Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Speaking about coping, I was curious about how you personally would cope as a counselor.
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about the different ways he tried to stay mentally and physically healthy while counselling veterans. He talks about the impact his work had on his family life.
Partial Transcript: Kamps: So it was wearing on me. It was changing my perspective and that plus the other reasons
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about taking up a new position with Oneida Nation as the first full-time counselor and working with non-veterans and veterans. He talks about different models for treating trauma and getting a Veterans Service Office on the Oneida reservation.
Partial Transcript: Kamps: I took some of the non-native veterans that I knew from my work in Green Bay
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about taking some of his non-Native American veteran clients to a pow-wow and the impact of that experience on them. He talks about the influence of Oneida culture on his own work.
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: As an outsider what do you think that you brought to their behavioral health or mental health?
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about his participation in the Oneida community and the differences between Native American and non-Native veterans. He talks about a documentary film about veterans taking part in Native American ceremonies to cleanse them.
Partial Transcript: Kamps: Some of the non-Native veterans who had a relationship with God before going into the service,
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about bringing in more ideas about religion and spirituality into his counseling, influenced by his work in Oneida. He talks about a veterans event at St. Norbert Abbey and the challenges or veterans of reconnecting with their faith.
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Does that happen a lot with veterans when you hit a wall that you can't break through
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about the limits of his ability to help veterans and what can prevent them from working through their experiences. He talks about witnessing veterans improve over decades of work with them.
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: When you're trying to think of an example of artwork that gets done in the sessions
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about artwork done by veterans that he has found powerful including a piece in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum's WAR : RAW Healing Military Trauma Through Expressive Art exhibit by Tom Daly.
Link to Oral History Interview with Tom Daly can be found in the "Interview conclusion" segment below.
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: I did want to talk a little bit about bridging the gap between civilians and veterans.
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about what he hopes civilians who visit the War:Raw exhibit will understand about the veteran experience. He talks about the lasting impact that being involved in conflict has on veterans.
Partial Transcript: Kamps: Just one example of a veteran
Segment Synopsis: Kamps talks about a World War II veteran he worked with at Oneida and the lasting impression the man's experience in conflict had on him. He talks about what he does when someone tells a story for the first time. The interview is concluded.
Link to Oral History Interview with Tom Daly can be found below.
[Session 2, File 1]
BROOKS: Today is Thursday, July 2, 2015. This is an interview with George Kampswho served with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and now volunteers with the Return and Recovery Program for military veterans. The interview is being conducted at the Madison Public Library. The interviewer is Ellen Brooks and the interview is being recorded for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program. This is our second session. In our first interview we talked a lot about your military service and your career and we started talking about counseling and the Artists for the Humanities expressive art program so I kinda wanted to focus on counseling veterans and expressive art today. The first thing I wanted to touch on--still talking about you specifically--was about your motivations for the work that you do. You talked a lot about the different jobs you had but I don't think we ever talked about why social work--why that was a 00:01:00draw for you.
KAMPS: Oh, okay. It's a pleasure to be here again with you Ellen. Thinking aboutsocial work, it became more clear to me when I was an undergraduate student at UWGB in 1970--'69, '70. I initially had pursued a first year and a half, two years of a program or a degree in engineering, area of engineering. The coursework was heavily into math, mechanical drawing, physics and I'd been a good student in high school but I was finding these courses were not--I wasn't doing well. [laughs] I took calculus twice. Anyway, I started to reconsider and by the end of the second year I realized I'm not an engineer and I wasn't 00:02:00interested in business. At that point, I guess I felt that business was kind of very competitive and you had to do these kind of things to climb the ladder, that didn't appeal to me. I started to take courses in sociology.
At UWGB at that time there weren't too many degrees available. It was a newcampus, just expanding from a two-year school, so there weren't many different degrees. I focused on sociology courses, a psychology course, trying to get into understanding people more--got a core group of courses but then wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I dropped out of school after two years and worked full-time until I got drafted. I had a chance then to then go into service for a couple of 00:03:00years active duty, come back to UWGB in 1972 and finish up my degree in what was called regional analysis. It wasn't very easy to explain to an employer and it didn't really hone my skills, it was more generalist but I knew I wanted to work with people, I really had enjoyed the courses and it just kinda stirred my appetite even more.
