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Top Ketamine-Informed Psychotherapists in Washington D.C.

Written by Deborah Tan, Avesta Ketamine Wellness Co-CEO

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Ketamine infusion therapy in DC is a fast and effective treatment for people with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The medicine works well on its own because of the unique way it interacts with the brain. But, ketamine combined with traditional psychotherapy can be even more beneficial. The key is finding a qualified who understands the drug’s powerful dissociative-psychedelic properties. 

Avesta’s ketamine DC clinic helps pair patients with trained psychotherapy professionals who can enrich the healing process. DC ketamine therapists prepare patients for treatment, support them through sessions, and assist with integrating the experience into positive change. 

This article explains how to find the best ketamine therapists in DC and includes a list of Avesta’s trusted providers. 

What is a Ketamine Therapist? 

A ketamine therapist is a trained mental health professional who supports patients before and after infusions to help them process and harness the medicine’s psychological effects. 

Typically, a ketamine therapist in DC does not work for the clinic that administers the medicine. Instead, they partner with centers like Avesta to provide collaborative patient care. 

Ketamine therapists break down into two broad categories:

  • Ketamine integration therapist
  • Ketamine-assisted psychotherapist (KAP)

Integration therapists and KAP practitioners provide some overlapping services. However, each role is distinct in how it helps DC patients get the most out of their ketamine experience. 

What is Ketamine Integration Therapy?

Integration therapy involves preparing patients for ketamine’s dissociative-psychedelic effects and then helping them apply insights from the experience into positive life changes. 

DC integration providers typically offer a comprehensive program that breaks down into several stages:

  • Preparation: Ketamine integration therapists start working with patients before their first ketamine session. They help patients to set intentions and prepare mentally and emotionally for the experience. 
  • Processing: Integration therapists support patients in the critical 24-48 hours after ketamine treatment when the brain is highly adaptable, helping them make sense of the complex thoughts and feelings that emerge.
  • Integration: During this phase, therapists help patients integrate the insights gained from ketamine treatment into their daily lives. The goal is to translate the learning into actionable change that drives enduring mental health.
  • Ongoing Support: Some integration therapists provide support for years following ketamine therapy because the insights can continue to evolve over time. Ongoing guidance helps patients navigate these changes and build upon the initial therapeutic gains for long-term well-being.

What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in DC involves a therapist being present with patients during ketamine infusions should any challenging material arise. KAP providers also help with preparation and processing. 

  • Preparation: Like integration therapists, KAP providers help patients prepare for ketamine infusions. Setting the stage can help people feel mentally and emotionally ready for treatment. It also involves traditional talk therapy, where the patients share information about their lives, health conditions, and goals. 
  • In-Session Support: KAP therapists sit with patients throughout each IV session, which lasts 40 minutes to an hour. Many guide patients through meditation or breathing exercises to calm their nerves before the medicine takes effect. As the experience takes hold, KAP providers offer a calming presence and comfort should the patient need it. 
  • Post-Session Guidance: KAP psychotherapists meet with patients between sessions to help them process and make meaning of the experience. These meetings focus on translating therapeutic insights into actionable steps for personal growth and healing.

What Are the Benefits of Working with a Ketamine Therapist in DC?

Working with a ketamine therapist in DC offers several benefits, including personalized guidance through infusions, expert support in interpreting and integrating the experiences, and a structured approach to addressing mental health challenges. Studies show that professional support can maximize and prolong the therapeutic benefits by helping people process experiences that might otherwise feel too powerful, confusing, or overwhelming. 

Still, KAP and integration therapy are not required for patients to reap the benefits from IV infusions. Ketamine is a powerful antidepressant all on its own due partly to its neuroplastic effects. And patients consistently feel better after treatment, whether they have a therapist or not.  

Benefits of Integration Therapy 

DC patients who work with an integration therapist say the process offers several benefits. 

Benefits of Integration Therapy infographic
  • Enhances self-awareness and insight
  • Aids in the meaningful interpretation of the ketamine experience
  • Supports lasting behavioral and emotional changes
  • Offers a framework for personal growth and healing
  • Ensures deep rooting and sustainability of therapeutic benefits

Avesta’s DC ketamine clinic believes integration therapy is invaluable for patients.  Integration therapy in DC is also less expensive than KAP because insurance is more likely to cover it.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Benefits 

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy’s primary benefits stem from the therapist’s role in minimizing the risk of adverse effects during sessions. A more comprehensive list of benefits include:

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Benefits infographic
  • Facilitates real-time emotional support during intense experiences
  • Reduces adverse reactions through immediate intervention.
  • Maintains connection with non-verbal communication strategies.
  • Prepares patients with expectations and trust-building pre-session.
  • Encourages personal growth and discovery with post-session support.

