Ketamine therapy will be available at the UK’s first psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy clinic, set to open in Bristol early next year.
The clinic is a venture from a company called AWAKN Life Sciences Inc, which is run by leading drug scientists Dr. Ben Sessa and Professor David Nutt.
A for-profit company, Awakn aims to integrate psychedelic medicine into mainstream mental healthcare in order to address a 700 billion dollar annual problem in the UK and EU.
However, as currently no psychedelic-assisted therapy has been approved to be offered by the NHS, the clinic will only be available to private patients.
The revolutionary therapy is seen by many involved in the project to be the next step in the evolution of psychiatry. And with the pandemic increasing what was already quite high poor mental health prevalence among the British population, it can’t come soon enough.
Speaking to Filtermag.org, Dr. Sessa said: “We are about to experience a massive wave of mental health problems—I’m seeing a rise in cases already in my caseload. Now is the time for the innovative approaches to transform how we do psychiatry.”
As a company, Awakn has three separate divisions – Research, Clinics and Training. Along with conducting their own studies on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and offering clinical services to the public, Awakn offers accredited training for clinicians looking to work with psychedelics.
Opening in the Clifton neighborhood of Bristol in January 2021, the Bristol Psychedelics Clinic will initially only offer low-dose ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. This is because ketamine is one of the only psychedelics to have been approved for medical use in the UK.
However, Awakn’s research division does have plans to perform clinical trials with both MDMA and psilocybin, which at present can only be used as research trial drugs.
Along with its own research unit, the Bristol facility will feature three clinical rooms and a space for patients to relax in after their treatment. The company has plans to open similar clinics in other cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton.
The training services offered by Awakn are certified under the authority of a regulated body – the Royal College of Psychiatry – and are available in person and online. CEO Anthony Tennyson says he hopes it will encourage the spread of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
“We’ll be offering certified training under the authority of a regulated body—psychologists and psychiatrists, as opposed to shaman-type people with dream catchers.
“This is not to disparage anyone, but we’re looking to be the gold standard for medical and qualified practitioners to deliver these services, so it has to be people under the governance of the Royal College of Psychiatry,” Tennyson told Filtermag.