Why Awakn Clinics?
We are the UK's leading provider of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, combining the proven therapeutic potential of ketamine with psychotherapy to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, alcohol and substance use disorders and eating disorders.
We believe care should always be client-centred and want you to be well-informed about the clinic and available therapy options. This blog provides information about the treatment we offer to help answer some of your questions.
The Awakn clinical staff have extensive experience in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and have undergone specific training in ketamine-assisted therapy.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a synthetic drug that has been used extensively in medicine since the 1970s.
It is used every day in emergency departments worldwide at high doses as an effective and safe anaesthetic agent for carrying out brief surgical procedures. Indeed, it is so safe that it is often the anaesthetic of choice for children and older people or patients with significant physical health problems.
It has more recently been discovered that at much lower doses, it also has both antidepressant and psychedelic effects.
Rationale Behind the Awakn Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Course
There are a lot of clinics (mainly in the USA and Canada) that provide intravenous (IV) infused ketamine as an antidepressant drug. Most of these clinics do not offer psychotherapy as part of the ketamine treatment.
At Awakn, we use the non-ordinary (altered / psychedelic) state of consciousness to support the therapeutic process. This form of ketamine use is often referred to as Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP).
All clients receiving ketamine at Awakn will also receive psychotherapy sessions to support preparation for dosing and integration of the ketamine experience.
Who is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) for at Awakn Clinics?
We use KAP for a wide range of difficulties, including:
- Anxiety Disorders (including Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD
- Eating Disorders
In all these conditions, the Awakn KAP course combines standard non-drug-assisted psychotherapy sessions alongside drug-assisted ketamine sessions.
How do I start the Awakn KAP course?
All clients undergoing KAP must be under the care of a UK-registered GP. This is essential for us to communicate medical issues between Awakn and your GP.
You must meet some eligibility criteria before being considered for KAP at Awakn.
Some conditions would exclude you from treatment with psychedelics.
- People with unstable blood pressure
- History of cardiac disease, severe liver or kidney disease
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Children under 18 years old
- People with a history of psychosis (e.g. drug-induced psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar 1 disorder)
- Known history of severe intolerance to ketamine or a history of ketamine dependence
- Those with a high suicide risk
However, every case will be assessed individually and discussed with our clinicians before deciding whether to proceed with treatment.
Once you have been assessed, if we determine that it is safe to proceed, you will be assigned a 1:1 therapist, who will be with you throughout your KAP course. Arrangements will then be made to schedule the dates and times for all your appointments.
What is the Structure of the Treatment?
In the primary course of KAP, you will receive 11 sessions of psychotherapy, typically spread over eight weeks, which will include two non-drug preparation sessions, four ketamine administrations (given intramuscularly, IM), four integration psychotherapy sessions and a final evaluation session approximately three weeks after the end of the therapeutic course.
The ketamine dose will be adjusted in consultation with you, according to your individual response.
All appointments will typically take place in person at the Awakn Clinic. Preparation sessions are usually scheduled over two weeks or twice in one week.
Occasionally, it may be possible to have dosing and integration appointments on the same day, although it is usually preferable to schedule integration on the following day.
We are occasionally able to offer integration sessions remotely if that is preferred.
Support During and After Clinic Visits
At every visit to the Awakn Clinic, you will be closely monitored and cared for by an attendant nurse and your 1:1 therapist. There will always be help on hand.
The whole course will be overseen by a senior medical professional who will ensure you are safe. It is a requirement of treatment that you can identify a supportive person who can meet you at the clinic after each ketamine-assisted session.
It does not need to be the same person each time. If you are struggling to find someone for this role, you can make use of services that can perform this function, for example, Curam Care Services www.curamcare.com/
Questionnaires and Outcome Measures
We'll ask you to complete questionnaires before the initial medical assessment to learn more about you and your presenting difficulties and see how well the course works for you. Some of these will be repeated during the course and again at the end of the course to see how you have progressed.
We collect anonymised, pooled data for service evaluation and research purposes. If you do not want your anonymised data to be used, you can opt out of this on our consent form (given at the initial assessment) and any time during your treatment.
What Happens at the End of the Initial KAP Course?
The final session of KAP (session 11) will be an opportunity for you and your therapist to review progress. Depending on your clinical progress and what you would like to do next, you can repeat the entire 8-week course or opt for a shorter course of one week (with one ketamine session) or four weeks (with two ketamine sessions).
You could take a break and consider further courses in the future. We will also advise you about other options to sustain the benefits of your KAP course, such as mindfulness activities, including meditation, yoga, breathwork, etc. We can signpost you towards non-ketamine talk therapies that use similar models of psychotherapy to those used at Awakn.
We are occasionally able to offer non-medicinal 1:1 therapy in blocks of 6 weekly sessions to support a course of ketamine-assisted therapy. In the future, we hope also to provide group sessions to support continuing integration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please visit our FAQ page for more information about our service and the use of ketamine in therapy.