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What is Ketamine? 

Pharmaceutically, ketamine is a ​dissociative anesthetic– a medication that produces a temporary sense of disconnection between mind and body, and from one’s normal reality, memory, and sense of identity. Ketamine is one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine, and listed on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines - medications considered to be most effective and safe to meet the most important needs in a health system. It was developed in 1963, FDA approved in 1970. Many hospitals, surgical centers and medical offices use it because its effects are fast, safe, short-lasting, analgesic in nature, and is even safe for pediatric patients. 


Ketamine has been shown to be particularly effective with chronic mood disorders, pain,  and other mental health conditions which can be severe, recurring, disabling, and even life-threatening. In the last twenty years, ketamine has been used as an accessory in some severe and “treatment-resistant” conditions (not successfully treated by other modalities or drugs), including depression, severe anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, suicidal ideation, and other psychiatric diagnoses (Rodrigues et al., 2013). Ketamine is currently being studied with those who have substance use disorders. Many current medical treatments for these conditions simply don’t work, or they take weeks to “kick in”. In addition, medications can create side effects that are sometimes worse than the initial disorder. Although ketamine has been used as an anesthetic agent for many years, its application as an adjunct to psychotherapy and other medications is relatively new and “off label.” Based on our review of available research coupled with our own clinical experience, we have found that when used appropriately, Ketamine paired with psychotherapy, KAP, is effective, and decreases negative mental states wherein individuals have found themselves stuck, or found their conditions to be treatment-resistant.

How Ketamine Works 

Ketamine works through the glutamates - powerful chemicals in the nervous system that are responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and that play an important role in learning and memory. We know that in cases of depression, regions of the brain which help govern mood may shrink. Animal research, however, has shown that ketamine can stimulate neural growth in these regions within days (and sometimes hours), and researchers hypothesize there is similar action in humans. 


Researchers also hypothesize that ketamine enables a reprieve from habitual patterns of thought that underlie mood and behavior, thereby creating an opportunity for learning new and healthier patterns of thought. In our experience, KAP not only affords a reprieve from detrimental thought patterns; the intervention can actually lead to a reprocessing of negative perceptions and thoughts that are causing or perpetuating unhealthy mental, emotional, and even physical states. Many times these thought patterns have entrenched themselves in the subconscious of the person having been learned early in life. Ketamine provides a way for these unconscious thought patterns, even painful ones, to come to the surface and be dealt with in an appropriate way. 


What conditions can Ketamine help?

  • Depression

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Anxiety Disorders

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Suicide Ideation

  • Addictions 

  • Pain


Dosing Strategies and Route of Administration 

Ketamine can be administered in a variety of ways. In our practice, ketamine is administered by intravenous infusion (IV). Dosage is determined by various physical factors including weight, sensitivity to medication, and history of drug use. The ketamine process is unique depending on the dosage and receptiveness of the individual. Our medical team will check your vital signs before and after the administration, and be on hand throughout the session to monitor physiological responses to the treatment.

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What is Integrated Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (IKAP) 

Both psychotherapy and ketamine are effective in helping with mood disorders and pain, but the combination of the two has been shown to be much more effective than either on its own. Our program emphasizes the potential for change and the creation of new neuropathways which can facilitate change quickly. Our experience suggests that the administration of ketamine is most effective when paired with psychotherapy. We offer a psychotherapy program which will 1) explore limiting thought patterns and conditions which may be keeping you “stuck”, 2) prepare you for your ketamine sessions including answering any questions or concerns you may have, 3) guide you through your ketamine session, and 4) assist you in exploring and integrating your experiences afterwards. 

The Ketamine Experience 

The ketamine experience is marked by an easing of the patient’s typical concerns and preoccupations, all while maintaining conscious awareness. This psychological relaxation allows an alleviation of negative feelings and preoccupations. You will most likely experience a feeling of peace, devoid of stress, tension, or depression. However, psychedelic effects may also be experienced. These effects may include distorted visualization of colors, a feeling of floating, out-of-body sensations, vivid dreaming, and changes in the processing of sight, touch, and sound. These effects typically start within 5 minutes of ketamine dosing. The dissociative effect predominates for a time, usually 20 -30 minutes although this period of time seems timeless. Re-administration of ketamine midway through the session is sometimes given to maintain the effects of the medication until the end of the session.


