How to Run a Successful Psychedelic Clinic


On Aug. 9, 2023, reMind hosted a webinar with three psychedelic industry experts to discuss strategies and best practices of launching and operating a successful ketamine clinic, including establishing a mission, business plan, client care protocols, fundraising strategies, brand awareness, and location design.

The panelists included: Kim Turpin, co-founder of the Pearl Psychedelic Institute; Nykol Rice, founder of the Boise Ketamine Clinic; and Chris Walden, co-founder of Ketamine Media.

Watch the webinar here, or read the full transcript (edited for clarity) below.

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Brad Dunn (00:03): 

Hi everybody. Thanks for joining us. My name is Brad Dunn. I’m the editor of reMind, a media and events company that’s dedicated to advancing the business of psychedelics responsibly and ethically. Today we’re going to be talking about how to run a successful psychedelic clinic, insights and advice for operators and entrepreneurs. We’ll be covering strategies and practical tips for launching a clinic, fundraising, building a client base, marketing, staffing, and quality control. We have three great expert panelists:  

Kim Turpin, the co-founder and marketing director of the Pearl Psychedelic Institute in Waynesville, North Carolina, a nonprofit that aims to bring ketamine and MDMA assisted psychotherapy into mainstream practice through research, treatment, and training. She’s been an educator, a business director of a mental health agency, and a community fundraiser.  

We also have Nykol Rice. Nykol’s the founder of the Boise Ketamine Clinic in Boise, Idaho, which opened in 2015 and offers ketamine infusion, ketamine assisted therapy, and ketamine assisted psychotherapy as well as group work. She’s a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and has personally treated thousands of clients.  

We also have Chris Walden who’s the co-founder and CEO of Ketamine Media in Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s a media agency that helps ketamine clinics and other psychedelic healthcare businesses with strategy consulting, raising awareness branding and design website development, SEO and social media management.  

We’re going to dive in here. The way we’re going to break out this conversation today is into two big chunks. First, we’re going to talk about how aspiring operators should envision and launch their clinic, what steps they should take to sort of build their practice. And then second, how to, once the doors are open, build that business or nonprofit so it succeeds. And then to the audience, we’re going to have a Q&A period.  

Let’s just start with our first question, and we’ll just kind of go around the horn on this. As people start to think about becoming an clinic operator, start to think about opening a clinic, what advice would you give someone who is trying to set their mission and figure out their why? Let’s start with you, Nykol. How did you determine your mission and what motivated you to get involved? 

 

 

Nykol Rice (03:11): 

I think having a clear passion and a goal in mind is really key to long-term success. Ketamine clinics take a lot of work, and without that, you’re not going to be able to provide as high-quality care. I read a continuing education study on ketamine used in the ER for suicidal ideation, and it had a 70% response rate in a single dose. And I felt like if I could bring that kind of success to my community, I had to give it a shot. So I opened a little over eight years ago, and I was the 10th or 11th clinic to open in the us so pretty early on. 

 

Brad Dunn:

That’s great. And Kim, how about you? How did set your why at The Pearl and figure out the early parts of your vision? 

 

Kim Turpin (03:57): 

Well, my husband, who is our executive director, Raymond Turpin, went to CIIS in the 1990s with the belief that psychedelic medicine was what he was called to. We then moved to North Carolina and opened a child and family mental health practice. And we’re in the mountains of western North Carolina. So we became very aware of the barriers to patient access with healthcare. And when we found that we were able to also bring psychedelic medicine to this area, we took the nonprofit approach because of wanting to bridge that barrier to patient access. And that is our long-term vision as well as training and education, community education.

 

Brad Dunn:  

That’s great. Thanks. And Chris, you’ve worked with many firms to help them launch their businesses. What advice do you give, or how do you help them set their mission? 

 

Chris Walden (05:03): 

Yeah, this is such an important question and topic. You know, we are very purpose-driven organization ourselves. And so, out of the nearly 300 practices that we’ve had an opportunity to work with through the course of our career, one of the things that really stands out for us, we really call it “clarifying your why.” Having a very clear picture of why you’re starting your business and being very purpose driven, leading with the mission, not leading with the money. And so, as you start a new business and venture into entrepreneurship, which can be very, very challenging as Nykol had shared earlier as well. And a why that is bigger than the adversity that you’re going to face in your business moving forward is what’s going to carry you day in and day out. And so, we always joke that being an entrepreneur means you have to be an expert at making lemonade from lemons, right? Because when you first start the business, anything that you can imagine happening is going to happen. So, the biggest parallel through our book of business has been having a very clear why, and really understanding what your unique value proposition is in the marketplace. Why should people come see you versus the other places? And I think the why can help you to determine that. 

