Ketamine Couples Sex Therapy At Dalai Llama Retreat

Psychotherapist Jayne Gumpel said that ketamine couples’ sex therapy at a Dalai Lama retreat helps open one’s heart to one’s partner.

Juan-Carlos and his wife Sophie – not their real names – were in a near terminal rut. Ten years of couples therapy had done little to alleviate the dark cloud of jealousy and trust issues that hung over them. Once they’d been experimental and open in the bedroom; now the 50-year-old and 48-year-old New Yorkers were having sex only a couple times a year. 

Then their relationship therapist began offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy: in an open, hyper-plastic state thanks to the drug, patients are thought to more easily delve into the drivers of their behavior, including inherited familial patterns. “They were able to see their own wounding,” says psychotherapist Jayne Gumpel. “It was amazing. We were all crying.”

Juan-Carlos had been violently abused by his father and, under the influence of a ketamine lozenge, realised that it had led him to become absent, jealous and insistent that Sophie was unfaithful. “Afterwards he could really see and take in the love she had for him,” adds Gumpel. Empathy began to replace anger and hurt.

Their marriage had been on the brink, but now — following further psychedelic therapy sessions and structured psychiatric integration – it has never been healthier. Sex became far more frequent and trust more evident. “Ketamine can be a gift in this way,” their therapist tells VICE. “It’s pretty phenomenal when it comes to opening one’s heart to one’s partner.” 

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Gumpel runs her couples retreats at a luxury Buddhist health resort established by the Dalai Lama in upstate New York. Participants — including while high on the dissociative drug — are guided through talking therapy addressing their sex lives, intimacy and the obstacles they face as a pair. Meditation, mindfulness and consensual touch sessions follow. Coaxed into a fertile and flexible state, they can go back to their rooms to consummate the new era of their relationship. 

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