We believe that these ‘dissociative’ experiences are instrumental in providing relief from psychological pain and tend to generate a more positive way of looking at life. We also believe that this altered state of mind and the exploration and experience of other possible states of consciousness create new neuropathways and therefore, different ways of thinking and being. Each of your ketamine sessions will be attended by a therapist who will spend time initially getting to know your concerns and mental health issues. The therapist will then act as a guide to help facilitate a growth-promoting, even life-changing experience. Each session lasts between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the individual. Even though the benefits of ketamine may be felt quickly, repeated sessions of 2-3 per week are recommended for the first few weeks for enduring benefit. Ketamine usually works to some degree immediately and can continue working days and weeks after.




Ketamine therapy with Dr. Trish has been one of the most effective and rewarding therapy experiences of my life.  As a recovering alcoholic and someone who also suffers from depression, I was an ideal candidate for ketamine therapy.  After my very first session, I was convinced of its effectiveness.  I have recently just finished my sixth session; and I was so impressed with the results that I am determined to have my wife and children introduced to Dr. Trish in order for them to begin therapy as well.  My wife and children all suffer from some sort of anxiety, depression, trauma or PTSD, and I am convinced that they would all greatly benefit from the therapy.  I believe one of the unique aspects to the Ketamine therapy with Riverwoods Behavioral Health is that the therapists guide you throughout the entire ketamine session - it is such a positive and safe experience that I would entrust my wife and children into their care.  Thank you Dr. Trish and Riverwoods Behavioral Health!  

- Jesse


When I decided to try Ketamine assisted therapy I was at the end of my rope. I have a very stressful job where secondary trauma is common. I struggled with treatment resistant depression and anxiety for the majority of my life, as well as PTSD.  I worked with Psych NP’s and psychiatrists throughout my life adjusting medications as well as therapy which included CBT, EMDR, etc. These interventions worked fine, but I was at the point where these didn’t work anymore. Ketamine assisted therapy provided immediate relief within my first two treatments unlike medication that takes a month to fully take effect. I didn’t realize the weight on my shoulders and deep despair I had been in until my first couple Ketamine treatments. It was such an immediate change. My negative thought patterns dissipated and rarely consumed me afterward. Ketamine assisted therapy changed my life and the therapists and NPs ensure you feel safe and comfortable. They are wonderful and amazing at what they do!  - Heather


This has changed my life. I was very standoffish of the idea when I first heard about it, but after being here in this setting with great counselors like Miranda and with how great Jentry is, I am at a point in my life where I could have never imagined I'd be. I'd recommend this to anyone." - DM


Ketamine therapy at Riverwoods Behavioral Health has been a game-changer for me. I’ve been struggling with Bipolar Depression for about 10 years. I’ve been prescribed multiple medications and have been to counseling three times. These various treatments each only helped a little, and I was miserable. Each day for me was a never-ending battle to keep my spiraling emotions under control, and most days I did not prevail. It was tearing me, my family, and my marriage apart.

Recently, I learned from a neighbor about Ketamine as a treatment for my condition. After doing much research, I decided to go with Riverwoods and I am so grateful that I did. Dr. Trish, Jentry, and the rest of the staff are understanding, non-judgmental, and just plain brilliant! Dr. Trish combined Ketamine with CBT therapy and it worked wonders where nothing else really has in the past. Dr. Trish taught me how to retrain how I think about myself, others, and the problems that were keeping me stuck in misery. Then the Ketamine made it such that I actually could follow through and do what she taught me to do. 

I finished my last Ketamine session several months ago, and since then I have found that my mood swings happen much less frequently and are much less intense than they used to be. It’s not a complete cure. The mood swings still come, but after completing Ketamine therapy I have been able to manage them much more effectively than I ever have before. As a result, I have actually felt happiness and joy in my life again. It has also helped me repair the relationships that the bipolar damaged. I would not hesitate to recommend Riverwoods to anyone who is struggling with these kinds of issues! - Robb

After even the first session Josh I noticed a complete change in how I processed things, after over a decade of suppressing my emotions I found I had the ability to be sad again. And not just feel the emotion but fully process it and let it go. Before the IKAP treatments I felt as if i were two different people, when I was in a depressive episode vs when I wasn't, and now I just feel settled into the normal me. - Tyler