Darlene Egelhoff
(970) 209-9086
Darlene@ascentcounselingcolorado.com
503 6th St, Suite 3, Crested Butte 81224

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is a revolutionary, rapid-acting, transformative therapy that is changing peoples lives. It is a proven innovative and often effective treatment for depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, and suicidal ideation. It is considered to be more effective at curing depression and anxiety than all other traditional types of therapy by many professionals and clients. There are various studies documenting that ketamine typically eliminates suicidal ideation within hours. KAP can also be beneficial for other mental-health related conditions as well as feeling stuck in life and wanting major insights to change. Some seek ketamine treatment for psychological and spiritual exploration to attain a broader perspective on life.


Ketamine is most effective in conjunction with psychotherapy. This approach taps into ketamine’s ability to promote deeper states of self-awareness and expedites its healing potential. In KAP treatments, clients work with me to prepare for and understand the experience and insights that they will typically have during ketamine sessions. KAP treatment focuses on the importance of integration to gain the optimal effects and long term benefits. Integration is important to help make sense of what you learn in ketamine medicine sessions and to help apply these insights to make positive and lasting changes in your life.


Ketamine sublingual lozenges are the route of administration used at Ascent Counseling. They are prescribed by a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, or naturopath doctor. Lozenges are taken in session and monitored by a trained KAP therapist. I use the psychedelic psychotherapy format in session with selected music, headphones and eyeshades to deepen the inward journey and enhance the power this medicine provides. Medical sessions last about two hours. Most clients find the experience positive and helpful for the challenges they face with profound and rapid effects in one to four hours. It is typical to experience a swift reset, relief, and improved neuroplasticity, which is the brains ability to be rewired, reshaped through growth and reorganization… in short, break old patterns of thinking and view things from a more helpful, open perspective.


Ketamine is an off-label treatment that has demonstrated a high response rate with treatment resistant depression and other mental conditions whereby people have not responded well to at least two adequate trials of traditional anti-depressants, or more complete courses of medications and therapy that has not worked. Decades of clinical use have proven Ketamine to be safe and effective. The American Psychiatric Association has confirmed the effectiveness of Ketamine as a robust antidepressant after many clinical trials. The National Institute of Health has called it a top medical innovation.


Ketamine is a Schedule III medication that has long been used safely as an anesthetic and analgesic agent. The doses administered for KAP are ten to twenty five percent less than doses used in anesthesia procedures. Ketamine is classified as a dissociative medication that typically results in a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual separate self, aka: the default mode network (DMN). Ketamine appears to work by targeting the NMDA receptors in the brain. Research has shown that ketamine enhances the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a key brain hormone which can promote reversal of the loss of connectivity between neurons caused by chronic depression resulting in its antidepressant effects. BDNF also promotes neuroplasticity, helping your brain learn and adapt to break free from stuck patterns of mood, thought, and behavior. The medicinal effects of Ketamine have the power to grow new connections, create healthier thought patterns, and a change perspectives in a profound way that heals through understanding, insight, a renewed sense of connection, and expansiveness. Ketamine normalizes activity of the DMN, the part of the brain that is responsible for obsessive negative thinking, rumination, and feelings of separateness, contributing to many mental health issues. Reduced activity in the DMN creates an opportunity to get unstuck and regain hope with improved enjoyment of life which can be sustained for months and sometimes years with integration and therapy.


KAP is not appropriate if you are pregnant, have a psychotic disorder, active mania, uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart or liver disease, or an active substance use disorder. It may not be appropriate is you have sleep apnea.


Clients will need intake sessions with both me and the prescribing medical professional, meet criteria, and be approved for KAP sessions. Both the client and myself will need to feel comfortable together and have a trusting relationship before beginning KAP which is typically within a few sessions. The medicine session will last from two to three hours depending on the client. Clients will agree in advance not to drive after medicine session and for as long as client is feeling effects of the medicine. Clients will confirm with therapist safe arrangements for transportation after their medicine session. Client will be asked to agree to meet for a therapy session within two days of medicine session while neuroplasticity is fresh to process and integrate their experience. Therapy sessions are typically fifty minutes.


The number of recommended KAP sessions depends on the clients specific treatment needs. Generally, patients receiving ketamine treatment will benefit from six to eight sessions. For those struggling with chronic, treatment-resistant depression or suicidality, six or more sessions of medicine and psychotherapy are often necessary for sustained benefits. Some clients may return for occasional booster sessions every few months to maintain these benefits.


Ascent Counseling provides a range of integrative mental health services that work well with and enhance ketamine therapy with a holistic approach that considers mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of wellness from diet and lifestyle to spiritual and cognitive functioning. We combine treatments such as EMDR, IFS, Amino Acid Therapy, and NutritionalTherapy that enhance the brain remodeling effects of ketamine and provide optimal results for your well being.  


“Recent data suggest that (IV) ketamine might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades. First and most important, several studies demonstrate that ketamine reduces depression within six hours, with effects that are equal to or greater than the effects of six weeks of treatment with other antidepressant medications. Second, ketamine’s effects have been noted in people with treatment-resistant depression. This promises a new option for people with some of the most disabling and chronic forms of depression, whether classified as major depressive disorder or bipolar depression. Third, it appears that one of the earliest effects of the drug is a profound reduction in suicidal thoughts.”
Tom Intel MD- former Provost of Harvard University and former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health