My internship experience at OVID Clinics – Óscar Soto Angona
Óscar, could you shortly introduce yourself?
My name is Óscar Soto Angona, and I am a medical doctor, finishing my training as a Psychiatry specialist in Vall d’HebronUniversity Hospital (Barcelona, Spain). I see myself as a curious person and, since my days as a medical student, I have alwaysbeen interested in mental disorders and their neurobiological correlates. For me, altered states of consciousness represent a bridge that can improve our knowledge on the link between subjective suffering and underlying mechanisms, and I’m fascinated by the possibility that such states can be induced with substances with a therapeutical purpose. It means a whole new approach, focusing on the person’s experience, and fostering a meaningful relationship with the therapist that might result in life-changing perspectives and insights.
Why did you choose the OVID Clinic for your internship?
With this in mind, I chose to work with OVID, aiming to learn more about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) and be involved in an endeavor that I believe might build a revolution in psychiatry. It has been an enriching experience, as I have gotten the opportunity to collaborate on research to test the efficacy of their therapy and to learn about the intricate process and evolution that patients undergo during the process, getting a glimpse into the transformational potential of this treatment. The OVID Clinic is constituted by a team of professionals that pay attention to every minimal detail to ensure that set and setting are properly managed. This has a huge impact on the outcome; controlling the circumstances and mental states in which an altered state of conscience occurs is paramount to shape the experience. I have learned how to properly support the patient so that the ketamine experience is as safe as possible, and I am going to implement some of these lessons into my practice when I go back to Spain. Working in such an environment has changed a lot of assumptions and practices that I held as a Psychiatrist, and has been transformational for me as well in its own way.
What was most important during your internship?
My most memorable moments from these wonderful three months rest in the daily rounds, where we would talk about the different patients, and try to figure out how to help them and integrate their experience within their lives. Getting insights from all the experienced therapists has been eye-opening and a wonderful clinical lesson by itself. Also, building a research project with the team has enabled me to delve into the theoretical background of psychedelic-assisted therapy, pose myself questions regarding its mechanisms of action, and foster my curiosity towards these substances. Finally, OVID and MIND work side-by-side, making this the perfect environment for networking, in which I have gotten to know many different like-minded professionals, all working together to improve access and quality of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Finally, I would like to encourage anyone who is thinking about trying this kind of therapy to help with his/her mental health problems. It might be challenging sometimes, and it will make you face your inner conflicts, but only through confronting our suffering, we can begin a healing process.
About internships at the OVID Clinic
The OVID Clinic supports the education of medical doctors and psychological therapists and continuously accepts interns. If you are interested in interning with our clinic, please send your application to email@example.com.