 

Brad Dunn (06:29): 

And so once you have your vision sort of set and you have an idea of what you want to accomplish and goals, how did you all approach fundraising? Did you pay for this yourself? Was this out of savings? Or did you find investors? How would you advise somebody who doesn’t know how to do this? What steps to take? I’ll just leave that open, whoever wants to jump in. 

 

Kim Turpin (06:50): 

Because we were an expanded access location, we were given some funding from MAPS, so thank you MAPS. And we were also given funding from a local foundation here called the Evergreen Foundation. And they really helped to solidify us being accepted in our local community for bringing something that was relatively new. Obviously a lot of education was needed to bring something like this to any area, especially rural. And then from there, we had our first event. We had a movie night. We actually did a series of movies that were documentaries, because we wanted to come out into the community and not only introduce ourselves, but introduce what psychedelic medicine is and what psychedelic-assisted therapy is. 

So we played four of our favorite films and then had Q&A afterwards. And for the first one, I’d say the audience was probably about two-thirds of the way full. And by the third and fourth one, we were selling out with people wanting to know when the next ones were. We had other movie series that we continued on with. We’ve got another one coming this fall. Our first big fundraiser that we did last year, we’re having our second one coming up this month. And the number of people that will be attending this one are probably quadruple. But the first one, we did it as a gratitude party, and we didn’t charge for tickets. We basically sent out invitations to everyone in the community. It was a small event space, so it only held 50 people total, but it was perfect. It was right on the top of the mountain looking over Asheville skyline, because we’re in Western North Carolina. And we did it as a thank you. And they came and we raised over $10,000. Which is a lot when you’re doing this from the get-go. 

 

Brad Dunn (08:58): 

It’s very smart. You’re combining the movie nights with a fundraiser. 

 

Kim Turpin (09:04): 

They were a $7 minimum donation. You came in and then they bought pizza and beer. And we had coffee mugs and stickers and t-shirts just to get people excited. And then we had people that came to all four, and by the fourth one, they were handing us $20, $50, you know, it was just incredible. But I would say the main thing is the approach that we’ve taken with fundraising has been education is our primary goal, and then the money will follow. And gratitude is our primary goal because I do believe that this is not just about us in this community. It’s a collaborative approach. In order to bring psychedelic medicine forward, it takes a collaborative community. 

 

Brad Dunn (09:55): 

Nykol, how did you approach fundraising? Yours is a for-profit model, and I believe you did use a lot of your own savings to launch it, right?  

 

Nykol Rice (10:04): 

I did. I wasn’t sure what my resources were. I don’t have a business background. I just wanted to help bring this to my community. So I saved up paycheck by paycheck until I had a full treatment room in my basement! And then as soon as I found one room available for rent, I was like, let’s try it. And then I went door to door with a letter that I had drafted to these mental health clinics saying, this is who we are, this is what we offer. Please let me know if I can come and teach you about this treatment option, or if you’d like to learn more about what we’re up to here. So I offered a lot of lunch and learns. I did a lot of boots-on-the-ground work to get it up and going. 

 

Brad Dunn (10:45): 

Oh, that’s fantastic. Chris, do you help with fundraising as part of your agency work, or help with strategies around fundraising?

 

Chris Walden (10:55): 

Yeah, and a lot of it is very similar to what Kim and Nykol said. We see a lot of parallels. Clearly there’s differences between the businesses we work with, but we do see a lot of parallels. You’re starting from a very infancy stage and you continue to kind of build upon that. And leverage creative resources, your own funding, things like that. So this is, this is a very normal conversation for us, but we do provide consulting and speak with our partners or our clients about this very regularly. 

 

Brad Dunn (11:36): 

Let’s go to what you just referred to Nykol, opening up your first treatment room in your basement. Set and setting is all you hear about, and the importance that it has in psychedelic therapy. For somebody looking to open a nonprofit or a for-profit clinic, how important is that set and setting, finding the right real estate? What do you look for? What advice would you give somebody as they’re trying to find where to launch their operation? 

 

Nykol Rice (12:02): 

Yeah, so this really speaks to my newness as a provider. When I was very first opening, nobody was doing this, it was all in clinic settings. So I rented a single clinic room, moved everything out of my basement to the, to the clinic room, and got set up. But it was shared space with a couple of other providers that were running a primary care clinic. And that was pretty noisy. And, you know, this worked for us, but it wasn’t ideal. Where we’ve settled now, we found a commercially zoned home. By some luck, a patient actually found it and showed us this commercially zoned home. We were able to purchase that, and now we are able to control that set and setting from door to door. So it’s all very calm, it’s all very quiet, it’s all private. All of our rooms facilitate seating for a support person. We can do very personal KAP and KAT sessions without anybody else in the building being able to hear what’s going on. So it’s just really focused on comfort and privacy now, and it’s a purposeful departure from a sterile clinical setting. It really feels like you’re walking into a home. 

