You’ve made the decision to move forward with a ketamine therapy treatment. You may have explored the importance of set and setting, and have a sense that you’d like to have your experiences in an environment that is conducive and welcoming, with trained practitioners and clinicians present. The job now is to find a ketamine clinic that is safe, accessible, and can provide the style and quality of treatment that you want.
Where do you begin? How do you identify the clinics and the practitioners that are best suited to help you on your journey? It’s not always straightforward, and finding the solutions that fit best for you is an important part of this process.
This article will explore the process of vetting ketamine clinics and ketamine practitioners, to help ensure your personal safety, program efficacy, and strength of the experiences.
Deciding on IV/IM Clinic or At-Home Ketamine Treatment Methods
The first step is to ensure and confirm that you have selected the correct style of treatment for you. Sometimes decisions are made simply because you don’t know that other options are available. It’s important to have a complete sense of the landscape and all of the available options before choosing something to move forward with.
We have covered the types of ketamine treatments currently available in great detail, including IV (intravenous) infusions, IM (intramuscular) injections, tablets, and nasal sprays. We suggest reviewing that resource to ensure that you are selecting the option that best fits your lifestyle, available price range, and has the level of support, care, and integration guidance that you require or expect to have.
The next choice is whether you’d prefer to receive treatment in a clinic or in the comfort of your own home. Platforms like Mindbloom offer the ability to receive treatment anywhere virtually, provided you’re in a qualifying U.S. state. You can determine if you’re a Mindbloom candidate by taking our free assessment.
Regardless of your decision to receive treatment at home, or head into an in-person clinic, the next step in this process is identifying quality practitioners and quality clinics to provide this treatment.
Identifying Quality Ketamine Practitioners
Throughout your experience you will be working directly with a licensed, trained, and experienced practitioner/clinician. If you’re unsure of the qualifications of your care team, we recommend confirming this before taking any further treatment steps.
How do you understand these qualifications, areas of specialization, and the scope at which the care team is available for assistance before, during, and after your individual dosing sessions?
There are a few factors that go into determining the quality and appropriateness of the practitioner for you.
Education or training
First, you want to ensure that they have an adequate level of education and training in ketamine treatment or therapy to be helpful.
You will want to look at education and depth of study, such as with Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (PNP’s) or Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C), that are currently licensed and able to provide therapeutic ketamine administration.
Experience with medicine
Second, you want to ensure that they have experience with ketamine treatment. They should have experience providing ketamine treatment for others in order to adequately hold space and provide support in times of need.
Given the nature of the ketamine experience, knowing that your provider has gone through this experience is essential to build trust and rapport in the client-clinician relationship.
It’s highly beneficial that you both share compatible mental frameworks and understandings of how this treatment works, what is important about it, or how the healing process works.
It can be challenging and confronting and erode trust and safety if you find out that you differ greatly on ideology and principles half way through treatment. Asking to learn more about why they do this work and how they approach their work is not something to overlook in this exploratory research process.
Available support level
You must personally determine or decide on the level of available support that you would like from your clinician throughout the treatment process. Does the clinician work with a team that will help you integrate and process your experiences?
Do you expect the opportunity for integration conversations, ability to contact them after dosing sessions for conversation, or otherwise? While this type of support is available with Mindbloom, this is not a service that always comes included in ketamine treatment at in-person clinics. You should know what you expect/want from your clinician during your treatment program, and ensure that they have the capacity and willingness to be able to provide this for you.
The client-clinician relationship is the bedrock of ketamine treatment, and ensuring that you have found a clinician that you are happy with, have trust and rapport with, is an essential component of this process.
Identifying Quality Ketamine Clinics or Online Treatment Platforms
While at-home treatment options like Mindbloom give you control over your own mindset and physical setting (Set & Setting), if you’ve chosen to visit an in-person ketamine clinic, it’s helpful to investigate the clinic they work at and the space that you will be having your sessions in.
Different in-person clinics may have different standards. They may have different resources available to and for you, and so exploring this in further detail will help cement the trust you have going into this process. With Mindbloom, your Guide can help answer any questions about available resources or the process, and lend extra support if needed.
Some factors to look for in ketamine treatment via telemedicine or in-person ketamine clinics:
First things first, always ensure that they follow regulations. This includes patient-doctor confidentiality agreements, payment protocols, or if you’re seeking in-person treatment, cleanliness and sanitation. These may seem minor, but friction or confusion or distrust leading up to your dosing sessions can have a significant impact on your experience and quality of care. Attention to detail matters.
