Polaris/Rainfall Training Cohort 2023-2024

We are excited to announce our new Training Cohort for KAP Training. This offering is a cohort of clinicians that will move through KAP training together in a combination of shorter training sessions and group consultation. There will be periodical times of synthesis and discussion as smaller groups to learn and apply together. At the end of the cohort, clinicians will have gained more confidence and competence in offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and will have developed a community of clinicians.

Program Overview
  • 41 hours of live training with 9 trainers over the course of 4-5 months
  • 3-hour sessions in the morning 8am-11am PST (or 9am-12pm PST)
  • 6 hours (three 2-hour sessions) of smaller discussion groups with fellow trainees and trainers
  • 41 hours of continuing education (CE) credit for licensed professionals – optional with $399 additional fee
  • All course materials: e.g. presentations; documents; required readings; templates for your practice
  • Certificate of Completion

This cohort will cover the material presented in Polaris Modules 1-5 and the Practice Module.

Cohort Fee:  $2150 + optional $399 for 41 CE credits

Registration Details:   Register by August 11, 2023. 


33 hours of training + 8 hour Practice Module + 6 hours of Discussion Groups

Session 1 (Monday September 11) – Introduction to Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Session 2 (Tuesday September 26)- Continued Clinical Topics in KAP

  • First Discussion Group (Thursday October 5)

Session 3 (Friday October 13) – KAP Protocol

Session 4 (Tuesday October 24) – Healing Traditions in Psychedelic Medicine and KAP Experiential (Non-Medicine)

Session 5 (Wednesday November 8) – Diversity and Equity in KAP; Ethics

Session 6 (Monday November 20) – Somatic Approaches and Transpersonal Perspectives

  • Second Discussion Group (Friday December 1)

Session 7 (Thursday December 7) – Integration of Spiritual Experiences, Transference, and 

Introduction to Countertransference

Session 8 (Tuesday December 19) – Group KAP, Online KAP, and Countertransference

Session 9 – Issues of Attachment and Addiction in KAP

Session 10 – KAP for the Treatment of Trauma

  • Third Discussion Group

Session 11 – Becoming a Psychedelic Therapist

Polaris Practice Module – offered multiple dates

Session Details

Session 1 – Introduction to Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Harvey Schwartz PhD, Eric Sienknecht PsyD,  Veronika Gold LMFT, Robert Voloshin MD

In the introductory session, we will cover a wide range of topics to help clinicians understand the potential use and efficacy of KAP as well as other psychedelic medicines and will present the current state of the art clinical models for these treatments.  Aspects of providing ketamine administration in the context of a psychotherapeutic container, including the importance of a collaborative approach by the multidisciplinary team of therapist, prescriber, nurse, and client, will be explored. A discussion of medical aspects of treatment including contraindications, dosing strategies, side effects, and best, safe practices is also included in this preliminary session.

Participants will learn the framework and protocol of practicing KAP, including the phases of treatment and diverse dosing strategies. Clinicians will acquire skills to craft intervention strategies at both the psycholytic (trance, self-reflective) and psychedelic (transformational/transpersonal) levels of experience. Recent promising lines of research in the field will also be briefly covered.

  1. Describe the various dosing strategies and routes of administration
  2. Describe and summarize the three main elements of the KAP protocol and their place and value in the treatment process: preparation, experiential, and integration

Session 2 – Continued Clinical Topics in KAP

Harvey Schwartz PhD, Veronika Gold LMFT, Eric Sienknecht PsyD

Building on the framework presented in Session 1, clinicians will learn about the guiding principles of practicing KAP. Understanding these principles is central for embodying and effectively communicating essential preparatory information to clients, and for grounding the treatment in appropriate expectations and informed consent. The materials presented will also discuss the basic neurobiology of psychedelic medicines in general, and ketamine in particular helping clinicians understand the effects of ketamine and its mechanisms of action along with the potential psychological and emotional shifts that can correspond with these effects. We will explore the protocol for preparing the client and the therapy space for the work and consider elements of set and setting specific to KAP. Important controversies in the field of ketamine- and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will also be discussed. 

  1. Describe three of the significant controversies in the field of KAP and psychedelic assisted psychotherapy.
  2. Describe two of the mechanisms of action of ketamine on the brain and body.