 

Brad Dunn (13:07): 

That’s great. And so Kim, what advice would you give somebody on how they try to find the right real estate? Or what’s the most important part of that? 

 

Kim Turpin (13:14): 

Well, it very similar to Nykol in the sense that we, at first we’re looking for a land and space like that. And then in instead, what we have right now, our first clinic space is a home. And it’s a beautiful bungalow that we came across. It was commercially zoned. And our clients have said that from the moment they leave their car, they feel their heart opening because we have plants and flowers, and the porch is, has rocking chairs. And then when you enter into the clinic itself, we brought in all of the elements. We have water fountains, we have crystals, we have artwork. It’s very comfortable, and also very energetic. And then the rooms themselves. I love the way they’re decorated with plants. We brought nature in as much as we could.

And we have recliners in each room. We also have futons in each room. We really try to bridge bringing nature indoors as much as possible. And at the same time, also making sure that we had the comfort level as possible for, for our clients and our therapist. Because these sessions are not short. They’re time consuming. And you want everybody to be comfortable. We also got lucky there because right as we were opening our clinic, we had a national foundation who gave us a nice boost. And so we were able to decorate with that intention and do it well. And we’re very grateful for that too. 

 

Brad Dunn (15:02): 

Excellent. Well, before we kind of segue into post-opening your doors and how to have your nonprofit or business succeed, let’s just talk a little bit about staffing, and especially the early-days staffing. How do you staff up? What are the important roles? What do you have to look for in the right personnel?

 

Kim Turpin (15:27): 

I know for us, one of the things that we have always done but now we’re really tuning into is when we interview somebody, if they actually speak from more of a space of service, than from a space of meanness. It’s just so important with this medicine work. And also, we’re really looking for people who are open to growing and changing a paradigm. It’s a big deal. Therapists are having to learn how to do good touch, instead of no touch. As medical providers they are having to learn how to actually, you know, hold space for people in a way that they’ve never done. And we actually have an experiential training that we do. And we want to grow our trainings for those people, and not just for people who are new to coming into therapy and medicine, but also to the people that are out there who are experienced but don’t have this experience. So it’s very important to have people who are not so rigid. 

 

Brad Dunn (16:45): 

Nykol, do you agree with that? 

 

Nykol Rice (16:47): 

Yeah, I mean, I lucked out. We have a clinical psychologist and a somatic practitioner as well as a physician’s assistant. They all found me, the right people came to me. The right people were like, this is what I want to do. Can your clinic facilitate this kind of work that I’ve already been doing, that I’m familiar with and passionate about? And it was very organic as far as the business side of staffing, getting the administration staff in place. It took me five years to hire my own secretary. This was a mistake. I should have hired my own secretary years before because I thought, “Well, I can handle it. It’s not stressing me out too much.” But I was overwhelmed and just didn’t recognize it. And as soon as I hired help, our business volume doubled because people were responded to much quicker. They had the information that they needed. And that took a huge mental burden off of me, and I could really focus on the patient care. So I think just being cognizant of when you, yourself actually need to pull in some resources for running your business, as well as the quality of practitioners that are working within your business. This is really overall what creates an environment for continued success. 

 

Kim Turpin (18:01): 

That’s great. I agree. I agree with all of that, and that’s where we’re at. And also then it also creates where you’re able to create the systems that support all of that. Yeah, that’s good advice.  

 

Brad Dunn (18:14): 

Alright, great. Well, let’s get into this now. How do you build up that client base once your doors are open and you’re ready to take in patients? What tips do you have? What did you learn about building that client base? 

 

Kim Turpin (18:33): 

As far as our client base goes, we’ve been getting referrals from other practitioners in the area, and we do allow people to apply themselves. We have an evaluation and intake, obviously, all of that is rote and needed. One of the ways that we are really building our client base is we have a personal approach from the very beginning. We talk to them about our sliding scale fee. We try to really meet people where they’re at because we don’t want them to come into this being stressed out about the funding and then have that stress replace the other anxiety. And with that, we also are very cognizant of making sure that they fit this type of work and that they’re ready for this type of work. We do have an extended integration coach who is available to do prep if people need a little bit more time.  

 

Brad Dunn (19:40): 

Great. Nykol, how did go about it? 

