Ketamine therapy is new to many Mindbloom® clients, as is the at-home treatment modality. Questions around the safety and efficacy of treatment are not only expected, but welcomed.
Mindbloom helps safely facilitate hundreds of at-home ketamine therapy sessions a day, thanks in large part to our expert Clinician and Guide teams. Clients are active participants in the safety and efficacy of their own healing journeys.
To help you achieve the best possible outcomes through at-home treatment, we’d like to share 10 essential tips for safe, effective at-home ketamine therapy sessions.
First, why should I choose at-home treatment?
At-home ketamine treatment provides levels of comfort, convenience, and familiarity that in-person clinics can’t easily replicate. This helps create a foundation of support when embarking on healing journeys.
Here are a few of many benefits available through at-home therapeutic sessions:
- Affordable treatment. Without the overhead cost of in-person clinics, the savings are passed on to you.
- Convenient and accessible care. No more hour-plus commutes, waiting rooms, or fruitless searches for a nearby provider.
- Comfortable and familiar settings. Want to have your session in your bed, in your pajamas? It’s up to you!
- Easy “landings.” Since you’re already at home, you can smoothly return to your day-to-day after sessions.
- It’s human. At-home treatment is the future of healthcare. It meets you where you are, not the other way around.
Now, on to those essential tips.
1. Coordinate with your Peer Treatment Monitor
Mindbloom requires that you have a Peer Treatment Monitor (PTM) present for your sessions.
Why is this a requirement? Your PTM helps ensure that you are safe and supported during your sessions, while also giving you the healing space you require.
You might ask them to stay in the room, to keep watch over you. Or, you may ask them to keep track of session time, so that you remain fully in the experience. You might also ask them to prepare some food and water for after the session.
For PTMs, no prior experience is needed. Your PTM will join you and your Mindbloom guide during your first session for a preparatory talk. If a new PTM is needed for subsequent sessions, they’ll get the same rundown.
Beyond your PTM’s comforting presence, you should feel empowered to make direct requests of your PTM to help you ensure that you feel seen, safe, and supported throughout your sessions.
2. Preparation begins in the days before your session
The process of ensuring a safe session begins on the days that lead up to it.
There are many steps you can take to ensure a ready environment and headspace in the days or hours before your session.
Here are a few suggested preparation steps:
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Clear your schedule the day of your session
- Make time to journal about your intentions for the session
- Set up your session space
- Ground yourself by walking in nature
Preparing your space, clearing your mind, taking care of your body, and clarifying your intentions are critical to the process. All of these steps go towards transformative, safe, and effective healing sessions.
3. Reduce the possibility of distractions or interruptions
It’s important to find a calm, comfortable space to receive your session in, so you may focus entirely on yourself and the experience. We understand that’s not always possible, depending on your living situation.
Pets, roommates, and partners can easily create distractions, whether by noise or awareness of their presence through frequent movement.
Are you a parent? If able, ask your spouse, family, or friends to watch your children for a few hours. This ensures you have time and space to focus on yourself, and there is no possibility of someone entering the room during your session.
Objects and events can also be distractions. Make sure your phone is on silent/airplane mode. If you have deliveries scheduled that day, leave a note on the door to not be disturbed.
The more you’re able to ensure that you have no distractions or interruptions ahead of time, the more deeply you’ll present for your own experience.
4. Create a clean, comfortable, beautiful space
“Set and setting” is a concept that helps you prepare for positive and powerful experiences. “Set” is your mindset, and “setting” is the physical space you’ll be in.
There are several suggestions to improve your setting:
- Clean your space. For better vibes, remove visual clutter that may act as a pre-session distraction. For safety, make sure there is nothing blocking your path from the bed, couch, or chair to the restroom, should you or your PTM need it.
- Get comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes, turn on a heating blanket, or organize your room. Anything you need to help you relax.
- Surround yourself with beauty. Coming out of a session into a beautiful environment allows for a smooth transition to your waking state again. Put a bouquet of flowers in a vase, hang some art that resonates, or turn on some mood lighting.
A clean, comfortable, and beautiful space is the trifecta of physical space preparation.
5. Be informed & prepared
Knowing that you have your PTM’s support —and that of your on-call Mindbloom Care Team if needed— gives you confidence and peace when going into a session.
Ask your Mindbloom Guide about the nature of the experience, potential side effects, and how you may feel during and after. Coordinate with your PTM and your Guide on what to do if you may need support.
Being well-informed of how the process typically unfolds, and what you can do to receive additional support, goes a long way.
At Mindbloom, your Care Team is available to you through each step of your experience.
6. Take space and time before and after sessions
At-home ketamine treatment sessions with Mindbloom are about 1.5 hours from start to finish, including light journaling in the last half hour.
Feeling rushed before, during, or after your session is never ideal. It may take you out of the ideal mindset for your experience.
