Documentary explores alternate therapies for PTSD, addiction

BRATTLEBORO — The documentary, From Shock to Awe (2018), will be screened at Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St., on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

According to a news release, “From Shock to Awe asks, 'how do we heal our deepest wounds?'” The film follows Matt Kahl and Mike Cooley, two combat veterans struggling to live with PTSD as they turn away from pharmaceutical dependency to seek alternative healing methods.

Their search for peace leads them to ayahuasca, a psychedelic plant medicine traditional to the Amazon region.

This intimate documentary explores the interrelation of personal, familial, and societal pain; just as these men's anger and fear affects everyone around them, their healing process likewise moves through their families and communities.

In witnessing their stories, the viewer is invited to explore the possibilities that open when one acknowledges how deeply individual and collective pain are braided.

By accompanying Kahl and Cooley in their personal transformations, From Shock to Awe addresses larger-scale cultural questions about war, the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. legal system.

In recent years the scientific community has grown more interested in investigating the therapeutic possibilities of psychedelic substances. The findings of recent studies suggest that the beneficial potential of psychedelics for treating PTSD and addiction are enormous.

The documentary depicts the ayahuasca ceremonies Kahl and Cooley participate in and the unfolding effect it has on them and their families as they regain strength and look to the future.

This is ripe content for contemplation and debate as Brattleboro, New England, and the nation at large grapple with endemic opioid and pharmaceutical addiction and how we collectively and individually address psychological pain.

Further information on this screening and other programming at Epsilon Spires can be found at

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