Set and Setting for ketamine assisted psychotherapy

Post by 
Casey Brachvogel
September 21, 2021

How to Determine Set and Setting for Ketamine

Keywords: ketamine, ketamine for depression, ketamine infusion, ketamine therapy, ketamine

Ketamine is making its way into the psychiatric industry.
Ketamine infusions have become increasingly more widespread. Psychiatrists are now using ketamine
treatments to assist patients experiencing major depressive order and PTSD.
However, to get the most out of each session, there are two critical factors to maximize each treatment.
These two factors are Set and Setting.
The term “Set and Setting”was coined by Timothy Leary in 1961, but it was originally noted and
observed by Al Hubbard when he was visiting mushroom ceremonies.
However, with the advancement of psychedelic-assisted therapy,set & setting has taken on new
Let’s dive into why this is so important with ketamine infusion therapies.

How “Set” is Defined With Ketamine

In the context of all psychedelic experiences, “set” is the state of mind a person is in while they undergo
treatment. This encompasses both the expectations of the individual and the preparation they engage in
before their experience.
Preparation for a ketamine trip includes a few important variables.
First, understand that your experience will go beyond the infusion itself. In most cases, experts
recommend planning for a three-day experience that includes the initial treatment.
During that first day, you should prepare to remain quiet and unhurried. Be prepared to ask yourself a
few specific questions to gain clarity about what you hope to experience. These questions can include:
• What are you expecting will happen during your experience?
• How do you feel about psychedelicexperiences in general?
• What are you hoping to learn?
• Is there a specific goal you have in mind, be it spiritual, psychological, or social?
The point of these questions is to help you and your therapist to better understand where your mind
‘set’ is at.
The second day should include your treatment and a brief self-reflection period immediately following
it. The third day should cover your integration of the experience and any insights gleaned during it.
Why is mindset so important? For the ketamine experience,the mindset of the user can greatly shape
the outcome and benefitsfound within it. Negative moods and mindsets can lead to adverse reactions

and painful experiences. Individuals suffering from psychotic disorders can also find Ketamine
exaggeratestheir symptoms.
Evaluating your current mindset with the help of an expert is required to fully benefit from your
However, once you’re both in agreement that an infusion is the best path forward for your spiritual or
mental health journey, the next step is to create a supportive setting.

What Type of ‘Setting’ Is Best for Ketamine Infusions?

The ‘setting’ of your psychedelic experience has to do with the social and physical environment where
your ketamine experience takes place.
For individuals, this requires a comforting physical environment. For example, the room should be
uncluttered, extremely comfortable, and have either a bed or a couch to lie down on. The sensory
experience associated with ketamine thrivesin a gentle environment where the user feels safe, secure,
and private.
Alternatively, a familiar and safe outdoor location is equally appropriate, although for ketamine trips an
office is typically used. The dangers of losing your balance and injuring yourself make it safer to
experience the drug in a comfortable indoor setting.
Another layer of your setting is to have either a guide or a healthcare team with you in the room, as well
as your chosen comfort person. The presence of someone you know and trust with you during your trip
can have a dramatically positive influence on yourexperience.
Headphones, eyeshades, gentle music, and aromatherapy also contribute to a peaceful and relaxing
experience. It also helps to target the senses to feel safe in the environment you’re in.
In a clinical setting, you may also have trained professionals near you who are monitoring your heart
rate, oxygen, and pulse.
Expect to relax and experience your trip for about 25 minutes to an hour, and then stay where you are
for at least 45 minutes to recover. Overall, your treatment in a clinical setting will likely last up to 3
hours, allowing you plenty of time to absorb the setting and experience in a safe, secure, and comforting
Creating a setting that benefits you from the start will go a long way towards helping you achieve mental
clarity and meeting the goals you set out before yourtreatment.

The Importance of Set & Setting with Ketamine Infusions

While we briefly discussed some of the reasons why you should consider set and setting before your
ketamine infusion, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPs) has its own outline
for the set & setting of your experience.
They recommend these few components:

• Identifying an appropriate “sitter”
• Work with a facilitator who knows how to handle psychedelic-emergencies
• Line-up appropriate after-care
If you choose to complete your experience in a clinical setting, you must connect with a clinic that
follows specific and safe treatment protocols.
Think about your psychedelic experience like you would alcohol. When you drink alcohol to celebrate a
special life event versus consuming it to numb negative thoughts or experiences, the result is far
different. What you experience under the influence of alcohol can go various ways, based on your
mental states.
A relaxed, calm mind will benefit far more from ketamine infusion therapy, then a mind that is scared,
anxious, or worried. The same goes for the setting. If it is loud, bright, and overall obnoxious, you can
struggle to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
The bottom line is this: to benefit from your ketamine trip, you need a helpful environment and mindset.

Creating A Journey That Benefits You

While the right facilitator or guide can have a huge influence on your experience with ketamine, your
mindset is the greatest determining factor. A few ways to maximize your treatment include cultivating
curiosity, clear intensions, surrender, and ground yourself atthis moment.
Ketamine can be the catalyst in your personal transformation. From breaking the cycle of depression to
identifying thought-patterns holding you back, with the right set and setting, ketamine can help you
cultivate the change you want.

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