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frequently asked questions what is psychedelic therapy?

Seeking help for mental health challenges can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions our therapists get about psychedelic therapy, and are available for a free info session to discuss any other questions you have.

We're here to support you every step of the way.

Psychedelic Therapy 101

What are psychedelics and how do they work?

Psychedelics are a class of substances that can induce altered states of consciousness and produce profound psychological effects. Most traditional psychedelics (e.g. psilocybin, LSD, MDMA) work by primarily interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor, which is involved in the regulation of mood, perception, and cognition. Ketamine also induces altered states of consciousness, however it works with NMDA receptors. 

What conditions can psychedelic therapy treat?

Psychedelic therapy has shown promise in treating a wide-variety of mental health conditions, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, and end-of-life distress.

What are the risks and side effects of psychedelic therapy?

Psychedelic therapy is generally safe when conducted in a controlled and medically supported setting with clinicians that have completed high quality specialty training. There are risks and possible side effects, such as psychological distress, confusion, nausea, and anxiety. There is also a risk of potential drug interactions and harm from using psychedelics outside of a monitored clinical setting. Elument provides thorough preparation before and support during the psychedelic experience to reduce potential challenges. We only work with trained medical providers that screen for potential risk factors.

What is the psychedelic therapeutic process like?

Psychedelic therapy typically involves several preparatory sessions with a therapist to establish rapport, set intentions, and discuss safety precautions. The psychedelic session itself is conducted in a controlled setting with a trained and licensed therapist present, and the patient is encouraged to lie down with eye shades and headphones to enhance the internal experience. After the session, there are several integration sessions to help the patient make sense of the experience and integrate any insights or changes into their daily life.

What is psychedelic integration therapy?

We offer mindfulness-based psychedelic integration coaching at every step along the way of your journey, whether it’s before or after your psychedelic session. Embarking on a psychedelic journey is an important decision. It can have a profound impact and can be a catalyst for a lasting change. After all, it’s natural to feel apprehensive when heading into the unknown. 66% of participants in the John Hopkins Psilocybin Studies reported that their psychedelic experience was one of the top five most profound spiritual experiences of their life. 33% said it was the number one most profound experience!​

At Elument, we take the time to fully understand your intentions and help you prepare for your experience. If you want to maximize the benefit while also reducing the risk of a deeply difficult experience, Elument is here to support you! We prioritize creating a safe, supportive, and trusting atmosphere where we will provide information and tools as you prepare for a psychedelic experience. 

What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has been used in medicine for over 50 years. Recently, it has gained attention for its potential use in treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. When used in low doses in a controlled setting, Ketamine can help alleviate symptoms of these conditions and provide profound insights and transformative experiences for patients.  

At our Nashville clinic, we offer KAP in conjunction with talk therapy sessions to maximize its therapeutic benefits. Our therapists work in conjunction with medical professionals who administer ketamine through a small intramuscular injection.  The therapists then guide clients through the experience in a supportive and calming environment. 

How does ketamine-assisted psychotherapy work?

At our Nashville clinic, we offer ketamine therapy in conjunction with talk therapy sessions to maximize its therapeutic benefits. Our therapists work with medical professionals who administer ketamine through a small intramuscular injection. The therapists then guide clients through the experience in a supportive and calming environment. 

Is Ketamine-Assisted Therapy legal in Nashville?

Ketamine therapy is legal, but it is regulated and requires a prescription from a licensed medical professional. Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance, which means it has an accepted medical use and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I and II drugs. Ketamine has been approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic, and it is also used off-label to treat mental health conditions and chronic pain. However, it is important to note that ketamine therapy should only be administered by a trained medical professional in a medically monitored setting, as it can have potential side effects and risks if not used properly.

Who is eligible for Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine therapy is used off-label for a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some medical and psychiatric conditions need to be treated before you can safely receive ketamine therapy. These conditions include hallucinations, dissociative identity disorder, active substance use, untreated mania, cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, increased intracranial pressure, cystitis, or evidence of liver disease.

Does insurance cover the cost of ketamine therapy?

Insurance does not cover the cost of ketamine therapy, however, we offer affordable financing for all of our treatment plans through Advance Care, a leading provider of patient financing solutions since 2008. 

What is MDMA-Assisted Therapy?

MDMA Therapy is the next available option for psychedelic therapy. This will be the first new psychedelic therapy since ketamine therapy. Research currently shows it to be very effective for treating PTSD and trauma in general. Although it’s only in Phase 3 clinical trials with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the results are profound. Trials show the true value of MDMA as a psychedelic therapy medicine.  

Elument has applied to be part of the Expanded Access program. Ideally, we will be able to bring MDMA therapy to Nashville within the year. Robert DeSalvo was the first MAPS trained therapist in Tennessee and has been championing the use of psychedelic therapy.

How does MDMA-Assisted Therapy work?

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy sessions last around 8 hours. In clinical research studies, there are typically two therapists present for the duration of the session. At the time of drug approval, the FDA will determine how clinicians will conduct MDMA-assisted therapy in a medically monitored setting such as ours. FDA guidance will include specific indications (eg. PTSD), screening and exclusion criteria, treatment protocols, and necessary monitoring. When MDMA is available for medical use outside of a clinical trial, Elument will follow protocols outlined by the FDA in addition to state and federal regulations.

Is MDMA therapy FDA-approved?

MDMA therapy is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and is not yet FDA-approved. 

While awaiting MDMA Therapy FDA approval, select therapy practices may use MDMA treatment outside of a clinical trial through the FDA Expanded Access program.  This program is intended for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who do not have any promising treatment options. 

Dedicated to offering our patients all opportunities for mental wellness, our Nashville MDMA Therapy Clinic has already applied to participate in the Expanded Access program and plans to offer this treatment to qualifying patients by end-of-year.

What Is Medication Management?

Psychiatric medication is a common aspect of mental health care. It involves a collaborative partnership between you and a qualified professional, typically a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or a clinical pharmacist. The primary goal of medication management is to optimize your mental well-being through the use of prescribed medications. Psychiatric medication management services ensure mental health related medications are optimized and minimized.

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What should I bring for my session?

We encourage people to bring a notebook and anything that you feel would be soothing if difficult feelings come up (e.g. stress ball, lucky charm, natural element, blanket, etc.). If you forget, don’t worry we have some things that may help. The room will be kept at a neutral temperature, however we encourage people to wear or bring layers to allow for hot cold adjustments.

Don't see your question here? Schedule a consultation for more details.