New holistic healing, psychedelic therapy center launches in Austin

Millions of Americans will battle or have battled drug addictions and 85% relapse within a year of treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Those launching a new program in Central Austin believe their methods will significantly lower that percentage.

Within, which officially opens May 3, utilizes ketamine therapy. The center will blend the psychedelic medicine with "holistic healing and next-generation functional wellness" to treat mental health conditions and addictions, including substance abuse, PTSD and depression. 

"I’ve been in and out of recovery for about five years," said Austin resident Ryan Saldanha. "I’ve probably been in about ten rehabs, three or four detoxes and two psych wards and at one point in my life was on eight different medications." 

Saldanha underwent ketamine therapy as his "last stop."

"Having the opportunity to do the psychedelic therapy with the intensive healing made me realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Luke Carver shared a similar story with FOX 7. He was addicted to a variety of substances before trying psychedelic therapy. He is now the client care coordinator at Within.

"The neuroplasticity in your brain is very soft after you use something like ketamine, so it gives you the chance to reprogram your brain and create new habits and patterns in your life," said Carver. "It’s the most beautiful thing to watch someone go through their healing and know the things that you're doing actually work."

It’s a new way to look at modern medicine, even for some that have been immersed in it. 

"I watched people for years come in and out of the hospital, coming into the office, not getting better, medication lists getting longer, and patients really just kind of getting by," said Eric Miller M.D., medical director for Within. "It’s a shift from coping to healing."

Nurse practitioner Jennifer Zuckerman, who recently moved from California to help launch the program, echoed Miller's experience.

"I had been working in private practice for years, and it was just helping people with one more medication and another medication," said Zuckerman. "We have a lot of beautiful things, teachings and tools from modern medicine, but we need a lot more support and improvement especially when it comes to mental health." 

Psychedelic therapy has caught the attention of medical professionals and researchers in recent years. In December, UT Austin’s Dell Medical School launched the Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy to explore the use of psychedelics as treatment for mental health conditions.

For more information on psychedelic therapy or Within, click here.