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Welcome to Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy - San Luis Obispo's Premier Mental Health and Psychedelic Clinic

In downtown San Luis Obispo, California, Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy stands as a center of hope and healing for those living with mood disorders such as treatment resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD and complex trauma, as well as for those with chronic pain. This small mental health clinic is led by Dr. Ray Rivas, a pioneer in the rapidly evolving field of IV ketamine therapy, assisted by Cindy Nelson, LMFT, a dedicated ketamine-assisted psychotherapist. Together, they bring a wealth of experience and compassion to their patients, guiding them on their journey toward mental wellness and pain relief.

A Brief History of Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy

Dr. Ray Rivas, the founder of Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy, began his career as a trauma surgeon specializing in procedures such as laparoscopic and robotic surgery. After years of witnessing the profound struggles of those coming through the ER, he became increasingly passionate about mental health and healing trauma in new ways. For over a decade, Dr. Rivas regularly used ketamine in the hospital as a safe and effective analgesic and anesthetic, but it wasn’t until he experienced a particularly challenging divorce and the onset of depression that he decided to try low-dose ketamine for its mental health benefits for himself. The IV ketamine therapy treatment was transformative, so much so that he changed careers, giving up surgery in hopes of spreading awareness and healing with this powerful medicine. With a vision to make this groundbreaking therapy accessible to more people, Dr. Rivas established Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy in San Luis Obispo in August of 2022. His dedication to patient care and commitment to advancing mental health treatment on the Central Coast have made Innerbloom a trusted name in the community.

Cindy Nelson, LMFT, joined Innerbloom, becoming a licensed ketamine-assisted psychotherapist, bringing with her a deep understanding of the therapeutic process and a compassionate, down-to-earth approach to patient care. Cindy's early career focused on substance use disorders, specifically medication-assisted treatment for opioid use, and she gained valuable experience working with the foster care system, addressing mental health challenges arising from such circumstances. With over a decade of experience within a broad spectrum of organizations, with a wide range of clientele, Cindy has been instrumental in developing the clinic's comprehensive treatment program. Her work ensures that patients receive not only the inherent benefits of ketamine, but also the necessary psychological support to maximize their healing journey. Patients meet with Cindy for a minimum of three sessions: first to set goals, intentions, and prepare for the infusions, again partway through the treatment series to provide support and guidance, and once again after their treatment concludes to further integrate insights, motivations and ideas to pave a smooth path for patients as they go forward. Ketamine promotes neuroplasticity (the forming of new connections in the brain) and reopens "critical periods" in the brain, making it more receptive to change. During the treatment series, Cindy encourages patients to adopt new, healthy habits and let go of those that no longer serve them.

Innerbloom also partners with another licensed ketamine-assisted psychotherapist, Alisa Piette, a long-standing member of the community and highly skilled mental health provider. Alisa has over twenty years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Starting in 2001, she has been helping people challenged with addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, and difficulty communicating. To address the unique needs of each patient, she employs a range of therapeutic modalities such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (or EMDR), somatic resourcing, psychodynamic work, and psychodramatic techniques. Six years ago, she began her journey into psychedelic therapy. Since then, she has shifted her therapeutic approach and philosophy greatly. Today, she is committed to the power of holistic healing and thrilled to serve as a compassionate guide for her clients. Alisa brings a wealth of knowledge, compassion, and experience across traditional and alternative therapies. She is available to Innerbloom patients who wish to continue their therapeutic integrations long-term.

The clinic works collaboratively with local clinical psychologist Justin Chernow, PhD. In his work within psychedelic-assisted therapy, Justin brings a unique blend of perspectives. During his undergraduate years, he initiated the study of medical practices in indigenous cultures, many of which involved the use of psychedelic plants. After a period of applied anthropology through organizational consulting, he pursued his graduate studies at an institution co-founded by Dr. James Fadiman, a leading authority on the transformative potential of psychedelics. Before establishing his private practice, Justin worked with adults in various mental health settings, including community, university, correctional, and integrated medical environments. For over thirteen years Justin’s primary focus has been on guiding individuals through healing and personal growth in adulthood.

From right to left, Dr. Rivas, Cindy, Justin, Alisa, Libby and therapy dog, Eli.

Treatment Protocols for Mood Disorders and Pain

At Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy, the approach to treating mood disorders and chronic pain is holistic and patient-specific. The clinic employs a well-structured protocol adhering to the latest research and guidelines that includes:

  1. Initial Consultation and Assessment: Each patient's experience begins with a thorough evaluation to understand their medical history, current symptoms, and treatment goals. This helps the team tailor the treatment to the individual's needs. The initial phone consultation is free and typically takes about fifteen to thirty minutes.
  2. Ketamine Infusion Therapy: Once approved as a safe candidate for treatment, patients typically  receive a series of six IV ketamine infusions over the course of two to six weeks under the supervision of Dr. Rivas in a cozy, comfortable environment. Far from a stark, cold hospital, Innerbloom is a modern and tranquil space, ideal for promoting healing and wellness. Patients are monitored by the doctor at all times, never to be left alone while undergoing treatment. During their infusion, patients recline in a comfortable chair with eyeshades and a noise canceling headset. Each infusion is accompanied with its own unique playlist, with special music curated to enhance and guide the experience. The infusion typically lasts forty minutes, with each appointment totaling about an hour an half from start to finish. Some pain conditions may require longer infusions.
  3. Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Cindy Nelson provides psychotherapy sessions that are integrated with the ketamine treatments. These sessions help patients prepare for and process their experiences, address underlying issues, and develop healthy coping strategies. While ketamine alone can provide rapid symptom relief, the combination of ketamine therapy and psychotherapy boosts Innerbloom’s treatment response rates up to 80%.
  4. Ongoing Support and Monitoring: Innerbloom is committed to the long-term well-being of their patients. Regular follow-ups and assessments are part of the protocol, ensuring that patients continue to do well even after the initial treatment phase. Some patients my require periodic “booster” appointments over time to maintain symptom relief, while others enjoy lasting effects after the completion of the initial series. Patients may opt to see Alisa Piette, LMFT, to continue their therapy work with a licensed ketamine-assisted therapist for long term care.

Friendly Faces

Clinic Manager Libby plays a key role in the smooth operation of Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy. Her organizational skills and patient-first attitude ensure that every aspect of the clinic runs smoothly. From scheduling appointments to answering queries, Libby is the friendly face that patients often see, and talk to, first. Additionally, Libby will sit with female patients during their infusions to provide feminine support (in addition to Dr. Rivas being present in the treatment room as well). Dr. Rivas and Libby are are engaged with plans to marry in October of 2024. Their passion for helping others is a cornerstone in their relationship.

Therapy dog Eli (pronounced El-ee) is at the clinic every day.

Adding to the welcoming atmosphere of the clinic is the couple’s golden retriever therapy dog. This adorable canine companion is a daily fixture at Innerbloom, providing comfort and joy to patients and staff alike. The presence of a therapy dog has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm, enhancing the overall therapeutic experience, and Eli (pronounced El-ee) will be sure to deliver.


Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy in San Luis Obispo is more than just a clinic; it's a sanctuary for healing. With the expertise of Dr. Ray Rivas and Cindy Nelson, LMFT, the diligent care of Clinic Manager Libby, and the comforting presence of their golden retriever, patients receive a comprehensive and compassionate approach to mental health and pain management. Whether you're struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, or simply looking for a place where you feel understood and supported, Innerbloom is here to help you grow.

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