Our Sessions

Our Ketamine Care Sessions

A Nuanced, Layered and Highly Personalized Approach

Deep within the Lascaux Caves more than 500 kilometers southwest of Paris lies an awe-inspiring collection of ancient art created by prehistoric cave dwellers more than 17,000 years ago. Paleontologists believe these remarkable cave paintings were part of a sacred space, christening the domed chamber where most of the art is found the “prehistoric Sistine Chapel.” Drawn by Homo sapiens masters, the works in Lascaux are considered relatively “new” in the grand history of art, preceded by Homo neanderthalensis illustrations that date back a staggering 50,000 years prior.

The creative impulse ran deep in our ancestors and their ancestors before them, and remains a fundamental aspect of who we are today. CARDEA’s Lascaux Method aims to tap into this impulse in order to help people create and live more vibrant and fulfilling lives. You may have heard the term healing wisdom; it refers to the source in each of us that is naturally oriented toward growth, the stifling of which causes suffering and illness. The Lascaux Method is based on the idea that the same drives propelling those early cave dwellers to paint figures on the walls around them is at least a sister to this source, if not another word for it. For us to transform oneself is a creative, even artistic, act.

As with all acts of creativity, we humans are most willing to be spontaneous and inventive when we feel secure in our environment. Yes, held.

To feel held in the best way always requires some sense of a beginning, middle and end, temporal boundaries that provide a container around us. That is true in any ceremony, psychedelic or not, and it’s also true of good psychotherapy, which is held within the container of allotted time in a session. Classic psychedelic journeying follows this form by first offering a time of contemplation about a person’s “intentions” before the middle time of the journey and “integration” after the journey, during which a person brings whatever they gained into greater focus, possibly as a directive toward changes they want to make in their lives.

The Lascaux Method uses a similar sequence, while aiming more toward helping a person become ready to forge new paths, and treating their intentions and their process of meaning-making after the journey in more creative and flexible ways than other forms of care.

Beginning: Layered Intention-Setting

An intention is exactly as it sounds: a personal goal you pursue in your journey. We know that the meaning of such intentions often shifts radically during journeys, and we want our guests to be open to such shifts. More importantly, we see a complex story behind every intention, and we want to be sure that we hold that story well, allowing it to remain flexible and primed for contemplation. Take for example a classic intention like “greater self-compassion.” Instead of taking that term for granted as a perfectly understood destination, we assist our guests in doing a more in-depth intention setting: What’s the unique history of self-compassion in their own lives? Where is it already happening? What’s the story of why they may resist it?

Dialogic Work: Talking Beyond Words
Dialogic Process

CARDEA chooses the dialogic method, first developed in Finland, because it offers the best means to converse with guests in a way that helps them achieve a deeper understanding of their own unique needs and wishes.

We typically begin with a stack of 50 photographs that we present to a guest and ask them to choose two that are most meaningful or relevant to how they are feeling. This sparks an often- surprising, often revelatory, discussion that gently probes inner connections that may not have bubbled to the surface till now.

Dialogic work is conducted by two practitioners who reflect to each other their own thoughts, images or responses to what you say. The practitioners resist formulating ideas about you and remain in a mode of curiosity; they state what might be happening in their own minds without labeling your thoughts with their assumptions. This work attempts to flatten hierarchies such as “client” and “patient; it is the furthest thing from a clinical meeting in which diagnoses or prognoses are made.

When it makes sense, we also bring in art-making, music and movement as a way to investigate and contemplate a person’s intentions.

Art Beyond Artistry

Not everyone who comes to CARDEA makes art, because not everyone wants to, or feels comfortable doing so. However, the making of art – including drawing, painting, writing and dance – is always an option and available as a mode of growth that taps into our more unworded experiences. Psychedelic experiences always carry some level of the ineffable — something like love or happiness — that is impossible to communicate fully in straightforward explanations. In many ways, art is the human activity that attempts to communicate the ineffable in its own roundabout and inexact way. It’s a good thing to have as an option or to make central when you are seeking growth or transformation.

Middle: Putting the Tune in Attunement

Modern neuroscience confirms what ancient healers and ceremonialists have known for centuries: sound and vibration play an essential role in deepening psychedelic experiences. Combined with psychedelics in the right setting, certain vibrational sounds and frequencies “bilaterally” stimulate the brain, helping people enter into more profound states of emotional resonance, wonder and awe. Pretty amazing stuff.

At CARDEA we take sound to a whole new level. In our Ketamine Space, we create a personally crafted sonic experience for each of our guests, many performed live by our sound practitioners. Instead of using prescribed playlists, we modulate a client’s unique emotional state by creating our own sequences of music and tones with different tonal shapes and forms.

End: Not Quite Integration

Shape Transformation

In the rush to psychedelics, many practitioners offer an “integration” session to help clients make immediate sense of their journey. This makes sense in some ways, since people do often come to psychedelics for answers. But it also betrays one of the best things about psychedelics: rather than resolving things neatly, they open our minds to all kinds of questions, allowing us to see different sides of a particular dilemma. That’s very important in any process of human transformation.

To grow, expand and change requires something more nuanced and subtle than landing on a firm answer, even though there are plenty of experts and services out there claiming to provide you with one. That’s because there are layers of reasons that keep us stuck where we are. If we adhere to one answer, we ignore the others and forego the wisdom they offer in the long term.

This is why we prefer the concept developed by the psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnicott: unintegration. The difference is subtle yet profound. It means being nimble and receptive, playful and creative as you reflect on and respond to the experience of your journey.
To help you get to this place of continued contemplation, we meet with you again using the dialogic method, using the photos, or making art, or just talking, always continuing a reflective, rather than a formulaic or diagnostic process.

Using the Lascaux Method we aim to provide our guests with a chance to reconnect with their innate vitality and their inherent ability to perceive the dynamic life in others; to feel more related to their relationships; to embrace head-on the life-enhancing potential of uncertainty; and to embark on a transformative journey of personal growth. The way to get there is to unleash the playful elements practiced in the best of psychotherapies and to turn up the volume on these, while seeing ketamine as an ally that helps people open up to a sense that their experience of themselves and others is ready to be sculpted into something new.