Written by Deborah Tan, Avesta Ketamine Wellness Co-CEO
In this Post:
- What Do Ketamine Therapists Do?
- Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy vs. Ketamine Integration Therapy
- What do Integration Therapists Do?
- What do Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapists Do?
- Why Should Virginia Patients Work with Ketamine Therapists?
- What Should Patients Do if They Can’t Afford KAP?
- 10 Best Ketamine Therapists in Virginia
Ketamine infusions are transformative for depression, suicidality, PTSD, and anxiety with or without supplementary talk therapy. Still, studies indicate that patients who engage with an experienced ketamine therapist throughout treatment–before, during, and after–experience more lasting benefits compared to those who only receive the medication.
Avesta advocates for the therapeutic model and has personally collaborated with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and integration counselors in Virginia to support patient journeys. Patients seeking a qualified ketamine therapist in Virginia can choose from Avesta’s recommended providers featured in this article.
What Do Ketamine Therapists Do?
Ketamine therapists differ from clinical practitioners who administer and oversee the infusion process. Therapists provide the psychological aspects of ketamine therapy, offering crucial support for patients’ long-term well-being. These specialists consist of two broad categories:
- Ketamine-assisted psychotherapists (KAP)
- Ketamine integration psychotherapists
Each has distinct roles in the context of clinical ketamine use, focusing on different stages of the treatment process.
Explore Avesta’s curated list of KAP and integration therapists to find the support that resonates with your journey.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy vs. Ketamine Integration Therapy
Broadly speaking, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and ketamine integration therapy exist to help patients gain more out of their sessions. The main difference lies in whether or not the psychotherapist is sitting with the patient during the IV or Spravoto sessions.
Ketamine integration therapy is where a psychotherapist helps patients prepare for the experience. Integration therapists also support patients in between and after ketamine sessions to help them process their journeys and translate any lessons into lasting mental health improvements.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a practice where psychotherapists sit with patients during the infusion process to help them feel more comfortable and guide whatever might come up during the session. Most KAP providers help patients prepare for ketamine as well.
What do Integration Therapists Do?
Ketamine Integration Therapists are specially trained to work with patients undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, and they focus on the pre-and post-session phases. Their role is critical in helping patients understand and incorporate their experiences into daily life. Integration therapist responsibilities include:
- Preparation: Ketamine integration therapists help patients set intentions and prepare mentally and emotionally for the experience before the first session.
- Processing the Experience: In between ketamine sessions, integration therapists assist patients in understanding and interpreting the thoughts, feelings, and insights that emerge. This support is essential because the brain is most adaptable in the 24-48 hours following ketamine.
- Integration into Daily Life: Integration therapists help patients apply these insights to their ongoing mental health path, ensuring that the ketamine benefits are maximized and sustained.
- Ongoing Support: Integration therapists may provide continued support, helping patients navigate any long-term changes or insights in the years following ketamine therapy.
Avesta believes integration therapists provide an invaluable service by guiding patients in the moments that matter most. Integration therapy is also typically less expensive per session than KAP and more likely to be covered by insurance.
What do Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapists Do?
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapists are specially trained to manage the patient’s mindset and therapeutic environment to optimize the ketamine experience. Some professionals offer guided meditations to ease patients into ketamine’s dissociative effects.
KAP therapists also offer techniques to help patients calm their nervous systems should they become uncomfortable or anxious throughout. In a typical KAP session, therapists actively guide patients or simply sit beside them as a passive source of emotional comfort. The KAP role includes:
- Preparation: As mentioned, before the ketamine session, KAPs help patients set intentions and prepare mentally and emotionally for the experience.
- Support During the Session: Kestamine-assisted providers offer real-time guidance as the patient undergoes the journey. This might involve helping the patient navigate the ketamine-induced altered state of consciousness. However, most often, KAP therapists sit, take notes, and hold space for the patient because ketamine affects patients’ ability to speak and process emotions due to its unique dissociative action.
- Safety and Comfort: KAPs ensure the patient’s physical and psychological safety during ketamine sessions, creating a comfortable and caring environment.
- Integration into Daily Life & Ongoing Support: KAP psychotherapists also meet with patients between sessions to help them process visions, insights, and emotional challenges.
Avesta understands that some patients benefit from ketamine-assisted therapy and that in-session comfort is essential. At the same time, KAP adds another cost to ketamine beyond the infusions themselves. This service is often unaffordable and may not be necessary since patients struggle to express themselves while under the ketamine influence.
Why Should Patients Work with Ketamine Therapists?
