Clinical Psychologist Dr. Steve Thayer, PhD., Talks Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy
Dr. Steve Thayer, PhD., is a clinical psychologist who provides ketamine-assisted psychotherapy with Cedar Psychiatry. Cedar Psychiatry offers a holistic approach that uses a bio-psycho-social model to find and target all aspects of mental health conditions and to offer personalized treatment plans that best fit your needs. Aside from ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, this multisite clinic also offers medication management and TMS. Last summer, Cedar Psychiatry entered a formal partnership with Novamind, a Canadian company committed to the development and growth of psychedelic medicine. Frshminds was able to grab a few moments with Dr. Steve Thayer to learn more about his work with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and Novamind.
What got you interested in providing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to your patients?
I’m always looking for new ways to help my clients. Although modern psychotherapy and psychopharmacology helps many people, it is insufficient for many others. When I learned that ketamine could enhance and accelerate the psychotherapy experience, I just had to get involved.
Can you tell us more about your partnership with Novamind and clinical research?
I started my partnership with Novamind as a psychologist providing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and assisting with clinical trials research. I recently took on the role of Clinical Director of Psychotherapy, Education, & Training. In this new role, I’m helping Novamind develop education platforms to meet the demand for clinician training in psychedelic medicine. I’m also assisting with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy protocol development and clinical research.
How do you see psychedelic therapy evolving in the future?
I think psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is the next frontier of mental healthcare. We are preparing to offer cutting-edge therapies for historically treatment-resistant conditions like PTSD, depression, OCD, eating disorders, anxiety, and many more. Once psychedelic medicines are FDA approved and thorough research is complete, people who suffer with mental illness will have access to the first real psychiatric breakthrough since the invention of the antidepressant.
What’s the one piece of advice you would offer to patients considering psychedelic integration to help them manage their mental health?
While we are excited about what psychedelics can do for people, they are not a panacea. They might clear the path, but you will still have to walk it. Approach your wellness journey with intention and a willingness to do the hard work of self-healing.
In your opinion, what makes psychedelic and ketamine-based treatment options so effective for mental health?
It’s one thing to be told you are worthy of love, but it’s quite another to truly experience it. Psychedelics, ketamine included, tend to relax rigid thinking patterns and occasion transformative experiences. They make the mind more plastic and moldable, making them the perfect complement to psychotherapy.
What challenges do you see for further integration of psychedelic-based therapies into more mainstream health care?
Even though we are in a psychedelic renaissance, misinformation and stigma are still a problem. We need more advocacy, rigorous research programs, and wise voices to usher these treatments into the mainstream.