If you’re considering an in-person ketamine clinic, is the space welcoming for you? Does it have the atmosphere and the resources that you would prefer? Knowing where you will have your sessions, what the space is like, and what is included are all important factors that go into establishing your Set & Setting for the dosing sessions.
If you’re choosing at-home treatment with Mindbloom, your Guide can make recommendations on how to make your space and ambiance as comfortable as possible.
After your in-person treatment concludes, is there a space that you can stay within after your dosing sessions for rest and recovery? Being asked to leave quickly after the sessions while partially under the influence of the medicine can be disorienting, unappealing, and even dangerous. Ensure that there is space and breathing room for you after the dosing session to allow yourself to acclimatize to your environment.
What are the specific dosing methodologies that the telemedicine platform or clinic uses and follows? How do they determine your dose amounts? Do they refer to your previous historical treatment and medical data to determine this? Where do they receive their medicine from? These questions are part of good due diligence, helping you feel confident in your decision.
These two critical components — quality clinicians working within quality clinical settings — are absolutely fundamental to the safety, quality, and efficacy of the ketamine treatment you will receive. If you can be confident and feel secure with these decisions, you are in good hands for powerful healing experiences
What to Ask
If you’d like to go through this vetting process before starting your own ketamine treatment program or protocol, there are some questions that you can and should be asking before starting:
- Where did you receive your training and education?
- How many treatments have you administered and facilitated before?
- How do you determine dosages?
- What does the treatment protocol look like?
- Is there preparation or integration support included with this?
- Why do you do this work? How do you approach the healing process?
- Can this treatment work with my existing medical insurance policy?
- What are the costs associated with this treatment?
- Do you personally have any concerns with my medical history or any aspect of working directly with me?
- How could I best assist this process to ensure safe, effective, and powerful experiences?
These questions are good starting points to conversations that you will have with your telemedicine platforms or clinics, and their clinicians, while starting the client intake process. These should help you cover the significant bases covered in the earlier sections.
A reminder: If there is anything in particular that is confusing or concerning to you, raise this as soon as possible. The more information that all parties have, the better. This allows you and your care team to make the best possible decisions for your treatment plans and program protocols.
How to Get Started
Armed with this information and the appropriate questions, you can begin finding telemedicine solutions or ketamine clinics near you, or clinics/clinicians that you would like to work with.
There are several resources to find these options, and many of the questions above are usually addressed directly on the website or with an introductory phone call.
If you are looking for an at-home ketamine treatment solution or ketamine clinic near you, consider these steps:
- Direct Referrals: A great place to start is a referral from somebody you know and trust who has gone through treatment at that location. This helps you ensure a level of care and quality directly, from a trusted source.
- Local Online Searches: If you don’t choose an at-home ketamine treatment experience, searching for ‘ketamine clinics in X’ —where X is your particular region, will surface a list of nearby clinics. As always, just because a clinic is close does not guarantee that it will be the best fit for you. This is where your screening questions and due diligence steps will be important.
- Online Directories: Ketamine treatment is an established practice, fortunately there are many available telemedicine options and clinics providing this treatment, and a number of online directories exist to help create single sources of trusted resources for you. Some of the directories include: Ketamine Clinics Directory, Ketamine Directory, ASKP, Ketamine Academy, and Ketamine Therapy USA.
- Personal Clinicians: Another opportunity you have is to speak directly with your personal clinician. Let them know that ketamine treatment is something you are interested in pursuing, and ask them if they have any recommendations or resources they can share with you.
The challenge and opportunity of working with ketamine platforms or providers isn't the lack of available options, it’s simply finding the one that will work best for you and your specific circumstances. Using the information and questions above, paired with the online directories or resources from trusted parties gives you both the resources and the skills needed to find and vet the best option for you.
The decision to move forward with ketamine treatment is a beautiful step and act of self-love. Because ketamine treatment can be so powerful, it deserves a level of respect and due diligence on the part of the client.
Doing your homework, determining your needs and wants, and working alongside the clinics and clinicians to arrange this will help ensure your personal safety, your program efficacy, and help to facilitate powerful healing experiences for you. Enjoy the process, and here’s to your healing.
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 the National Suicide Prevention Line at +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