It’s helpful to dedicate an hour before the session to relax and prepare. An hour on the other side of the session provides adequate time to return to wakefulness, as after your experience you may still feel some residual effects of the medicine.
Taking space for yourself, and giving yourself some buffer time before and after your session is crucial. It helps ensure your safety, and solidify the efficacy and outcome of your healing sessions.
7. Follow the recommended guidelines
Above all of the recommendations, you should follow the guidelines and protocols set by your Care Team. These are developed by expert clinicians and guides with years of direct experience facilitating these kinds of sessions.
Each step, each item in your Bloombox®, and specific timing and dosages exist for a reason. If there is a recommendation, adhere to the protocol to the best of your abilities. These recommendations exist specifically to help create safe, supportive, and powerful healing sessions.
If you have any questions, or disagree with any aspect of the program or protocol, you should contact your Care Team first to discuss. Making the decision to do things a different way may affect the positive outcomes you’re seeking.
8. Remain as consistent as possible
As you become more familiar with the experiences, you may feel inclined to mix things up.
Maybe you’ll wear a hoodie for this next session. Perhaps you’ll turn your salt lamp on in the corner this time. Or, you’ll choose to use a Bluetooth speaker versus headphones for a different music experience.
While these are your choice, it’s important to try not to change session routines too much.
The hoodie may make you too hot, and uncomfortable. You may not realize that the lamp cable crosses over the doorway until you’re in your session, creating a tripping hazard. Your Bluetooth speaker might have notification settings that play a ding in the middle of the session.
The more you change what has already worked for you, the greater the possibility of experiential distractions or hazards.
It’s wise to make small changes, slowly, and test them before the session whenever possible.
9. Trust, let go, and be open
“Trust, let go, and be open” (TLO), is a time-tested mantra when working with psychedelic medicines. You can read a deeper exploration of TLO here.
Trust that the experience will work out for you. Trust that you are safe and supported. Let go of your expectations, your uncertainties, your controlling narratives. And be open to receiving the healing and the experiences that you need at this moment in time.
TLO is a powerful tool to enter into your sessions with the right mindset, the other half of the ‘set and setting’ framework. Just as much as preparing your space is important, so too is preparing your mental space. Trust, let go, and be open.
10. Work with your care team
As always, if you have any questions or hesitations, please reach out to your Guide or Care Team to ask.
Mindbloom’s licensed clinicians and experienced Guides are here to support you, and want you to achieve your best outcomes. These resources are available to all Mindbloom clients. It’s one of the easiest ways to ensure you are safe and supported, and prepare yourself in the best way possible.
The at-home ketamine treatment modality can provide a safe and comfortable experience, which has been shown to produce effective outcomes. Mindbloom has helped thousands of individuals, over tens of thousands of at-home psychedelic medicine sessions.
Approaching new healing options and experiences can be intimidating. By considering these preparatory steps, you put yourself in the best position possible for the personal healing and growth you may be seeking.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call, text, or chat the National Suicide Prevention Line at 988 or +1 (800) 273-8255, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.
Important FDA Safety Information
Ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression or anxiety. Learn more about off-label uses here.
Side effects of ketamine treatment may include: altered sense of time, anxiety, blurred vision, diminished ability to see/hear/feel, dry mouth, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure, excitability, loss of appetite, mental confusion, nausea/vomiting, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), restlessness, slurred speech, synesthesia (a mingling of the senses).
Do not proceed with ketamine treatment if any of the following apply to you:
- Allergic to ketamine
- Symptoms of psychosis or mania
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- CHF or other serious heart problem
- Severe breathing problem
- History of elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure
- History of hyperthyroidism
- Other serious medical illness
- Pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant
Ketamine has been reported to produce issues including, but not limited to, those listed below. However, lasting adverse side-effects are rare when medical protocols are carefully followed.
While ketamine has not been shown to be physically addictive, it has been shown to cause moderate psychological dependency in some recreational users.
- In rare cases, frequent, heavy users have reported increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence, pain urinating, passing blood in the urine, or reduced bladder size
- Ketamine may worsen problems in people with schizophrenia, severe personality disorders, or other serious mental disorders.
- Users with a personal or family history of psychosis should be cautious using any psychoactive substance, including ketamine, and discuss potential risks with your MindBloom® clinician before proceeding with treatment.
- The dissociative effects of ketamine may increase patient vulnerability and the risk of accidents.
To promote positive outcomes and ensure safety, follow these ketamine treatment guidelines:
- Do not operate a vehicle (e.g., car, motorcycle, bicycle) or heavy machinery following treatment until you’ve had a full night of sleep
- Refrain from taking benzodiazepines or stimulants for 24 hours prior to treatment
- Continue to take antihypertensive medication as prescribed
- Avoid hangovers or alcohol intake
- Refrain from consuming solid foods within 3 hours prior to treatment and liquids within 1 hour prior to treatment
- Ketamine treatment should never be conducted without a monitor present to ensure your safety