Member Feature March 2, 2024

Meet Julia Pinsky

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My name is Julia Pinsky. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist living in Santa Cruz, California. I work with adults. I specialize in trauma, depression, anxiety, and relational difficulties.

Why did you decide to become a KAP Practitioner with Journey Clinical?

I think of myself as a relational therapist. I’m depth oriented. For me, if something is helpful and beneficial to healing and growth, then I’m all for it. And it’s very clear from the research that psychedelic assisted therapy is helpful, and is a partner to good, robust therapy.

I came to work with Journey clinical after following MAPS and being interested in psychedelics from looking at the research and seeing that it was promising and I thought that I was going to have to wait for MDMA and Psilocybin to become legal and approved by the FDA. I knew that there were Ketamine clinics, but that modality wasn’t interesting to me because I really wanted to really work with a medicine that could be easily incorporated into the therapy with my existing clients. Through Journey Clinical, I can use ketamine as a tool for the folks that I work with. I work with my clients in a medium to long-term capacity, so I see KAP as an option similar to EMDR. As an EMDR therapist, I’ll often do three or four sessions of EMDR with my clients, then do integration, and then dip back into EMDR. KAP has a similar rhythm with the folks that I work with.

What outcomes have your clients experienced from Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

In terms of facilitating KAP for my clients, I only refer my existing clients to Journey Clinical. My KAP clients have seen robust change in their lives, and KAP has been a helpful partner in our therapy. There’s a deepening that happens and a shift in perspective for the client that gives them a wider view of themselves and the world and what’s possible. According to research into the Science of KAP, this is due to the lowering of the default mode network. The way that we see ourselves and see the world shifts. One of my clients who was facing debilitating anxiety and obsessive thoughts, experienced relief from her symptoms after just a few sessions, but then some depression set in, so we worked on that too and that’s been, for the most part, lifted as well. Another client was able to touch some core meaning-making that has really helped in the treatment of his PTSD.

How did you gain the confidence to deliver psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy?

For psychotherapists who might be curious about KAP, it’s important to feel confident in the efficacy of the treatment. I’d encourage everyone to read the most recent research to get more familiar with what KAP is and what KAP isn’t. One of the things that’s amazing about Journey Clinical is that they provide therapists with access to prescribers who spend an hour assessing each patient. The patients are not only well-assessed but also prepared by the medical team. 

On the clinician side, Journey Clinical members receive training from Fluence, educational resources and webinars to prepare them to feel ready to incorporate ketamine into their practice. I feel confident as a KAP practitioner, because Journey is doing such a great job with the information and training. There’s a weekly medical meeting and a protocol workshop, so if there are any questions, you get them answered. There’s also a sense of community that helps you feel like you’re not alone doing this work. Journey Clinical also facilitated a personal experience with Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy through a peer led group KAP with Lauren Taus. I was not only able to take what I experienced in that session into my own therapy and integrate it, but the experiential knowledge helped me be a more confident KAP provider for my clients.  

What are your feelings about the future of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy?

I’m excited that the mental health industry has a new set of tools to use that we aren’t constricted to just talk therapy in conjunction with SSRIs or other psychopharmacological interventions. In the medical context this is a new way to work with the psyche and to work with healing. We need to remember, however, to give respect and credit to everyone who came before us such as native healers, psychedelic assisted therapists, and other people who have used psychoactive substances for therapeutic purposes for a long time. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is becoming more accepted in our culture thanks to their work.