Clinic Happenings

Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Dr. Heather Costello. I am a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Rachel Norris. Like Dr. Norris, I am double board-certified in Emergency Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine and completed my training at Northwestern University and University of Chicago respectively. After many years in the emergency department and working in hospice, I am now also working for Imagine Healthcare because this clinic offers an incredible path to healing not found elsewhere in medicine. I am humbled to be a part of such a wonderful offering to those who are suffering. My personal healing interests are rooted in mindfulness, yoga, exercise, and Buddhism. I am currently certifying to teach in both meditation and yoga. Obviously, if you are reading this blog, then you are either a ketamine client or you are interested in what ketamine therapy has to offer. Congratulations on seeking care and healing. You have come to the right place.
Dr. Heather

Recently I attended a Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy conference led by Dr. Phil Wolfson, a true leader in the field of ketamine therapy. It was an honor to be a student with many other physicians and therapists as well as learning alongside Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leader in the field of trauma. Together the group was taught so very much about ketamine therapy. But one of the most important things I came away from the training with was the healing power of being in a ‘group.’ We were fortunate to spend several days together at a beautiful site in upstate New York. The setting was wonderful; a Buddhist retreat called Menla on an incredible property created by the renown Tibetan scholar, Dr. Robert Thurman, and then gifted to the Dali Lama. But even more important was the bonding of the group going through the process together. We had some shared commonalities – we were all helpers and healers. We were all seeking knowledge about this treatment. But we all found we also had our own healing to do after many months of pandemic stressors and our roles as healthcare practitioners. I was motivated to help bring this modality to Imagine Healthcare’s treatment options.

Recently, Imagine Healthcare hosted an inaugural small group ketamine therapy group. And if I say so myself, it was a huge success. Our small group consisted of four men, between the ages of 65-75. These men had several things in common other than some basic demographics of age and race. Some knew each other well, others peripherally, but they all had a few other important things in common. They all had recent loss, either of spouse or close friends, including the loss of a friend that each of them knew. We thought it would be interesting and helpful to conduct small group sessions where we could offer an intimate and safe setting to discuss their struggles, loss, and grief. And it is inspiring us to reach out to you in case this type of therapy sounds promising to you.

Your group could be friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances with any shared issue or intention. Or we can help create groups for clients that are interested in this shared experience. The delivery of the medicine is still done using eye masks, noise-canceling headphones with customized music choices for healing, zero-gravity recliners, aromatherapy, and weighted or non-weighted blankets. We take seriously the concept of holding space and respecting boundaries. We will help build comfort and unity in the experience. We use various adjunct healing practices such as breathwork, gentle yoga, sound healing, poetry, smudging ceremony, debriefing, sharing, and exploring. These have been found to augment the healing experience especially since ketamine therapy can be a mystical and ineffable experience. Sharing the experience helps reinforce the concept of connectivity that ketamine provides. These can all be customized to your comfort levels. We are here to listen and to help. And we hope to see you and work with you soon.
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