Psychedelic Medicine


Ketamine-Assisted Couples Therapy with Chandra Khalifian, PhD


In this episode of the Psychedelic Medicine Podcast, Chandra Khalifian, PhD joins to explore ketamine-assisted couples therapy. Dr. Chandra Khalifian is a clinical psychologist, researcher, educator and Co-CEO of Enamory, a clinic and community focused on providing expansive relationship education and therapy including psychedelic-assisted couple-therapy.

In this conversation Dr. Khalifian explores the intricacies of ketamine-assisted couples therapy, sharing why she thinks psychedelics, and ketamine in particular, could be a good fit for couples therapy. She discusses the various contexts where ketamine-assisted therapy may be a good fit for couples pursuing therapy, the therapeutic modalities well-suited to this work, and the different dosing and administration routes of ketamine. In closing, Dr. Khalifian explores situations where couples may be better suited to pursuing this therapy individually and also contexts where ketamine-assisted couples therapy would not be an appropriate intervention.

In This Episode

• How Dr. Khalifian got involved in couples therapy
• The various models of ketamine-assisted couples therapy, and how to decide what is most appropriate
• The importance of preparation and integration
• How to navigate the two people in the couple having very different ketamine experiences
• When Dr. Khalifian uses intramuscular ketamine infusions versus ketamine lozenges
• Why Dr. Khalifian leans towards using third-wave cognitive behavioral therapy for ketamine-assisted therapy
• The tendency for people to make major relationship decisions following intense psychedelic experiences


“Ketamine is great because—in the same way with individuals—with couples it’s going to pull us out of that pattern so that we can then see the pattern and talk about the pattern from this observer perspective rather than being stuck in the ‘it’s me versus you’ we can look at it together and the couple can say ‘ah, there’s that thing that we do when we feel distressed, and now we can work together on that thing since we can see it from a little more distance.’” [4:43]

“Similar to MDMA, people are less likely to express criticisms in a hurtful way and less likely to receive constructive criticism and be defensive [during ketamine therapy].” [9:05]
<br“I had one couple [as patients for ketamine therapy] that the partner was like ‘I just felt this liquid compassion. I finally understood why she was engaging in these behaviors. And so everything made sense and I was able to talk about it in a different way.’” [17:49]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.