In this episode, Jonathan talks with Ryan, Lisa, Sean, and Gabrielle LeCompte. Ryan is the founder of Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy (VET), and a graduate student at Naropa University, studying Transpersonal Psychology and recently brought his family along with him as he accompanied a group of veterans to a healing experience with Ayahuasca in Florida.
Ryan is a former United States Marine who served on active-duty from 2007-2011. While still on active duty, he served with his fellow combat Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, yet observed that they risked being labeled “failure to adapt” and/or discharged if they talked about their problems. The heart-ache became more personal when he found one of his brothers, a fellow infantryman Sgt. Jorge Leon-Alcivar in his barracks room the morning after he took his own life. Sgt. Leon had just returned from deployment and was clearly struggling with PTSD. Shortly thereafter, Ryan decided to retire from the military in order to help his brothers and sisters from outside the confines of military structure. He began by volunteering hours in the waiting rooms of VA clinics talking to and assisting vets awaiting treatment. He started collecting data for his undergraduate on the prescription medications being given to veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and found the same kind of cocktails being prescribed to almost every one of them. (Anti-depression, sedating anxiolitics, and heavy barbiturates for sleeping.
Shortly thereafter, he began his search for alternative treatment options not being used by the VA. Recently, Ryan has organized a trip to the jungles of Peru with a group of vets suffering from PTSD to experience an ayahuasca ceremony and plans future excursions for healing.
In this conversation, the LeCompte family talks about their collective healing experience, how their Cajun roots created space for forgiveness and reconnection through food, and how Lisa’s gumbo is so good that it even makes vegans give up their vows! Ryan also talks about how childhood trauma makes some vets more susceptible to PTSD, and what’s next for VET.
Congratulations to previous guest, Natalie Grigson, who hit her Kickstarter goal with 4 days to spare! There’s still a couple days to become a supporter of her incredible book, Just Call Me IS: An Introduction to Mindfulness, and get one of the first copies for yourself.
TOPICS AND WEBSITES DISCUSSED IN THIS PODCAST:
- Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy (VET)
- PTSD and Childhood Trauma
- Ayahuasca as a potential treatment for PTSD
- Dr James Duke
- Trauma and DNA
- The Guardian: “Study of Holocaust Survivors Finds Trauma Passed On”
- PBS Newshour: “Can Trauma be Passed to the Next Generation?”
- Cajun Culture