Our Approach

Our Approach to Ketamine Therapy

Expert Space-Holding

We believe the current trends that market psychedelics as miracles cures for psychiatric complaints are dishonest, because this is not how they work. And the reason they don’t work that way is because human beings don’t change that way. Extensive research on human change shows that only 15 percent of the factors that facilitate change have to do with specific treatment interventions. On the other hand, a hefty 40 percent of change-making factors are connected to the unique social and psychological strengths and impediments of the person who comes for help; while a whopping 45 percent of change is facilitated by a combination of the person’s faith in the care provided and the qualities therapists bring to their work – a focus on collaboration rather than intervention, emotional warmth and a therapist’s commitment to shifting what they do in response to what is happening at the moment with their client.

What does this tell us about change and helping people change? What we’ve always known
since the first days of psychotherapy: facilitating change is an improvisational art form in which one person in the room is the focus of creation, and another person follows along, providing the right kind of environment for change.

Sacred Play

Psychedelic practitioners have long known what science tells us about human transformation: their term “set and setting” refers to the vital importance of the “set” of a person’s unique psychology and social context and the “setting” of the environment around them during their journey, and how the combination of both completely inform the experience.

It’s no coincidence that these practitioners use the term “holding the space” for how they manage the setting half of set and setting, while good psychotherapists talk about a “holding environment” provided by the therapist. They are talking about the same thing.

How do you hold something that isn’t made of anything? It seems almost paradoxical, yet you know the experience of holding space because you’ve done this for others and you’ve been held in this way. It is the feeling of being contained in a comforting and championing way with no arms physically around you, the experience of having someone “on your side,” collaborating with you and considering you in a deeply loving way.

Many psychedelic caregivers who call themselves “space holders” have little training in what this means. We at CARDEA are different. With over a century of collective experience as practitioners and leaders in psychedelic and psychotherapeutic care, we bring our significant wisdom from both fields to the nuanced art of holding space. The method we use at CARDEA is focused on being “radically hospitable,” a stance in which we accept the honor of hosting you by listening closely and nimbly adjusting what we do in order to provide the right balance between comfort and safety in the often uncomfortable movement toward growth.

What is the result of a well-held space? To put it another way, what happens when the setting is “just right”? We can go back to the science on human transformation for one very important answer to that.

Whether it concerns moving on from psychological suffering or heading toward greater expansion and meaning, research shows that people move forward when they are able to enter a state of contemplation, a mindset in which they can look at themselves without too much judgment, holding their experiences like clay in their hand that’s ready for molding. In many ways, a contemplative mindset is the ultimate goal of good space-holding, a way in which one person provides the right environment for another to think more flexibly and curiously about themselves.

That can’t happen by just taking your medicine. Real contemplation occurs when you take your ketamine journey in a well-held space, one that is serious about your experience, but also in which play can take place in your response to your needs.