Clinic InfoAbout your Clinic:
Our mother clinic is Psychology Works, located on the traditional lands of the Mississauga of the Credit Indigenous peoples, otherwise known as the Toronto GTA. We have practiced in our community since 1991 and are now evolving from Trauma Informed practitioners to Psychedelically Informed practitioners.
We are very pleased to announce the opening of our sister clinic, Break Through Therapies, an online and in-person clinic for Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in a city retreat setting.
Our group of healthcare professionals are dedicated to helping you shift out of your suffering, rapidly and effectively, with the assistance of emerging and positively disruptive mental health care practices, such as Ketamine Assisted Therapy.Description of Services:
We believe there are many ways of knowing ourselves and compounds, natural and synthetic, such as ketamine, can help us know ourselves in ways that can surprise and delight us, or temporarily terrify us, and everything in-between. The off label use of ketamine is an emerging science that can have truly remarkable results in the alleviation of distressing symptoms, if used under appropriately supervised/supported conditions.
The clinical and academic literature informs that ketamine is most effective when combined with psychotherapy, creating another way of doing things we like to call Ketamine Enhanced Therapy. Low doses of ketamine are used to deepen a focused psychotherapy experience while you are in an expanded state of consciousness. While under the influence of this medicine, habitual patterns of thinking, coping, and feeling, loosen their grip enough to allow other possibilities and options to emerge into awareness.
The drug action of ketamine creates a temporary ‘window of opportunity’ when life can feel easier to manage. Working with a trusted therapist can lead to a new capacity for handling life’s challenges. We help you develop a Self-Care Plan so you become aware of what is helpful to you and what is not. We provide group integration so you know you are not alone. We help you fine-tune an Aftercare Plan, so you know what you need to do next, so maintain the gains you have made.
Sometimes, there is an increased ability to surrender to events we cannot change, leading to a more peaceful acceptance that was not possible before. Sometimes, there is increased motivation to engage in better self-care habits, like exercising and eating better. Other times, people report that the trauma memories simply don’t have the same emotional impact as they did before.
Best practices are evolving continually, along with ever increasing applications of Ketamine Enhanced Therapy. At our clinic, we provide a safe, structured, and therapeutically supported environment, with trained and skilled clinicians whose sole objective is to assist you to deepen and better understand your ketamine journey, so your suffering is not so great. We also offer online integration circles as part of our group protocol. We look forward to the day we can meet safely in-person for a real circle integration, community and sharing of our common challenges.Practitioners:
Betty Kershner, Ph. D., Clinical Psychologist
Sandra Stewart, Ph.D., Psychologist
Annette Lorenz, Ed.D., Clinical Psychologist
Julian Wiersma, M.A., Psychotherapist
Mike Hart, MD, Consulting Physician
Mike Gofeld, MD, Consulting Anesthesiologist
Ania Janik, Nurse Practitioner
Brian Richards, Ph.D., Consulting PsychologistSupporting Team:
Haroon Mahmood, Office Director
Jessica Rose, B. Comm., Community Relations
DetailsFounder(s) / CEO: Dr. Dawn DeCunha, PsychologistRemote/Online: YesPrice Range: We have a multidisciplinary team and fees vary by time and service, in accordance with our respective professions.
Our ProcessOverview of Experience:
Your safety is our priority, and our first step is to establish that this is the right medicine and protocol for you. Once we know we can safely provide you with low dose ketamine, we will spend two sessions preparing you for your ketamine dose session and the therapeutic journey. We spend time discussing your Intention or reason for the journey, establishing the Set for your journey.
We will focus more on the present and your future than on your past. We will teach you many self-care and self-soothing skills to practice before your journey. We will guide you in preparing for your journey in every detail, to help you leave your trauma in the past, where it belongs.
When you are ready, we schedule your dose journeys and provide you with detailed instructions about how to prepare your own Set at home, maybe in the privacy of your own bedroom. We will stay with you online for your entire journey. The next day, we invite you to join our Group Integration session, to join others on a similar journey of healing and recovery.
Our 9-week model offers therapeutic support for preparatory sessions, dose journeys and group integrations. We provide you with the practical tools you need to develop your own Self-Care Plan, and then an Aftercare Plan so you know how best to support yourself in maintaining the gains you make during your time with us.
Our nine week group protocol is designed to best serve individuals with something in common, such as work related trauma. This would include front line health care workers or EMS personnel such as fire fighters or police officers. We are an approved WSIB Community Mental Health Clinic.
For our community clients, our focus is on creating groups with a common problem, such as anxiety, depression or trauma.
Alternatively, some individuals may prefer a more flexible schedule. Please feel free to discuss your individual needs with us directly.Intake Process:
Ketamine Assisted Therapy is not for everyone. Off label use is still in its infancy and patient safety is our top priority. There are some disorders that we simply don’t know enough about to safely provide treatment. We will ask you to complete some forms so we can open a file, and then our clinician will send you some confidential psychological tests online. Once we have the information we need, we fax a referral to our consulting physician, who will assess your medical suitability for oral ketamine.
Once you have your medicine, you can go ahead and schedule a dose session with your therapist, at your convenience, on our online calendar. By the time you have your medicine, you will have had two preparatory sessions with your therapist and should be ready for your dose journey.
We schedule treatment rounds of six dose sessions for our safe online protocol. Each session is scheduled for 90-120 minutes, weekly for six weeks. After you have completed six dose sessions, an Aftercare session is scheduled to review your maintenance plan. This round of treatment typically takes nine weeks.Psychedelic Substance Offered:
Podcast on Psychedelics for the Ontario Psychological Association: