As many who have participated in ketamine therapy will tell you, this is an immersive experience. Ketamine has dissociative properties, meaning those who receive it may see or feel things they aren’t used to in many situations, and many who go this route find that using certain tools or resources to help “guide” them through the experience can be extremely beneficial.
At A Mind’s Journey, we’re proud to offer a wide range of ketamine therapy treatments for various conditions, including anxiety, PTSD and several others — and our professionals will show you a number of tools or approaches that will help guide you and maintain your focus during treatments. What are some of the simplest concepts we typically offer to clients, and why are they effective? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.
One of the simplest and most effective tools you can possibly utilize during ketamine therapy is also something you’re doing all the time without even thinking about it: Breathing. Learning how to properly control and focus your breath is an excellent way to help you relax both your body and your mind, and it can be done anywhere, anytime, with no props or equipment necessary.
Focusing on your breath and taking slow, deep breaths has been shown to help calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and ease muscle tension — all of which can be extremely helpful during ketamine therapy, when your mind may be racing or you may be feeling anxious or uneasy. Additionally, the act of focusing on your breath can help to take your focus off of any negative thoughts or feelings you may be experiencing, and instead help you to focus on the present moment.
If you’re not used to paying attention to your breath, don’t worry — it’s something that can be learned with a little practice. There are a number of excellent resources out there that can help you get started, including apps like Headspace and Calm, which offer guided meditation and breathing exercises. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to control your breath — and how helpful it can be in managing stress and anxiety.
Another simple, yet effective tool that can be utilized during ketamine therapy is visualization. Also known as “witnessing” your own thoughts, visualization is a technique that can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and observe them without judgment.
When you’re visualize, you’ll want to focus on creating a mental image of what’s going on inside your mind, as well as how you’re feeling — not just visually, but emotionally and physically as well. For example, you may imagine your thoughts as clouds floating by in the sky, or leaves floating down a stream. Alternatively, you may want to focus on how your body feels — are your muscles tense? Are you feeling tightness in your chest?
The goal of visualization is to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and to observe them without judgment. By doing so, you can learn to detach from your thoughts and feelings, and see them for what they are: just thoughts and feelings, not reality.
For more on the kinds of themes you can utilize to help optimize your ketamine therapy experience, or to learn about any of our ketamine treatments, speak to the team at A Mind’s Journey today.