With her newly opened Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy private practice at the Arizona Healing Collective in Mesa, Ajona Olsen, MSN, APRN, ANP-C, addresses a medical need that currently affects the nearly 50 million adults in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million youth who are suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety and/or depression. “Post-traumatic stress disorder has also been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in conjunction with psychotherapy works to treat mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression and PTSD, on a deeper level than anti-depressants or therapy on its own. The need for this type of medical care is enormous and has grown tremendously because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Olsen, who began her career in healthcare in 2001 as a registered nurse in the hospital and in 2006 became a nurse practitioner and continued working in corporate medicine.
“While ketamine has been around for a while, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy has recently developed in the medical world as healthcare professionals explore the benefits of psychedelics as an effective treatment for mental health from a safe, medical perspective,” Olsen says.
Explaining that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is best effective at treating mental health conditions when it is working in conjunction with psychotherapy or psychiatry, Olsen says her KAP private practice will work side by side with a local therapist or psychiatrist her client may already be working with. “Ketamine and specifically ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will be used as a tool to help the client perform deeper work that would allow more rapid healing to occur.”
Olsen foresees growing into a practice model that combines medical and psychotherapy treatments at the same practice, in which the prescriber will do the medical exam and administer the ketamine medication while the therapist sits with the client during the KAP session; integration pre- and post-session with talk therapy would happen all in one practice. “I do think it would remain open, however, if a client has an established rapport with their therapist, then they would certainly use my clinic for the KAP session and follow weekly with their own therapist, which is the model I currently practice now.”
Did You Know: Ketamine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use as an anesthetic since 1970. Ketamine is safe for use in people within a wide age range when taken correctly and in medical settings.
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