 

Nykol Rice (19:43): 

Kim very nicely addressed a lot of those pieces. I would just add, from a patient follow-through standpoint, it really helped us with intake having a 30-minute consult just to go over questions with people. And then, when they sign up and decide that they’re going to pursue a series, then they get a full hour prep and then they’re fully ready to engage in this process. And by the time they walk in our door for the very first appointment, we’ve had no less than four to five points of contact with them from a welcome email to a full medical consult and screening to preparation. So they feel pretty prepared and ready to start on this journey. So we’re not a same-day treat-and-street kind of practice. They really do kind of have to go through this process and be ready for the experience. They do a lot better with that if you invest the time on the front end, rather than trying to educate or help people prepare for maybe some potential difficult journeys on the backend. It’s a lot better to have them feel fully prepared and ready for this process they’re about to undertake. 

 

Brad Dunn (20:56): 

I see. So, certainly I hear the importance of how you handle them when they come in the door and how you make them feel welcome. Also, the critical importance of getting local referrals from psychiatrists and other healthcare practitioners. It’s a great way to build. But Chris, let’s talk about advertising and old-fashioned marketing. What have you learned about what works and what doesn’t work for ketamine clinics in general?

 

Chris Walden (21:19): 

There’s a lot to discuss on this topic, but to try to summarize it: We have found that you really have to be ubiquitous in your approach. And before you open your doors, it’s important to do a market analysis. Who are your potential customers? What are people’s buying habits? Where should I open up my business? How large is my market? What are other clinics charging in my market? Who are people that I can collaborate with for referrals? What’s my unique value proposition? 

But in order to be successful in any community, you have to be a part of it. I learned that very early on in my career in a different industry. And so I think that that’s something that’s very important. Also, there are a lot of traditional forms of advertising and non-traditional forms of advertising. Some of the common ones that we’re familiar with, obviously social media, content marketing, things of that nature within Google and major search engines. But one of the things that we found to really be most effective, really, especially from an educational standpoint, is a very high level of content marketing with a lot of intent and education behind it.

When somebody raises their hand for help through an advertising channel, there’s a few different ways they can do it. For example, on social media, we would call that more interruption-based advertising. People are glued to their cell phones, they see compelling call to action a video, something that encourages them to raise their hand for help. And so they may not necessarily be looking for help, but we all deal with depression or trauma or anxiety or stress. So you don’t have to look very hard to find people who are dealing with these things. But when somebody physically goes to a search engine or a piece of content or is referred to you from another trusted source, it’s a radically different engagement. There’s user-based intent behind it. So, typically we see a higher intent from an individual who raises their hand for help through that type of channel. They’re ready to move forward because there’s some type of intent, whether that is just getting information or taking the next step to enroll into a treatment program. 

 

Brad Dunn (23:54): 

Gotcha. Kim and Nykol, among your first-time visitors, roughly what percentage are coming from a referral and what percentage are coming from a web search, an ad, or just finding you on their own? Do you have a sense of that?

 

Kim Turpin (24:12): 

Kim. I think we’re probably about 50%. That’s just guesstimating: 50/50.

 

Nykol Rice (24:20): 

I think we’re probably 20-30% referral and 60-70% self-referred. 

 

Brad Dunn (24:29): 

This is a staffing question, but as far as the people on the phones and fielding calls, how important is that role? What kind of person is best to have in that role? 

 

Nykol Rice (24:48): 

Hire an extrovert? <laughs>

 

Kim Turpin (24:52): 

It’s so important, and I’ve been doing it myself because I’ve been having a hard time letting go. Whoever answers the phone gives off the first impression of our agency. And I finally have someone that is actually a therapist who is going to be that person now, which is the right person for that role. It’s a very important job. It needs to be somebody who is an extrovert and a very kind extrovert. Kindness has to come across. 

 

Chris Walden (25:41): 

That’s the No. 1 recommendation we have for our partners we work with. The art of communication is so incredibly important for the reasons that Kim just mentioned. We’ve seen drastic changes through the course of our relationships with the people that we work with. Many are very good communicators on the front end of their business. They start by fielding all the phone calls, and so passing that baton over to someone else can be very challenging. It’s one of the first impressions of your business. And when somebody has literally just a couple seconds to make up their mind on what direction that conversation’s going to go. It can make all the difference in the world. 

 

Brad Dunn (26:38): 

Okay, great. So let’s talk about, now that you have some clients coming in, you’re building up your base. Let’s talk about quality control of the experience, the treatment itself, the client care protocols. What have you learned about what are the important things that need to happen and how have you adjusted your protocols to make sure you’re having the right outcomes and the right patient success? Nykol, we’ll start with you. 