Ketamine initiates an altered state of consciousness and brings deep insights and emotional breakthroughs. Professional guidance helps people process and understand these experiences. Additionally, research indicates that therapy before, during, and after can maximize and prolong benefits.
That’s because ketamine induces a neuroplastic state, allowing the brain to temporarily restructure its cognitive and emotional patterns. Integration therapists can capitalize on this period by working with patients to develop new thoughts, coping mechanisms, and behaviors that align with their therapeutic goals. This process can fundamentally alter how patients perceive and interact with the world, leading to more durable mental health improvements. Integration therapy is generally the most essential for this purpose, while ketamine-assisted psychotherapy provides a distinct function.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapists ensure patients feel safe and supported and reduce the risk of adverse psychological reactions. In-session care is undoubtedly valuable to mitigate emotional harm. However, KAP is not required for enduring benefits, especially for Virginia patients who can’t afford it.
Browse Avesta’s network directory to find a KAP or Integration Therapist who can be your ally in transformative healing.
What Should Patients Do if They Can’t Afford KAP?
Virginia patients who can’t afford a ketamine-assisted psychotherapist on top of treatment costs should not worry. Research proving the necessity of in-session counseling is slim. Rather, ketamine itself is what makes the most immediate and pronounced difference.
Those who can’t afford KAP can:
- Focus on the ketamine infusion experience. Patients who can’t afford KAP in Virginia can rest assured that the medicine works well due to its neurological mechanisms. Avesta has served over 1,000 patients and has witnessed profound mental health transformations without KAP.
- Prepare for the infusion with intention-setting and the right playlist. Patients report that setting pre-journey intentions, mindfully selecting a playlist to match, and allowing the medicine to guide them have produced spectacular results.
- Seek ketamine clinics that provide in-session coaching. Avesta’s ketamine clinics in Mclean, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland, offer trained integration support coaches with psychedelic experience at a much lower price than KAP.
- Find an integration therapist that takes insurance: A growing number of conventional therapists are trained to help ketamine patients integrate the experience between sessions. Virginia patients who can’t afford KAP should consider working with an integration therapist who takes insurance.
10 Best Ketamine Therapists in Virginia
Avesta’s ketamine care team has collaborated with and vetted several Virginia ketamine therapists. Patients can request to work with the following KAP providers and integration therapists in partnership with Avesta’s Mclean clinic.
1. Dr. Kathryn Rheem, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Service: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy
Dr. Kathryn Rheem, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, specializes in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Her training spans 126 hours at renowned centers, equipping her to address complex mental health and relationship issues.
In partnership with Avesta’s Mclean, D.C., and Bethesda, MD clinics, she offers unique therapy sessions combining psychological insights with ketamine’s therapeutic effects. Dr. Rheem’s approach integrates her extensive psychotherapy experience with the transformative potential of ketamine, offering new pathways to healing for couples and individuals.
2. Divine Mind Therapeutics
Service: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP)
In partnership with Avesta’s McLean Virginia clinic, Divine Minds offers a transformative Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Program. The program combines personalized psychotherapy with the revolutionary effects of IV ketamine infusion. Divine Mind tailors its programs to individual needs, focusing on the root causes of mental health conditions to facilitate lasting change. Comprehensive assessments, guided ketamine infusion psychotherapy sessions, and support for integrating insights into daily life are vital components, aiming for holistic transformation in patients’ emotional and mental well-being.
3. Gisell Valdizan, LICSW
Service: Ketamine integration therapy
Gisell Valdizan, LICSW, is a bilingual psychotherapist in Virginia known for her holistic approach to mental health. She skillfully combines techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Mindfulness, and Internal Family Systems in her ketamine integration approach.
As a first-generation immigrant, she brings a unique bicultural perspective, enhancing her empathy and understanding of diverse backgrounds. Passionate about breaking down mental health stigmas and advocating for inclusion and equality, Gisell is an ally for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and non-binary/non-conforming communities. She accepts insurance plans from Anthem, Cigna, and BlueCross & BlueShield.
4. Reynolds & Rubino Psychology Group
Service: Ketamine integration therapy
Based in Virginia, Reynolds & Rubino Psychology Group comprises licensed clinical psychologists, professional counselors, and social workers specializing in various therapeutic approaches. They offer ketamine integration therapy using evidence-based treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and more.
The group addresses diverse psychological and emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression, gender identity issues, grief, and relationship issues. They provide flexible evening and weekend hours and accept insurance, including Anthem, Cigna, BlueCross, and BlueShield.
