Maybe you've heard from your friends or family about the benefits of ketamine assisted psychotherapy, you've read that New Yorker article about ketamine, and now you've booked your first ketamine personal retreat. Now what?
Most ketamine retreats will have you complete a screening and hopefully talk on the phone with a clinician to ensure that ketamine assisted psychotherapy is a good fit for you and your healing journey. Overall, ketamine is a safe and legal option for those looking to invest in their mental health that has similar benefits as other psychedelic therapy modalities.
So what are some helpful tools to bring with you on your ketamine personal retreat? This is a round up of our personal recommendations and what our retreat participants have told us have been most beneficial.
A journal. Even if you aren't a dedicated journaler, having a journal can be a wonderful tool to have on hand before and after your ketamine session(s). Journaling can give you space to check in with yourself and there is something very therapeutic about the active transfer of the thoughts in your mind to paper and pen. In my practice, retreat participants are provided journal reflection prompts specific for ketamine work before and after their ketamine session.
Nourishing food. Unlike some other psychedelics like ayahuasca, ketamine does not require a certain diet be adhered to prior to your ketamine session. That being said, high vibration, nutritionally dense foods are a good idea to have with you. Fresh fruit (reach for the berries which are high in antioxidants), nut butter, and venison sticks are my go-to recommendations for healthy snacks before and after ketamine sessions. I also personally (not an affiliate post) like to bring travel size Athletic Greens. Some personal retreat locations are in more rural locations and there may not be lots of healthy food options available so its a good idea to either bring snacks with you or do a little research before you arrive at your retreat and find a nearby food co-op, Aldi's, or other grocery store.
Yoga mat. Even if you aren't a yoga practitioner, a yoga mat can be helpful as a dedicated place set aside to meditate or do breathwork in your hotel or retreat room. Read more about how your ketamine assisted therapy work can be complemented by meditation here.
Books that complement ketamine assisted therapy. There are many! And you also might find that after a ketamine session, you'd prefer to just go out and walk or listen to music - and it's a wise idea to listen to your intuition about what feels best after a ketamine session. But if you're finding yourself craving knowledge and understanding through books, there are several that people find most helpful.
"The Hero Within" - Carol Peterson
"No Bad Parts" - Richard Schwartz
"Radically Content" - Jamie Varon
"The Elephant in the Brain" - Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson
"Radical Compassion" - Tara Brach
Essential oils. Simple and effective, essential oils are a great tool to have in your travel bag (make sure the lids are on tight!). They can help lessen anxiety and remind us to take a moment to be present and take in a deep breath. Some of them can be applied right to your skin but oftentimes, they are best utilized by simply taking a big inhalation and smelling the oil. At our clinic, we keep a variety of oils on-hand such as cypress, rosemary/thyme, and lavender.
Of course, none of these items are essential for your personal ketamine retreat to be healing and helpful. The most important considerations are that you trust the practitioner you are working with and you bring an open mind and cultivate both compassion and curiosity towards yourself.
Ready to sign up for your own ketamine personal retreat and feel empowered in your healing journey? Learn more about our offerings here.