 

Nykol Rice (27:00): 

I would just say as far as like logistics go, if you’re looking for a high quality clinic, you want to make sure that you have the necessary supplies to keep people safe. So you want a vital sign monitor, you want an infusion pump, a free flowing bag is not ideal for a controlled infusion. It’s a little bit safer and a little bit more customizable to have an infusion pump. And then just the set and setting: It should feel private, with customizable music, ideally a recliner or a bed, and then seating for a support person or therapist is a great thing to work with.

We did start with a variety of protocols. We have several different ones that have kind of adapted over the years. The one that has varied the most is definitely our KAP and KAT. So we have gone from a lozenge form ketamine to a variety of intermuscular ketamine experiences to IV experiences. And currently our two KAP and KAT providers really strongly prefer to do the 40- to 50-minute IV sessions, because it works well in their clinical schedule. Our patients who do that full series with them get anywhere from five to eight full guided hours with these therapists, depending on which protocol they choose. But that’s definitely the one that we’ve made the most adjustment is in how we deliver KAP and KAT. 

 

Brad Dunn (28:26): 

Gotcha. Great. Kim, how about how about your protocols and what you’ve learned to make those outcomes as successful as possible? 

 

Kim Turpin (28:35): 

We are doing the lozenges and the intermuscular. We are actually looking at adding the IV. But we started off with that because of it being a psychedelic experience that they actually receive. And so one of the things that we immediately started adjusting was realizing that somebody might need more than one prep session. Because if you have an intake and they’ve unpacked what they want to work on, sometimes you realize they may need to get to know you a little bit better. Because everything is about the comfort level when they are actually under. And the other part that is very important is making sure that you start integration as soon as they come out of the medicine so that you’re capturing what they experienced right away. And then 24 to 72 hours later, you’re having that next integration experience so that they are fully able to recall as much as they can. You let that internal healing system help them in their unpacking what the messages were that they were receiving. It’s really been incredible to hear the stories. It’s just beautiful. It’s an honor to be in this realm. 

 

Brad Dunn (30:04): 

Oh, that’s fantastic. Okay. I want to get to some audience questions, but I have a few more things I’d like to get through. How long did it take before you were breaking even or getting ahead? What kind of cash runway did you need to sustain you until then?

 

Chris Walden (30:40): 

For our clients, it has varied a lot. We’ve seen so many different cases. I think starting a clinic now, in comparison to what it was like even a number of years ago, is radically, radically different. The advice then and now would, would certainly be different. But for a new owner operator starting off today, I would recommend that they have a minimum of six months reserves in a bank to cover all expenses. Certainly sometimes this is very unrealistic  for people. But I think that’s where the why and the passion and the other resources come in. 

And so you can find a way and make a way. What Kim shared about the movie nights and some of the other creative things that you did with fundraising was brilliant. But I’d say somebody have a minimum of six months reserves for all expenses. Also, do a proforma. Understand your numbers. That’s going to be important. But that would be our, our recommendation to any new clinical we’re starting today. 

 

Kim Turpin (31:59): 

And don’t put the cart before the horse. Don’t get a large, large space that you’re not ready for. Instead, trust that it’s really about the services and then the space will grow with you. I think this has been a lesson we’ve seen happening in this industry. I also think it’s really important to make sure that as you’re growing, you put as much as you can into your services because that’s how you’re going to build your reputation. And by services, I mean all of it. It’s that wraparound care. You can even grow that extended integration piece by doing community events at your location, which then helps to grow your market share because people learn about you. 

You can have more education nights, sound baths, all those fun little things that are out there to really bring people together and learn about what you’re doing. It takes time. We put a lot of our money in as well, my husband and I and our partner Bill Zimmer. And of course we didn’t know a pandemic was coming, and so that was really challenging.  

 

Brad Dunn (33:35): 

Well, congratulations for making it through for weathering the pandemic. Nykol, was it the same sort of experience for you getting to sustainability? 

 

Nykol Rice (33:44): 

Yeah, so I would just share that this takes a lot of time. I did seven years of 70-hour work weeks until I could leave my other job. It just takes a lot of time and resources in order to get up and running. And out of the seven years I’ve been running, we’ve been profitable four years, and the other three was like Covid my initial startup year, and then a year I went back to get another postmaster’s certificate. So just keep in mind, you’re likely to have some lean years. I think there’s this misconception with the psychedelic medicine space and with ketamine clinics that they’re simple; that you just buy some supplies, learn how to program a pump and dose the medication, and you’re going to be bringing in all this money. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes so much work, and you actually have to provide a high quality service, and then it’s going to take you time and effort that’s sustained over many years. So I think you just have to be ready to buckle up and be on that journey. 

