In this segment of Affected Lives, we interview Veronika Kavenská, a Jungian therapist who works at Takiwasi, a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, located in Peru.
The series “Affected Lives” aims to bring awareness towards those whose lives have been dramatically changed by using ayahuasca within therapeutic contexts.
Despite the fact that thousands of people travel to Peru every year in order to participate in healing ceremonies with ayahuasca, this mysterious brew is only starting to gain attention from therapists for its healing potential. Veronika Kavenská is one such therapist who embraces ayahuasca for its healing potential. She is a Jungian therapist who works as a psychologist at Takiwasi. She is a researcher in the field of traditional medicine in Peru and its possible applications in psychotherapy and has written a book as well as several articles on the subject.
Tell us about what brought you to start working therapeutically with Ayahuasca
“Before Takiwasi, I never really considered using ayahuasca. I treated it is as simply another drug, and I was not interested in these. I was a student of the last year of psychology back then, and after having heard of the work being done here [in Peru], I came to see it as part of my practice. I finally decided to experience the brew myself. It was a breakthrough and I quickly saw its enormous potential as a tool to understand oneself in a deeper way, to know oneself, one’s history and ancestors, and from this knowledge to heal, to change things that block our progress in life. So I decided to dedicate my Ph.D. work in clinical psychology to this subject, and at the same, to practice here as a therapist.
Can you talk more about your relationship with ayahuasca?
I see this plant as a source of knowledge – both about myself, my personal issues, as well as for my professional life, and for work with others as a psychotherapist. It also performs well as a supervisor in my relations with patients: it shows me things [about the healing process]that I wouldn’t be able to notice otherwise.
How do you believe that ayahuasca can support the healing process?
It is not a magical pill that changes life itself, but thanks to the messages received, one can have enough information to make these changes himself. I have been working with ayahuasca for 10 years now and I feel like I am going deeper and deeper in my connection and understanding, so I have no doubts about its value. I am above all amazed how this plant works simultaneously on three levels, physical, spiritual, psychological. It is one of main reasons why the treatment here is so effective – because spiritual dimension is taken into account, unlike most of therapies in the West, where it is completely ignored. This may also be a problem in its wider introduction there, because it requires more than just knowledge of dosis and psychology, rigorous training of years is needed, also to operate on this forgotten, spiritual level.
To find out more about Takiwasi, and the center’s work, visit there website.
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This article previously appeared in The Swiatoslaw Blog