Juanita J. Viera
Art Therapist, LCAT
Journey Clinical Member and KAP Provider
State: New York
Where are you based?
I’m based in the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY in a group private practice called The Art Therapy Place. We have specialists offering visual arts, drama, dance/movement and music therapy services, and community workshops and exhibitions.
How long have you been practicing KAP?
I’ve been practicing KAP since 2020. I received training at two of the top NYC ketamine therapy startups. At Field Trip Health, I trained in preparation and guiding of IM sessions and launched an aftercare integration therapy program to complement the maintenance dosing program. At Mindbloom, I trained in a remote Ketamine protocol using lozenges and facilitated virtual group integration circles.
What orientations or areas of expertise have you found synergistic with KAP?
As a trauma-informed licensed creative arts therapist, I’ve found KAP and art making to be a powerful tool for my own psychospiritual development and liberation, as well as for my clients. Art therapy feels like a natural fit for the processing of the visceral experience of KAP.
Creative arts therapy helps make tangible the ineffable experiences of psychedelic medicine journeys. The creative arts combined with trauma-informed practices can set up an intentional, empowering container to safely access traumatic, stuck material that can be transformed during the medicine session. For integration practices, art can be used to capture and explore ways to sustain this transcendence to get beyond the narratives and habits that create suffering.
People are able to gain insight, problem-solve, and communicate through the language of art in ways that verbal therapies do not utilize. Art is far-reaching in its multi-cultural benefits, because art is a universal language that can be spoken by any population. The presence of a trained art therapist can add guidance to the exploration and meaning making of the art content.
How do you hope to evolve or grow your PAP practice over the next few years?
In the near future, I hope to collaborate with the other modalities of music, dance, drama and poetry to expand integration offerings for clients. I think there is potential for more personalized, engaging care for PAP clients by encouraging creation of their own playlists and mantra with music, or dance/narrative rituals for preparation, celebration and sustainable coping tools. I envision a group art show and performance as a wonderful project for clients to heal in community and offer empowerment through public education.
What is a PAP topic that feels important to you at this moment and why?
I’ve heard a lot of folks express interest in psychedelic-assisted therapies being made accessible for personal and creativity development, not just for mental health treatment. I’m very interested in the work of Zendo, DanceSafe and the cannabis and psychedelic activism communities which advocate for less substance misuse and harm reduction in the arts and dance communities. I also follow conversations about psychedelic capitalism and ways to balance profit with social justice efforts, ethics and honoring indigenous roots.
Juanita J. Viera is an LCAT (Licensed Creative Arts Therapist) with a Masters in Creative Arts Therapy from Nazareth College and a B.A. and B.S. in Psychology and Studio Arts from the University of Rochester. She studied at the “fame school” LaGuardia Arts where she received her specialized high school degree in Visual Arts. She has studied in the spiritual traditions of Christianity and Eastern philosophies. You can connect with her via her Psychology Today profile or website.