Despite the promising outcomes of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, concerns about potential negative experiences, commonly referred to as "bad trips," can create apprehension and fear. At Intero, we do not refer to our active medicine session as a “trip” at all; it is a carefully planned and executed administration of psychedelics, with medical professional oversight. Some clients do experience challenging emotions during their active medicine session, and while uncomfortable, we believe that these less-than-pleasant experiences can be a catalyst for the growth and healing the client seeks. It is crucial to distinguish between a "bad trip" and a challenging experience to foster a more nuanced understanding and reduce stigma surrounding this transformative treatment.

Defining Terms and Understanding the Spectrum

In the realm of KAP, understanding the terminology is key to navigating the varied experiences individuals may encounter.

·      Bad Trip: Often characterized by intense negative emotions, hallucinations, and a sense of losing control, a bad trip can be an overwhelming experience that induces fear and anxiety.

·      Challenging Experience: In contrast, a challenging experience in KAP involves facing difficult emotions or memories. While uncomfortable, it is an integral part of the therapeutic process, offering opportunities for personal growth and healing.

Some elements of the experiences that can help further differentiate between the two include:

·      Intensity and Duration: In a bad trip, the intensity can be prolonged and overwhelming, persisting throughout the entire session. Conversely, a challenging experience consists of transient moments of discomfort that contribute to the therapeutic journey without overwhelming the individual.

·      Integration and Insight: Bad trips often lack clear insights or positive takeaways, potentially leaving individuals feeling traumatized or scared. On the other hand, challenging experiences provide valuable insights and opportunities for personal growth, with discomfort acting as a catalyst for transformation.

·      Therapeutic Support: In situations where a bad trip may occur, immediate intervention from therapists may be necessary to manage distress and ensure the individual's safety. Conversely, challenging experiences involve therapists guiding and supporting individuals through difficult moments, fostering a sense of safety and trust.


Normalizing Challenges: Embracing Growth Through Discomfort

The hope for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is that it will be transformative for clients; for this to happen, normalizing the challenges inherent in the therapeutic process is a must. It's time to reframe discomfort not as a hindrance but as a catalyst for personal growth. By emphasizing that facing challenges during a KAP session is not only possible but an integral part of the therapeutic journey, individuals can begin to embrace the potential for profound self-discovery that lies within these challenging moments.

The Crucial Role of Uncomfortable Emotions in Growth: Guiding Through the Shadows

In the expansive realm of psychotherapy, discomfort is not an adversary to be feared but a guide illuminating the path towards healing. Uncomfortable emotions are not roadblocks but signposts, pointing towards areas of deep-seated pain and untapped resilience. In KAP, these challenging moments become transformative opportunities for individuals to confront and process their emotions, fostering profound healing and unlocking layers of self-discovery.

This paradigm shift challenges the stigma that may surround the idea of a "bad trip" and reframes it as a potential breakthrough, fostering a more empathetic and supportive view of the therapeutic journey.

Education and Preparation: Empowering the Journey

Education and preparation serve as the bedrock for empowering individuals embarking on their KAP journey. By highlighting the importance of thorough preparation and education before a session, individuals are equipped with the necessary tools to navigate the intricate landscape of their own psyche. This empowerment extends beyond the treatment room, as individuals gain a clearer understanding of what to expect, setting realistic expectations for their therapeutic journey.

At Intero, we put significant effort into and emphasis on the preparation stage of the KAP journey for our clients. Read about our extensive preparation phase here.

Open Communication: Building Trust Through Transparency

Encouraging open communication between clients and therapists is the linchpin for creating a safe and nurturing therapeutic environment. This transparency not only allows individuals to voice their fears, expectations, and concerns but also builds a foundation of trust between the client and therapist. By fostering an open dialogue before, during, and after a session, the therapeutic experience becomes a collaborative and supportive journey towards healing.

As we actively break the stigma surrounding KAP, let us strive for a cultural shift that views discomfort not as a deterrent but as a precursor to personal growth and healing. By normalizing challenges, recognizing the transformative power of uncomfortable emotions, and prioritizing education and communication, we pave the way for amore compassionate understanding of KAP and its potential to facilitate profound healing and self-discovery.


In the world of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, differentiating between a "bad trip" and a challenging experience is crucial. By providing accurate information and promoting understanding, we can contribute to reducing stigma and fear surrounding KAP.Embracing the discomfort as part of the transformative journey opens doors for more individuals to experience the profound healing potential this treatment offers. Remember, the path may be challenging, but the destination often brings enlightenment and personal growth.


Get started on your transformative journey toward healing.