5. Lauren Trecosta, Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC
Lauren Trecosta, a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia, specializes in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) for PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, and deep-seated emotional scars. With over 20 years of experience, she primarily assists veterans, first responders, their partners, and those impacted by abuse or assault.
Lauren, trained by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and Fluence, skillfully employs KAP to guide clients toward inner peace and fulfillment. She also focuses on couples therapy, using ketamine to enhance marital understanding and connection. Lauren’s direct, compassionate approach involves insightful questioning and challenging existing paradigms. She accepts insurance from CareFirst and United HealthCare Optum, among others, offering a deep, reflective journey toward personal truth and courage.
6. Dr. Victoria Chialy Smith, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, PhD, ADPP
Service: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy
Dr. Victoria Chialy Smith, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a Ph.D. and advanced training in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, offers KAP services at Avesta’s McLean VA clinic.
Dr. Smith has received extensive training from MAPS in MDMA Therapy and is CIIS-certified for psychedelic-assisted therapy, specializing in preparation and integration sessions for ketamine. With a focus on depression, anxiety, mood, and stress disorders, she offers compassionate care to teens, young adults, and adults navigating life transitions and identity development. Her approach is integrative, evidence-based, and grounded in CBT, DBT, mindfulness, and acceptance-based methods, tailored to each client’s unique needs. Dr. Smith emphasizes creating a safe, supportive environment to help clients reconnect with their inner light and authentic selves. She is known for her warm, down-to-earth, and creative style, fostering a collaborative therapeutic partnership.
7. Ed Geraty, Clinical Social Worker, LICSW, LCSW-C
Ed Geraty, a seasoned psychotherapist and wellness coach, offers Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) at Avesta’s McLean clinic in Virginia. His 30+ years of experience include meditation teaching and studying Eastern & Western Wisdom traditions.
Licensed in VA, MD, DC, and WV, Ed specializes in integrating Eastern and Western psychotherapies with psychodynamic principles. His approach encompasses mind, body, and spirit, focusing on Transpersonal, Jungian, and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral techniques. Ed helps clients explore deeper beliefs and non-ordinary states of consciousness. His additional services include hypnotherapy, tele-coaching, health advocacy, and group work, offering a holistic solution to emotional and physical health challenges.
8. Dr. Lindsey Luedtke, Clinical Psychologist, PsyD
Service: Integration therapy
Dr. Lindsey Luedtke, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a PsyD, brings over a decade of experience in individual psychotherapy. She specializes in treating depression, anxiety, self-injury, and relationship difficulties. As a trauma-informed clinician, Dr. Luedtke employs Internal Family Systems (IFS) techniques, fostering a respectful and nonjudgmental communication style.
Dr. Luedtke is not certified in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, but she offers valuable ongoing therapy following treatments and is advancing her skills through Level 1 IFS certification training. Dr. Luedtke provides virtual and in-person sessions for patients in Virginia.
9. Raphaelle Cuenod, LCSW, Trauma Therapist
Raphaelle Cuenod, LCSW, is a dedicated Trauma Therapist skilled in assisting individuals, couples, and families with complex trauma and PTSD. Her practice includes a variety of therapeutic approaches like Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Somatic Therapy, and trauma-informed yoga.
Licensed in DC, VA, and MD, she specializes in supporting clients through their Ketamine journeys and the integration process, often leading to new revelations and perspectives on life experiences. Raphaelle creates a safe, comforting space, tailoring treatments to meet clients’ unique needs and goals. Her practice advocates for clients across all cultures, races, ages, and sexual orientations, addressing depression, anxiety, and trauma.
10. Michelle R. Ward, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT, Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC
Service: Ketamine integration therapy
Michelle R. Ward, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor, offers specialized services in individual, couples, and family therapy, focusing on complex trauma. She also provides ketamine integration therapy for Virginia patients.
Certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Michelle also treats PTSD, mood issues, and trauma-related challenges. Michelle’s approach is informed by her comprehensive academic background and dedication to ongoing professional development.
Finding Ketamine Infusions & Therapists in Northern VA
Virginians grappling with mental illness can find a haven of hope at Avesta’s Mclean ketamine clinic. Here, patients can consult with an experienced medical care team to explore if ketamine treatment is the right path for their condition.
Avesta’s McLean clinic, serving the North Virginia community, is renowned for delivering unmatched patient support. The team strongly advocates for collaborative treatment, encouraging patients to engage with ketamine integration therapists and KAP providers to complement the medicine’s transformative therapeutic effects.
If you’re considering ketamine treatments in northern VA, contact our team to find out our therapeutic approach and recommended therapists.