 

Chris Walden (34:41): 

That’s well said, Nykol. I was talking with Cassie, my wife, the other co-founder of the business, and we were just kind of thinking back through the years and we didn’t pay ourself for the first three years. But it’s such an important topic to go over and be prepared for.

 

Brad Dunn (35:01): 

Well, that gets back to the make sure your why is right, because that’s what’s got to see you through those times. Alright, let’s do a couple of just last questions and then get to some audience questions. I wanted to end on two in particular. The first: Looking back over your careers, if you could do it all over again, thinking back to lessons learned, what would do something differently? 

 

Chris Walden (35:48): 

I’ll jump in. For us it would be having more conversations like this earlier in the process, both inside and outside our company. One of the things that we discovered very early on was we had to be a lot more than just a traditional advertising agency. We had to pivot and start doing a lot more consulting and things like that. We should’ve started having these kinds of conversations about purpose and mission even before we were onboarding new partners or clients into our agency.

 

Kim Turpin (37:05): 

I loved what Nykol said about getting her secretary, and getting that support sooner, before it takes away from your real work. That should be one of the first goals. Also for me, I say this as a manifestation for myself, is finding that time for self-care and balance, because it actually makes you able to do more with your time when you practice that. You can’t do this work without practicing what you preach, meaning that self-care component. And that is that’s really important because it’s a lot of space that you’re holding for other people no matter what you’re doing in the organization. You’re part of that that container. 

 

Brad Dunn (38:10): 

Great. That’s great. Nykol, one thing, if you could do it all over again? 

 

Nykol Rice (38:16): 

I’d have been more excited from the start. I was so early in the space, nobody knew what I was doing and there was a lot of gray area. So I would’ve just been more excited and more proactive about getting the word out there. There’s way less stigma to overcome now. I mean, with Michael Pollan’s book, with some documentaries, there’s been a big cultural shift in how we perceive and view psychedelic treatment options. But when I was starting, everyone I talked to was like, this is a horse tranquilizer. They were so nervous about what I was up to. So there was a lot of misinformation that I was having to battle in those early years that I don’t think you’d run into quite as much now. 

 

Brad Dunn (39:01): 

Yeah. Okay, perfect. Alright, let’s do one last question and then we’re going to do and then we’re going to turn to the audience. So getting back to where we started with setting your why: Are you accomplishing your why? And how do you know?

 

Kim Turpin (39:21): 

For us it’s obviously the clients. Just seeing the results of their trajectory and their healing journey. That is the why. The bonus is collaborating with the community and getting to know all these other amazing souls out there who are also part of the why. I feel I’ve been in my community for a long time and I feel stronger than ever in it now. I feel so connected and so purpose-driven dropping into my dharma. My husband and I laugh, we call it our Hail Mary to the planet at this point. It just feels like we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing and there’s nothing greater than that. 

 

Brad Dunn (40:21): 

That’s great. Nykol, how about you?

 

Nykol Rice (40:25): 

I feel much the same way. Like I have found my purpose. And I think many people within the clinic are also there fulfilling their purpose, and having that whole team has really been beautiful. I lost someone to suicide in my early 20s, and when I was getting into this work, I thought if I can just prevent one other family from having to suffer that loss, everything that I do over these next few years will be worth it. And now I think that suicide-prevention count has got to be in the hundreds. So, just knowing that we were able to play a small part in these people’s journeys when they were at some of the lowest darkest days of their whole life, that’s life-changing. Not only for them, but for us as providers too, to feel like we’re really putting something out into the world that’s genuinely helping people get a bit of themselves back. 

 

Brad Dunn (41:20): 

That’s beautiful. Chris, the clients, some of the outcomes you’ve seen working with clients? 

 

Chris Walden (41:24): 

Yeah, we certainly share the same sentiment as Kim and Nykol. We’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of things over the last seven, almost eight years. When we started Ketamine Media as a purpose-driven company, there’s three pillars that we have that are part of our why and they are: meaning and purpose and value. And those are three things that we seek to identify that help us guide every decision that we make within our organization, the type of people we work with, and so on. And so as we’ve traveled the country and met many of our partners face to face, visited their clinics and video testimonials, things of that nature, seeing the profound impact that this medicine has had on the quality of people’s lives. 

For us, as a marketing agency, it’s been interesting. I’ll never forget one of my very first video testimonials, I met a lady we were working with, who grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you for helping save my life.” As a marketing professional, that was a very abnormal thing for us to hear. But she had a previous failed suicide attempt and through a result of seeing content and being educated about ketamine through that kind of the ubiquitous approach we talked about earlier, she decided to raise her hand for help. She was able to get quality care and the help that she needed. And now she’s living a great life.

