My name is Jennifer Giuglianotti, and I am a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) based in Upstate New York. My specialty in integrating multiple creative and expressive arts modalities with a focus on Dance/Movement Therapy and somatic therapies.
Over the past decade, I’ve operated a private practice that has grown into a group practice of other Creative Arts Therapists and KAP providers. I work with children and adults, both in-person and virtually. My areas of expertise include treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, complex trauma, and other mood disorders.
Why did you join Journey Clinical?
I’ve always been interested in psychedelics both from a clinical and personal perspective. With my own mental health journey, psychedelic substances were mind-opening for me in a way that made me feel connected and balanced and clear in a way that I didn’t typically feel. This personal experience spurred my interest in tracking the progress of psychedelic research over the past two decades, witnessing the resurgence of studies involving psychedelic and natural medicines in clinical trials.
When I realized that psychedelic-therapy was available through Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, I decided to join Journey Clinical. I took the Fluence training that Journey Clinical offers and being a part of a community with psychiatrists and nurse practitioners and other therapists and accessing the meetings that Journey Clinical offers made me feel supported enough to get started.
How have you built KAP into your private practice?
What strikes me as uniquely similar between Creative Arts Therapy and Psychedelic Therapy is their potential to expand the mind and connect to the body. In Creative Arts Therapy, we venture into nonverbal realms, similar to the way psychedelics open doors to exploration and nonverbal communication with the self, the universe, and hidden layers of the unconscious mind. In both approaches, we delve into metaphor, imagery, and the transformation of the body’s interactions with the brain. We support different movements and behaviors, making it natural to integrate breathwork, nervous system regulation techniques, and ritual from creative arts therapy into the preparation and experience of psychedelic therapy.
Becoming a KAP provider led me to transform a humble garden shed on my property in Upstate New York into a sacred, safe space for therapy. It’s a cozy nook equipped with a daybed, blankets, a heater, candles, art materials, and soothing sensory elements. Located by a river in the woods, it complements the therapeutic experience, aligning with the natural elements often encountered during psychedelic journeys.
My role as a KAP facilitator extends beyond therapy; I also take on a caretaking role, offering comfort, essential oils, blankets, and nourishment. This adds an element of trust and safety, which can be especially beneficial for clients who struggle with intimacy or trust issues. It creates a sense of being cared for that isn’t always present in traditional therapy sessions.
KAP Client Outcomes
Each client I work with presents unique challenges, with diagnoses ranging from treatment-resistant clinical depression to complex trauma to acute anxiety. Despite their differences, there are common threads in their experiences. Clients often report a profound sense of knowing and self-acceptance, a connection with nature, and a feeling of soaring during the medicine journey, coupled with grounding and calm.
Many of my clients experience this deep connection with a knowing, not an intellectual understanding; it’s a profound realization to feel whole. During the experience, or even after, clients often voice a sense of knowing, an inner affirmation: “I know I’m loved, I know I’m lovable,” breaking free from those negative, broken beliefs that plagued them before.
Another remarkable similarity between my clients’ experiences is the connection with nature. Many clients describe vivid visual, auditory, or felt experiences of rising above and flying through the journey of the medicine. It’s as if they’re soaring beyond the confines of their previous limitations. Yet, simultaneously, there’s a grounding sense and a feeling of safety and calm.
These commonalities provide immense relief for individuals who had previously struggled to attain such states of mind or emotions. It’s truly an opening, a gateway to a new understanding of self and the world around them.
While some old beliefs and limiting thoughts may resurface after KAP, the key difference is an increased awareness and a willingness to make changes that previously seemed impossible. This shift can range from subtle but significant shifts in identity to major life changes.
Personally, I wanted to experience the medicine firsthand before recommending it to clients. This kinesthetic learning approach allowed me to better understand and empathize with their experiences. It also helps me provide reassurance and guidance, as I can relate to the peculiar or unique sensations that may accompany the medicine.
My personal experience with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy in a group setting was transformative, enabling me to confront challenges I had long avoided. This positive experience reaffirmed my commitment to exploring and offering this therapeutic approach when needed.
How has Journey Clinical supported your KAP journey?
Journey Clinical has played a pivotal role in my journey, providing clinical supervision, Fluence training, and a supportive community. To make this therapy more accessible, I am now offering group sessions and retreats, both virtually and in-person. I believe in the power of community, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.
What advice would you offer other psychotherapists interested in becoming KAP providers?
I understand that there’s still fear and stigma surrounding psychedelics, but I encourage you to reach out, ask questions, and challenge those preconceptions. The way psychedelics are used today is vastly different from the past, and they hold immense therapeutic potential when guided by trained professionals. If you have access to a therapist offering this treatment, consider giving it a try.