows, these sessions will be conducted in our outdoor offices, but our indoor offices are always available, cozy, and designed for this work. We use music and aroma to fully engage the senses. Clients will need transportation home from these sessions and we offer a large well lit house with tea and coffee, room for yoga/dance, and a place to work for anyone who is accompanying our clients on their journey.  The day after the psychedelic assisted psychotherapy session, we will see clients in person or virtually in the space that they have designated near their home for nature connection. In this integrative therapy session they will be guided to assemble the narrative of their experience and see it in the context of their daily surroundings.  Ketamine sessions are typically held on Thursdays so that Fridays can be committed to integration and the weekend can be taken for rest.  We believe this process is more effective when clients do not have work or significant obligations on the Thursdays and Fridays of treatment, but we can schedule to meet our client's needs.  

The Ordeal, The Innermost Cave

In what can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of their adventure, clients will continue the journey to a new place where the process of healing the inner healer can begin. In weeks 3, 4, and 5, clients will have repeated weekly Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions.  Each of these is preceded by a 90 minute preparatory therapy session focused on using nature connection to potentiate the healing benefits of psychedelic therapy.  Unlike the first week’s session, these preparatory sessions are done in groups of 2-6 people.  Groups are limited to clients who are also engaged in psychedelic work but who may be in different phases of the journey.  We find that, on a new trail, encountering fellow travellers helps foster the courage to continue the journey.  Each ketamine assisted psychotherapy session is followed by a virtual integrative therapy session conducted from a space near the clients home that they have chosen as a space for nature connection.  Clients will also meet with the medical team to address any issues relevant to the safe and healthy use of ketamine.  

The Finding of the Elixir and Preparing to Return

There comes a point in a journey after we have found what we sought and our hearts and eyes turn towards home and returning with the gifts that our journey has provided.  In week 6, clients will meet again with their therapist to create a shared telling of the story of their journey.  An individual exit ceremony will be conducted by our lead therapist to honor the client’s journey and plan for their return to the surroundings of daily life with a new way of seeing and healing. 

Protecting the Elixir

One purpose of our focus on nature connection is to build a bridge between sacred and ordinary space.  Psychedelic experiences are singular and meaningful, but the gravity of habit and our daily surroundings can lessen their impact over time without a good strategy for accessing this new perspective.  By teaching clients how to engage each of their senses in nature and how to develop a strong daily connection to nature, we hope to give them a tool for creating durable change.  We offer our clients continued guided nature connection experiences in small groups for 4 months after their exit from our psychedelic assisted psychotherapy protocol.  These sessions will include clients who are currently completing the journey and offers everyone involved a chance to realize that no one is walking the trail alone.  Moving towards health is a pilgrimage and meeting travellers going both directions is valuable.  If needed, additional ketamine assisted psychotherapy sessions can be scheduled at a reduced rate for clients who have completed the protocol. 

Typical Timeline for Therapy

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