So, it’s those stories. Every day, you wake up and you deal with the adversity and the challenges and you come to work. But it’s those stories that we share with our team, because we them to understand that they’re doing a lot more than just creating a social media post or something to put on a website. It’s doing something that you love every single day and playing a small role in someone’s life, is just such a rewarding feeling. It’s amazing.  

 

Brad Dunn (43:51): 

Alright, 15 minutes to go. We have a lot of great questions here. I’m going to just pick out a couple of the real technical quick answer ones. Can a patient drive after a ketamine session? If not, how do you navigate that? 

 

Nykol Rice (44:06): 

No they can’t. And they need to bring a driver with them. We do allow Uber or Lyft but only if we’ve seen the patient a time or two and we feel like they’re trustworthy. In our policy and procedures, it’s noted that if we catch them driving it’s cause for immediate patient termination. And so far patients have been really adherent with that policy. 

 

Brad Dunn (44:30): 

Okay, great. Here’s a question for Kim. Who’s the best contact to reach out to set up a MAPS subsite in Texas? How do you get involved with MAPS in general and if you happen to have a contact in Texas? 

 

Kim Turpin (44:49): 

As far as MAPS goes, to become a certified site, you have to participate in the MAPS trainings and I know that right now CIIS, Naropa, and some others do it. You can look up to see who are doing the MAPS trainings. And some of them are embedded in other programs. MAPS I do not think is doing them all by themselves anymore is my understanding. You can look for where it’s embedded in other trainings. And then once you’ve done the training one of the things that is going to be required would be then being certified as a site location. And so we are a site and now we have a treatment team Raymond Turpin and Kim Skelton who are certified MAPS therapists because once you’ve done the training, the next step is not only your site, but then also that you have a supervision for a full treatment with a MDMA assisted therapy client. 

And then at that point you then are a MAPS certified therapist. So we are hoping to help with that. That is what we are. Our goal is, is to be a supervision site where supervision can be done remotely. Raymond and Kim’s supervisor was actually out of Charleston and so that’s as much as I can share. That’s been our journey. I do believe that MAPS is getting ready for this and that they have over 30 training sites already determined and I could be off a little bit on the numbers, but they obviously know there’s going to need to be a lot of training very quickly in order to get this off the ground. And I know they have a plan in place. 

 

Brad Dunn (47:02): 

Okay, great. Here’s a, here’s a specific one. Did Kim or Nykol do a community needs assessment before opening. How did you evaluate the marketplace?  

 

Kim Turpin (47:19): 

Well, we did. In Western North Carolina there are a lot of veterans. There is also a lot of trauma. Raymond’s been in the field for over 34 years now, and he believes that most mental health issues can be traced back to trauma. And so, I feel this medicine can be used everywhere. But as far as bringing it to Western North Carolina — and a rural setting, at that — it really felt like there wasn’t even a question of the need.  

 

Nykol Rice (47:59): 

I felt the same and there was nothing similar offered in my state anywhere. You would have to go to out of state, several states away to get this kind of treatment option. So I figured, if I could just help one person, I would try it and I would see. And it just naturally grew from there. But it was a little risky opening up the way I did. 

 

Brad Dunn (48:20): 

Okay, great. So this is for Chris. Chris, from your experience working with clinics of all shapes and sizes, what has been the single most common denominator you’ve seen with the ones who succeed? 

 

Chris Walden (48:31): 

I would go right back to the purpose and the why. That has been likely the No. 1 thing that we’ve seen that has really clearly distinguished one practice from the next. 

 

Brad Dunn (48:46): 

Okay, here’s one for Nykol. Nykol, what’s your continuing vision for transforming the Boise community with psychedelic medicine? Do you plan to keep up with new and emerging medicines as they become available or approved, like MDMA? Or are you thinking of expanding to other locations in other states? 

 

Nykol Rice (49:04): 

I have a couple clinics in Utah that I may consider expanding, but Boise’s definitely doing the best out of the locations that I have. So my focus and goal with Boise is bringing MDMA and psilocybin as those are federally approved. We actually have a whole team gearing up for this. So I’ve gone through 100 hours of MAPS training, I’m completing their virtual immersion training later this week, so I’ll be able to do that myself. And then our therapists have also completed this training, and then there will also be a prescriber route. So I was happy to hear at the last MAPS conference that if you are not a therapist, if you are in the prescriber role, there’s going to be a separate track for you to be able to learn that role. And then you would just need to incorporate the MAPS-certified therapists. 

