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Psychedelic Assisted Therapy 101: 

You have questions? We have answers!

Psychedelic Assisted Therapy FAQ:

Do you provide therapy with psilocybin? 

No, not in Colorado until mid 2024 when the accountability and licensing infrastructure has been completed.

What training is needed for a therapist to be able to offer psychedelic assisted therapy?

At this moment, in Colorado, no training is required. Soon the state will have a similar training standard to Oregon, who passed legislation legalizing psychedelic assisted therapy in 2020. It is vitally important that you ask any prospective therapist about their training, and if it included them having their own experiences, observation of other sessions, and mentorship.

What is the difference between Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and Cannabis Assisted Psychotherapy?

The experience of each substance is different, but the process is the same. Ketamine has been compared to being wrapped in a puffy blanket and going to do battle with dragons, and cannabis has been described as having your issues directly in front of you. Both states are navigated in therapy by encouraging clients to observe their experiences and let their body guide them. We often encourage those experiencing depression to try ketamine first, however the choice is between you and your therapist. 

How do I prepare for a psychedelic assisted therapy session?

Set and Setting are the key to a productive psychedelic experience. Begin by limiting your media consumption, and consider eating a plant based diet. On the day of, arrive having fasted for 3+ hours. Consider asking friends if they are open to calls or texts after your session. Ask family members for space and support. Bring your favorite blanket, pillow or personal item to your session, as well as your intentions for the session.

Video Transcript:

Hi, my name is Aleya Littleton with Wild and Wonderful Life. And if you found us here, you probably have some questions about psychedelic assisted therapy. Hopefully we'll answer those for you in a short-ish amount of time. And if you have any other questions, please click the consult button below and schedule a time to talk with us on the phone and we can answer more of your specific questions and possibly get you connected with a provider. 


So “why?” - Psychedelics provide what's called.  departure from the ordinary state of consciousness. This is the lens through which we typically see the world in our sober minds.


We have our ego, we have our beliefs, we have our past experiences, all things which color our experiences. That coloring can sometimes serve to keep them stuck in our minds. When you have that experience of stuckness, it's typically because there's something that has risen up to protect a belief, to protect an experience.


Psychedelics can help lower those walls and make, accessing those memories, those big emotions - more easeful, not easy, but more easeful. We at Wild and Wonderful Life use ketamine and cannabis. We've been providing this type of therapy since 2019. In our experience, the medicine that we choose - we make that decision with each client - it depends on how their nervous system is responding to stress at the moment. For example, depression and ketamine tend to go very well together because ketamine works with the glutamate and the opioid receptors in the brain. And as a medicine, a medication on its own, it has been promising in treating depression.


Specifically cannabis, for example, has very little research around therapeutic applications like this. However, a dose of THC is enough to lower our default mode network to activate that non-ordinary state of consciousness and allow us to see and experience things from another perspective.


The feeling difference between the two - ketamine is like getting wrapped in a white, puffy blanket and going out and doing battle with dragons. Cannabis is a little bit more in your face - “we are gonna deal with this now and we're gonna press through it.” It can be more upregulating and more activating.


We've had clients use one and then switch to another, and we've had clients really consistently stick with one over the course of their treatment with us. That decision, though, will be made with you, your doctor, your therapist, and your prescriber. So it will not be made lightly and it will not be made without getting to know you quite well.


So who is this a good fit for? This type of work is a good fit for somebody who is well-resourced, but yet has that thing that they're stuck on, well-resourced. What does that mean? That means you have a good foundation of coping tools and. Skills that help you deal with big emotions and mental health concerns in your day-to-day life. It doesn't mean that you don't have mental health concerns . It means that you have strategies, you have solutions, you have people, relationships that you can fall back on. Well resourced and stabilized also looks like probably having good housing and a decent enough job so that you don't have extra stresses that can collapse in on you.


As we start to uncrack the mental health issues that psychedelic assisted work can uncover and open. Essentially, we need you to have a good enough set of skills so that when we dive deep and that stuff comes up and you'd start to feel more, you can actually handle it, and you can handle it in a way that's not gonna disrupt your entire life.


We've worked with anxiety, social anxiety, existential anxiety, chronic anxiety. We've worked with depression, both mild and treatment resistant. We've worked with trauma P T S D from a single event all the way to chronic P T S D from a lifetime of poverty and stress. Experiences, and we've also seen some really cool help in medicine assisted work with people going through life transitions, looking to figure out who they are at this moment and what comes next for them.

It can be really, really useful in that context as well. 


So how, how does this work? First of all, we will work to create a positive and healthy relationship with you. That relationship between a client and a therapist is so key to making psychedelic assisted therapy work. What we have seen is that when that relationship is good, when you know that you can trust your therapist, when you know that your therapist knows you well enough to guide you through some of the tricky parts that might come up during a session where you're very vulnerable, it actually allows you as a client to.


Deeply into that experience. It allows the medicine to have an even more profound effect on your system, and that's all because of trust and surrender. We can't surrender without that kind of trust, so. No, we will not be doing medicine assisted work with you at your very first appointment. One question we frequently get is how long will it actually take before we start doing medicine assisted work?