Session 3 – KAP Protocol

Harvey Schwartz PsyD, Veronika Gold LMFT

In this session we will focus on a comprehensive understanding of the KAP protocol from start to finish and will present the process in 3 phases. First, participants will learn how to assess potential patients, conduct intake, and prepare clients for treatment. We will cover various dosing strategies and how to effectively customize a treatment plan for each client. The often under-appreciated treatment phases of preparation and integration will be articulated and highlighted. An in depth view of the potential benefits and challenges of integration phase will be discussed, including strategies for facilitating integration and an appreciation for the many ways obstacles can contain therapeutic “gold” when effectively stewarded by therapists’ in depth understanding of the complexities and nuances of the ongoing integration phase of KAP.

  1. Explain and describe the difference between psycholytic and psychedelic treatment processes.
  2. List three goals of psychedelic integration. 

Session 4 – Healing Traditions in Psychedelic Medicine and KAP Experiential

Veronika Gold LMFT, Harvey Schwatz PhD, Eric Sienknecht PsyD

This session combines a wide angle lens examination of  a variety of major themes and issues related to healing in non-ordinary states of consciousness with an experiential practice of what has been presented thus far in the training in terms of how to conduct a KAP session. The first part of the session will focus on significant themes in the field including perspectives on various healing traditions that have employed psychedelic medicines, along with varied customs, practices, and world views that share mystical and non-dual ground that informs our approach to KAP. 

Clinicians will then be invited to participate in a practice experiential session demonstrating the use of various set and setting elements, aspects of the preparation process, use of music, inner directed healing, followed by an opportunity for integration work in breakout groups. Like many of the sessions, the focus will shift from the “micro” to the “macro,” inclusively zooming in on both pragmatic and theoretical/philosophic issues central to an in depth understanding of KAP and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in general.

  1. List two philosophical influences of indigenous spiritual traditions on KAP protocol.
  2. List three elements of set and setting considerations in KAP.

Session 5 – Diversity and Equity in KAP ; Ethics

Joseph McCowan, PsyD, Frank and Renee + Polaris facilitator

In this workshop, we focus on special topics in KAP, including: working with diverse populations, embodying cultural humility, and weaving social justice and health equity in KAP at the personal, interpersonal, and collective levels. We will be identifying various challenging situations that can arise in KAP, exploring advanced perspectives and applications of somatic psychotherapy in KAP, and discussing self-care, consultation, and continuing education recommendations for therapists working in the field of psychedelic medicine. The importance of ontological and epistemological neutrality and humility will be emphasized in providing ethical and culturally-sensitive care. Understanding the pitfalls,and controversies around spirituality and mental health as well as risks and dangers for misunderstanding and potentially re-traumatizing patients will be discussed.

  1. Explain Liberation Psychology and identify ways to weave the philosophy and practice into your work
  2. Identify areas of personal and interpersonal growth toward holding safe psychedelic spaces with clients who identity as BIPOC, LGBTQI+ and other oppressed or marginalized groups 

Session 6 – Somatic Approaches and Transpersonal Perspectives

Veronika Gold LMFT, Eric Sienknecht PsyD

This session advances our discussion of important elements in the KAP protocol and background philosophy by a comprehensive overview of somatic and transpersonal elements of this innovative treatment. Somatic approaches in KAP will be introduced and informed consent to touch and the three types of touch that can be used in KAP will be delineated. We will examine in greater depth at the dynamics of nervous system arousal and explore how an increased window of tolerance can facilitate greater emotional regulation and psychological processing. The significance of transpersonal psychology including methods of implementing the related principles and clinical orientation will be reviewed. Essential case material will be presented in both sections of this session.

  1. Describe two ways in which somatic interventions can support and facilitate self-regulation of the nervous system.
  2. Describe two of the major contributions of transpersonal psychology to the development of clinical protocols for KAP and psychedelic assisted psychotherapies. 