 

Kim Turpin (49:51): 

There’s actually a board of psychedelic medicine that is being formed and there’ll be a sitter route, there’ll be a therapist route, there’ll be a medical provider route. There’ll be a route for all of those to have access to become involved in the medicine. 

 

Brad Dunn (50:16): 

Okay, great. What kind of insurance or liability coverage is necessary? 

 

Nykol Rice (50:23): 

For a business, you need all sorts of liability coverage. You should have business insurance, you should have insurance on your location, you need malpractice insurance. And then we also have an umbrella policy that just kind of covers anything that we might’ve missed. So there’s at least four different policies that you need to have in order to run. 

 

Kim Turpin (50:47): 

And a technology policy is not a bad idea either these days. 

 

Brad Dunn (50:52): 

Okay, great. One other question on definitions. What is KAP and KAT? What’s the difference between them? Nykol, I think you may have used those terms more. 

 

Nykol Rice (51:05): 

My psychologist who does the KAP, or ketamine assisted psychotherapy, describes the distinction this way: In his view, he feels like his work is very deep. He tries to go right to the root of the problem. He’s very in depth with trauma. In his opinion, the KAT, or ketamine assisted therapy, is not quite as deep. Also only certain professions can use that psychotherapy designation, while other professionals use the therapy. I don’t know how accurate that is. But that’s why we offer KAP and KAT options, based on the provider. 

 

Brad Dunn (51:50): 

Let’s go to this long one. I’m going to read this because I think this is kind of an interesting one. Given that these treatments involve altered state or suggestibility inducing states how do practitioners and clinic operators navigate the tension between the motivation to run a successful business and the moral obligation to respect the autonomy and cognitive liberty of all participants? There’s a further example, if a practitioner has the motivation to grow the business, what should the practitioner do to avoid letting that motivation enter the work with current patients to lead to undue influences, be exerted being exerted on the patient’s transformation? 

 

Nykol Rice (52:37): 

That’s a hard question, because you’re into the ethics of an individual person. So I think you have to make sure that your heart’s always in the right place, and you don’t lose sight of that mission and vision and goal that you’ve set for yourself and let kind of the financial piece overtake you. I mean, that piece is important. Nobody can run these for free. It’s very difficult. It’s hard to get funding here. So you do have to be cognizant of that, but there’s certainly a way to provide this in an ethical, affordable way where that doesn’t cloud your judgment. The other thing I would recommend is having a multidisciplinary approach so that it’s not just always you making the decision that this patient is a candidate for ketamine or ketamine assisted therapy. You have a therapist involved, a psychotherapist involved. You have a lot of other people who are involved in that process so that there’s multiple opportunities for someone to say, “I don’t know if this person really is a good candidate for this.” That would be helpful. 

 

Brad Dunn (53:37): 

Okay, great. And Kim, I see you’re getting back online here, which is great. Here’s another, another question as, as Kim comes online and our, we have a couple minutes left. What’s the biggest challenge in terms of growing capacity and scale? Is it finding high quality therapists? Is it regulatory compliance? Is it patient recruitment insurance? What is often the most limiting factor in growing? 

 

Kim Turpin (53:58): 

I do think that it’s going to take a little while for the insurance to really catch up. And that’s where it’s challenging because you’re having to really hold space for these people and help them with what is billable and then help them understand how the stuff that’s not billable is still very beneficial. And so that to me is especially thinking ahead about some of these other medicines. 

 

Brad Dunn (54:35): 

There’s, there’s a lot of other great questions. We are running out of time. One question here for Kim. Kim, what were the four movies that you said were your favorite and that fundraiser you did? 

 

Kim Turpin (55:01): 

Well, the four that we did for the first one we chose we chose “The Way of the Psychonaut,”which is about Stan Groff and his journey. We chose an old favorite, which was “Hofmann’s Potion.” And one that’s called “Better Living Through Chemistry.” And we also chose “A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin,” which is such a beautiful movie. Absolutely beautiful. And “Psychedelia,” we actually were one of the first folks who had the rights to show that film and are very grateful that that director reached out to us. There’s so much coming out. “Prescription X: The Rick Doblin Story,” if anybody wants to help fund his movie, they are working on his movie right now. And it, it really is a great way to bring a community together and then have a q and a afterwards. It’s just been amazing bringing together people who are brand new to this and trying to just understand what’s going on. It’s been a lot of fun. 

 

Brad Dunn (56:18): 

Fantastic. Okay. We are at time. This has been a fantastic conversation. I’m super grateful to all of our panelists, Chris, Nykol and Kim. Really appreciate you guys sharing your experiences and your viewpoints on and your successes and challenges that you’ve had in running your businesses. It’s been great.  

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