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Set and Setting in Ketamine Therapy

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

By Ashley Barnes, M.S.

Reviewed by: Mark Hrymoc, MD

Set and setting are two incredibly important components that can greatly impact a ketamine therapy experience.


Set refers to the mindset of the patient who is about to experience ketamine therapy. We do have some power over our mindset going into a ketamine treatment, and this can shape the experience itself and the benefits we can reap from it.

One important element that can influence our mindset as we prepare for a ketamine treatment is our expectation. While ketamine therapy can enable life changing shifts in perspectives and the development of insight, it should be viewed as a catalyst for change and not the change itself. This is more realistic, as the benefits of ketamine therapy are dramatically enhanced when paired with concrete action, also called “integration.”

The purpose of integration is to analyze the ketamine journey and glean personal insights that one can carry with them as they move toward a better quality of life. Insights gained from self-reflection can then be used to implement lasting positive change in one’s life. This self-reflection can be achieved through ketamine assisted psychotherapy, self-reflection, and self-care.

Another important element that can influence our ketamine therapy experience is what we consume, or what we “feed our brain” before an experience. Ketamine is often referred to as a nonspecific amplifier; in other words, the medicine can broach and amplify whatever may be in our recent memory. With this in mind, you may want to intentionally “feed your brain” that which is calming and positive - this may look like listening to uplifting and relaxing music, spending time in nature, and spending time with loved ones as opposed to watching horror movies or reality television.


Setting refers to the space where ketamine therapy takes place. This includes the ambiance, what is physically around you, and who is present during the process. It is important that the setting feels safe and relaxed, and the Ketamine Therapy Center makes this a priority.

Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses carefully administer the medication and monitor patient progress throughout the treatment. Our medical professions offer a kind, compassionate presence throughout the treatment. Oftentimes, patients will also have their therapist present to walk them through the experience, also called Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.

As patients move through the ketamine treatment, they’ll have their own room with a comfortable reclining chair or couch, soft blankets, eyeshades, and calming music. Sometimes, patients will bring a grounding object from home that enhances comfort, such as their favorite pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, picture, or calming music.

Effectiveness of Ketamine

Ketamine has more recently been discovered to have profoundly positive effects on treatment resistant depression, chronic pain, and other medical concerns that plague patients.

Ketamine Therapy can be used to treat a variety of mood disorders including but not limited to Bipolar Depression and Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). Treatment-Resistant Depression describes “depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants,” also known as treatment-refractory depression (Healthline, 2022). Someone with TRD may try two or more antidepressant medications such as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and feel no effect.

Ketamine Therapy has been researched to have a high response rate in Treatment-Resistant Depression with 70% of patients reporting improvement in contrast with only 15% for another oral antidepressant (Trivedi et al., 2006). A wealth of more recent studies back ketamine as being a highly effective treatment option for treatment-resistant depression.

If you have a history of recent heart attack, stroke, psychosis (hallucinations, delusions), or bladder inflammation (cystitis), you may not be a candidate for ketamine treatment, or you may require clearance from your physician.

Ketamine Therapy Center

Ketamine Therapy Center is a treatment branch from the Mental Health Center that specializes in ketamine infusion therapy. We plan to offer even more types of psychedelic treatments when it is permissible to do so, as we believe in evidence-based treatment approaches that have the power to transform one’s life.

Our doctors offer Ketamine Therapy Evaluations to thoroughly assess patients for ketamine therapy candidacy; from here, they collaborate with patients to develop treatment plans. Our office in the Cedars- Sinai Medical Office towers houses rooms specially designed for patient comfort. Our highly experienced and talented nurses are well-versed in ketamine infusion therapy and help patients feel comfortable as they move through the treatment process. Our therapists are trained in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and offer therapeutic guidance to enhance the psychological benefit of the treatment while simultaneously creating a grounded and safe space.

For more information, please do not hesitate to explore our website or contact our office!


Healthline Media. (2020). How to manage treatment-resistant depression. Healthline. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from

Trivedi, M.H., Rush, A.J., Wisniewski, S.R., et al. (2006). Evaluation of outcomes with citalopram for depression using measurement-based care in STAR*D: Implications for clinical practice. Am J Psychiatry, 163(1): 28–40. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.163.1.28.

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