On the day it opened in early May, Field Trip Health’s therapeutic facility in Houston’s uptown neighborhood looked a little like a high-end strip-mall spa. Dressed in a floral shirt, Matt Emmer, the company’s director of operations and business development, showed me the clinic’s amenities. He led me down a hallway, around a narrow Zen rock garden, past eight therapy rooms with white-leather zero-gravity chairs and headphones, and into a spacious, sunlight-filled gathering area outfitted with gray couches and a plush white carpet. A few light pink, brown, and gray pillows and throw blankets were scattered about. He sat down on the couch and asked, “Are you familiar with psychedelics?”
Field Trip, which launched in 2019 in Toronto and began opening clinics across North America in 2020, offers patients what is currently the only psychedelic drug with Food and Drug Administration approval for prescription: the anesthetic ketamine. After an initial screening with a psychiatrist to ensure safety, patients here are paired with a psychotherapist to begin four to six sessions with the drug. They take it as a lozenge, which induces an hour-long dissociative episode (a therapist is always in the room and a nurse in the hallway, should patients require medical intervention), after which they have an hour of follow-up therapy. “Settled into the treatment room, we actually use weighted blankets, reclining chairs, curated playlists, and eyeshades,” Emmer said.
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