Session 7 – Integration of Spiritual Experiences, Transference, and Introduction to Countertransference

Eric Sienknecht PsyD, Harvey Schwartz PhD

We will focus on several key clinical issues and relevant themes in this treatment protocol, including: working with countertransference in KAP and considerations in the integration of spiritual experiences. In addition, issues related to spiritual emergence, spiritual emergency and spiritual and religious trauma will be reviewed as these themes often emerge during treatment. Therapists will come to appreciate the pressures and potentials of working in non-ordinary states as well as in the integration processes that accompany the treatment process from beginning to end.

Clinicians will be trained in “countertransference awareness” and will learn about the ways ketamine and other psychedelic medicines affect the therapy relationship as well as how to work with, understand and value their own subjective experiences that take place working with non-ordinary states of consciousness. Participants will be supported in taking a wide-angle lens view of the ways in which the therapist contributes to and can inadvertently interfere with the therapy process, as well understand the centrality of rupture and repair and the balance of power in the therapeutic relationship.

  1. List two challenges of integrating spiritual experiences in KAP. 

Session 8 – Group KAP, Online KAP, and Countertransference

Veronika Gold LMFT, Eric Sienknecht PsyD, Harvey Schwartz PhD

This session will focus on three major themes in KAP: working with group KAP, online KAP, and understanding the complexity of countertransference issues unique to working with KAP and in treatments using non-ordinary states of consciousness. We will discuss protocols for Group KAP, screening for groups, preparation for and types of group sessions, as well as various types of group integration. Various elements of ethics from issues of access to power the role of ethics in set and setting aspects of the treatment process will be discussed. We will also look deeply at the many types of subjective experiences clients may have in the KAP process and we will delineate the ways in which these experience can play out in the relational field between client and therapist. 

  1. List three screening criteria for membership in KAP groups.
  2. List three of the common countertransference polarities therapists need to be aware of in working with KAP. 

Session 9 – Issues of Attachment and Addiction in KAP

Veronika Gold LMFT, Steve Rosonke MD, Chris Stauffer MD

In this session we will focus on two important, special topics in KAP: attachment and addiction. The general issues and dynamics of attachment as well as their intersection with ketamine and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will be reviewed in some detail. The use of KAP for substance misuse disorders and the intersection of chemical dependency, trauma, and healing in non-ordinary states of consciousness will be explored. Both practical and theoretical/philosophical elements of addiction and KAP will be reviewed with ample case material. 

  1. Describe two ways in which avoidant attachment patterns can be addressed in KAP. 
  2. Describe two steps that a KAP clinic can take to help mitigate the risk of ketamine addiction.

Session 10 – KAP for the Treatment of Trauma

Veronika Gold, LMFT, Harvey Schwartz PhD

We will explore the possibility of using KAP in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. We will bring a wider lens on trauma therapy and discuss considerations of treating trauma with KAP. We will discuss how trauma can show up in KAP sessions and review the often misunderstood topic of dissociation and its relationship to the healing process. Practical and theoretical perspectives will be presented and the ways in which healing in non-ordinary states of consciousness offer opportunities not available in other treatment modalities will be discussed. The centrality of the therapy relationship as container and the interface with the medicine, the set and setting, including the role of non-ordinary states of consciousness will be presented.

  1. Describe two ways in which trauma can emerge in a KAP session.
  2. Describe two primary ways in which the history of trauma changed the mental health field after 1980.

Session 11 – Becoming a Psychedelic Therapist

Veronika Gold LMFT, Harvey Schwartz PhD, Eric Sienknecht PsyD

In this final session, we will review the process of becoming a psychedelic therapist, including discussion of the the eight pillars of becoming a ketamine-assisted therapist and various teachings and tenets of being a competent and effective practitioner. In addition, there will be a focus on how to collaborate with outside providers and the challenges associated with that. 

The session will be a synthesis, review and integration of all that has been presented with an additional articulation of the developmental process of becoming an effective, creative, compassionate, self-caring, and integrity-based KAP therapist. Suggestions for future development will be discussed and a general question and answer session reflecting on the entire course will take place.

 Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe two challenges in collaborating with an outside therapist.
  2. List two professional activities that a psychotherapist can engage in to improve their competency around working with psychedelics therapeutically

Polaris Practice Module

Participants can attend the public 8-hour training already scheduled, or we will schedule a separate date with just cohort members. Details to come.

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