Avesta understands that patients can benefit from ketamine-assisted therapy and that comfort is essential. However, KAP can be prohibitively expensive because insurance does not cover it. Additionally, KAP practitioners don’t typically offer psychotherapeutic support during sessions because ketamine inhibits a patient’s ability to speak. So the price may not be worth the service.  

A more affordable alternative is to find a ketamine DC clinic like Avesta that employs trained coaches for patient comfort and ease. 

How to Find the Best Ketamine Therapists in DC

District of Columbia residents seeking a ketamine therapist to complement their infusion protocol can browse through directories such as those provided by Third Wave and Healing Maps. However, Avesta’s DC ketamine therapist directory is a more pinpointed search option for residents. 

Avesta’s care team has personally worked with or vetted the five ketamine therapists in DC below. 

1. Dr. Kathryn Rheem

Dr. Kathryn Rheem, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT Service: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy

Dr. Kathryn Rheem is a licensed marriage and family therapist who integrates her extensive psychotherapy experience with the transformative potential of ketamine, offering new pathways to healing for couples and individuals. 

In 2012, Washingtonian magazine named Dr. Rheem one of the Top Couples Therapists in Washington, DC. She has completed 126 hours of ketamine training at esteemed institutions, including Avesta’s clinics in Mclean, D.C., and Bethesda, MD. Dr. Rheem finds that ketamine therapy complements Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which she frequently employs to reduce conflict and rebuild relationships.

2. Divine Mind Therapeutics

Divine Mind Clinic offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy program

Divine Minds’ transformative ketamine-assisted psychotherapy program combines personalized psychotherapy with the revolutionary effects of IV ketamine infusion. The practice prides itself on a comprehensive assessment that connects patients with the right therapist and ketamine dosage plan tailored to their needs. The goal is to address root causes and facilitate deep emotional release. By providing patients with the tools to help them integrate ketamine insights into everyday life, the Divine Minds program can lead to lasting, sustainable change.

3. Dr. Lauren Rubenstein

Lauren Rubenstein, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist / KAP and Integration Therapy

Dr. Lauren Rubenstein is a licensed psychologist, author, and yoga and meditation teacher specializing in clinical holistic psychology. Her ongoing education and training around psychedelic-assisted therapy and ketamine treatment are critical to her work. She also receives individual supervision from Ben Bregman, MD, an integrative psychiatry specialist at Washington Integrative Mental Health Services.

Dr. Rubenstein understands how to integrate the emotions following non-ordinary states of consciousness, such as in ketamine treatment. She specializes in working with patients who suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and life transitions.

4. Dr. Victoria Ranade

Dr. Victoria Chialy Smith, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, PhD, ADPP offer Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy

Dr. Victoria Ranade is a Johns Hopkins-trained clinical psychologist board-certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology specializing in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology. She specializes in working with people with depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD and trauma, and grief and loss. 

Dr. Ranade’s passion for advancing innovative treatments in mental health care led her to the therapeutic use of psychedelics and entheogens. She received extensive training and certification from MAPS through their MDMA Therapy Training Program and is CIIS-certified to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy.

5. Brian Jacobs, LPC

Brian Jacobs, LPC is a DC ketamine integration therapist

Brian Jacobs is a licensed professional counselor with certifications from the Washington School of Psychiatry who specializes in trauma, OCD, depression, and anxiety treatments. He combines the latest advances in Western neuroscience with evidence-based mindfulness practices. Brian’s commitment to innovative and effective care made him passionate about psychedelic-assisted therapies. He is a MAPS-trained therapist who believes in supporting patients and empowering them with the insight to make healthier, more adaptive choices. 

The Bottom Line for DC Residents 

Ketamine is a powerful antidepressant with pharmacological benefits all on its own. However, combining infusions with psychotherapy can often amplify the therapeutic effects. Washington, DC, residents seeking relief from chronic mental health issues can find compassionate care and therapy referrals from Avesta Ketamine and Wellness. 

At Avesta, we partner with experienced ketamine therapists in DC to augment the treatment process. Browse Avesta’s network directory for a complete list of providers, or call our care team for a free referral. 

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