Because each person is different. Every answer is going to be different. We've worked with people as quickly as four sessions, all the way to taking a couple of months to actually get fully prepared and ready, for the impact that this is gonna have on your. . So the answer really is, it depends. And the timeline will be based on you, how your body works and what you prefer.


So in the actual session, if we're working with ketamine, we get that through a prescription with one of our partnering psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners. If you're working with cannabis, that's gonna come from a dispensary. We'll help you select which variety that you want to bring in.


With these sessions, they're two hours long - which is absolutely convenient, compared to what psilocybin is gonna be in 2024 when it's legal and available. It is legal now. It is not available for therapists to use yet, though. So in 2024, psilocybin sessions are gonna be quite a bit longer and you're gonna feel the effects of the medicine for quite a lot more of the day.


Whereas ketamine fits into a nice two hour window where you might feel a little bit relaxed, a little bit sleepy afterwards. But for the most part, you can go back home and have a good rest. Same timeline with cannabis. We use a two hour appointment and a couple hours after you're done with your session, you should be fully free from the effects at the beginning of that two hour session.


Then we do a bit of a check-in. We wanna see who comes in, what, what are you dealing with? Did anything happen? What is your body feeling like today? We help you set intentions for the sessions that your therapist can guide you back to the purpose of you being here. And then with the ketamine, it's delivered through a sublingual trophy, takes 15 minutes of not swallowing to settle under your tongue. And with cannabis, it's an inhale. We prefer using a vaporizer of some kind so that our landlord doesn't get too upset with us for the smell. But then once the medication is on board, you will sit with your therapist. We have a couch, we have a bed, we have the floor, we have pillows, we have blankets. We encourage you to bring in things to help make yourself comfortable in the space. You'll begin to feel the medicine work. And then your therapist will usually begin by asking you to check in with your body and to notice what it's feeling. And then after that, we will move more intentionally towards processing what has physically come up at first, and incorporating your intention during that session.


After your time together is done, probably about 10 minutes before the end of that two hours, your therapist will invite you to start sobering up a little bit and getting ready to exit the office and to go back into the real world. You all absolutely need a ride. After that session is done, it is a

terrible idea to leave the therapy office and to drive yourself home with medicine on board. Mostly because we have this wonderful mechanism in our nervous system where if we're in danger, we tend to have the ability to sober up really quickly. Your therapist asking you about your trauma can feel dangerous and your body can sober up. Then when you get into your car, it will go, “oh, we're away from that scary therapist, who is asking us questions about the thing that we don't wanna talk about quite yet.” And then all of the effects of the medicine will flood you making it a very dangerous situation. So beyond that, getting a ride - with the rest of your day, we just ask that you don't do anything stressful, but you can go home, you can work, you can do some chores, you can listen to some nice music. And what's super cool is the processing that we did during the medicine session actually, continues on over the next day or so. Likely you'll even realize things in the morning when you wake up after a good night's sleep.


Another question that we get quite frequently is, what is the experience actually like? Again, these experiences are as diverse as our clients. It ranges from, it's easier to talk about my trauma now - all the way to, I have met my own soul and I have flown into the cosmos with them. They have reentered my body and now I need to, now I know what I need to do with my life.


The one thing that I can say is that your experience is going to be exactly what you need it to be. This type of work has reinvigorated my faith in humanity. Actually, it's a big statement, but we all have this impulse towards health and wholeness, and when we can get out of our own way, that impulse really rises to the surface.


So if it's a profound session- if it's a neutral, safe or nurturing session - whatever you need, that's the type of session that's going to happen for you. When it comes to how many sessions,  the cost and, and some of those logistical things, again, we can't make the prediction of how many sessions you're going to need with the cost. Though what I will say is that we, being a private pay practice only, we feel very strongly that finances and discussions around costs need to be included as part of therapy. We are one of the most affordable places in the entire state to get this type of service right now, because we firmly feel that we need good quality access to quality healthcare with quality providers.


And so with that in mind, we like to keep our costs low and our minds open. So if you need a fee reduction in order to keep your sessions, keep your therapy going until it's actually resolved and done until what's been cracked open has been put back together again - Please, please, please bring finances up to your therapist so that we can continue to do that work until you're ready for it to be done.


In the meantime, we also believe in ethical, safe, and competent practice here, which means that we work in community. We do lots of professional development, we do lots of training, and we do lots of networking and peer consulting because working as part of a community is gonna be the thing that keeps us all safe as we navigate this essentially uncharted field when you're looking for a therapist to do this type of work with, please don't hesitate to ask them about their own personal experience and training, especially considering there are online eight hour one day certifications to offer medicine assisted work, and then there are. Three year long programs that don't have any experiential or mentorship involved.


So ask your therapist where they got their training, how long they've been working, what their perspective on health is, if they had personal experiences with psychedelics as part of their training and if they got mentorship and. Support as part of their training. If you hear answers that you like and your therapist has a good sense of humor,  the ability to ask for help and not take themselves too seriously, then you've probably found a good match.


We would love to hear from you, so any extra questions you have, please click the consult or contact button below. Send us a message or schedule a call, and even if it's not with us, we wanna make sure that you get the kind of care you need. Please don't hesitate to reach out. We're really looking forward to hearing from you, and until then, have a good one.

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