After not getting employment with a bachelor's degree in regional analysis, as asocial worker--which was where I had been applying for some of the county social services programs around Wisconsin--I went back to school in the fall and enrolled at UWM to get a degree in social work, masters in social work. Had the benefit of still the G.I. Bill to help, I was married at the time, had just gotten married two years earlier. We had a child by the fall of '73. My wife had 00:04:00graduated as a nurse in '70 so she was able to work in Milwaukee, I was able to go to school and work part time. Got my graduate degree in sixteen months by December of '74--I had an MSW [Master of Social Work]. During that course of study I had been given--assigned some different internships. During that sixteen months I worked as a youth counselor in a halfway house for juveniles who were having difficulty with the juvenile court system and worked with those youth in that day treatment program for about five months. Then I got an assignment to work at Jewish Vocational Services downtown in Milwaukee and worked with some disadvantaged youth, minority youth. It was a vocational setting where, from 00:05:00maybe twelve years old up to adult were being educated, trained in jobs, trained in behavioral improvement and then my third placement was at Ozaukee County Mental Health Clinic where I had a good supervisor and I was able to be assigned clients. Began to work with individuals, couples, families and learn some play therapy with children from my supervisor who was skilled at that and they had a good play therapy room at Ozaukee County. I got some good experience and some direction with children in therapy.
Came back to Green Bay, got a job with Brown County Social Services andinitially did some investigating of child abuse--not so much child abuse, child 00:06:00neglect was a new program, they were focusing on neglect complaints or referrals which was a less critical area as far as the types of reports that came in compared to the child abuse reports but I got to go out in the community, begin to work with oftentimes young, single parents struggling economically and perhaps educationally. Worked with them for about twenty months and then got a position as a marriage and family therapist in Green Bay at family service association which was the type of job I sought. Began to work there in a outpatient mental health clinic, non-profit. Working with a number of other therapists, most of whom are more experienced than me and again, a good 00:07:00supervisor, his name was Elmer____[??] and he was experienced, probably fifteen years older than I.
During those years I worked at family services for a total of thirteen years butI got some good experience, good training and began to learn a lot more about the gaps in communication between couples, husbands and wives, between parents and their children. Began to learn a lot more about what kind of emotions or unspoken things were driving the communication in a family system. Learn more about the theory of family systems and the interrelationships of all members of a given family within that home and began to learn more about how to educate, how to illustrate to families what were the dynamics that were going on. Helping 00:08:00them with skills to communicate, learning more about "How do I feel?" in terms of "How am I talking or how am I acting toward my family?" Helping them to look more into what are the emotional reactions to one another in so far as how that would either drive them to communicate certain way or withdraw and not communicate verbally but communicate non-verbally sometimes in very provocative ways that would cause more emotional distance, more silence, more emotional tension in families. Just appreciate it more and more, those dynamics that are working behind the scenes for a family.
Bringing families into our agency, couples into our agency and helping them tobegin to see the effects when they're unable to communicate to one another what 00:09:00they need to say, oftentimes we'd meet individually with husbands or wives or children and there would be just a tremendous amount of unspoken stuff that they would take about, that they weren't saying or couldn't say to the important people in their lives. As a therapists, as a social worker I was trusted with this information, it gave me much more insight into other feelings of that child or adult that--and needs, their needs to be understood, needs to be respected, needs to be able to negotiate with one another, that they were not able to present, didn't know how to present, didn't realize that they were giving the wrong message compared to what they felt or needed. All of that education from families really helped me to realize there's a lot going on in relationships 00:10:00that don't get spoken or that people aren't able to present clearly. Therefore, both sides are frustrated, if we don't feel listened to, we don't feel our message is important, that's frustrating. If we don't know what to listen for or don't know what the other person's saying, we don't know how to respond so that's very frustrating. That goes for couples as well as parents and kids, you know.
Those are some of the preparation for what was unseen in couples and families.In that agency family services we then got a, I spoke about it earlier in the interview, how our crisis center began to work with veterans who are calling in twenty-four hour crisis line and so based on that introduction I was asked in 00:11:001984 or so to get involved and work with some of those veterans that were coming in and began to identify more myself as a veteran again having been silent about that for a decade based on the atmosphere in our country and the shame associated with having served in the military during the Vietnam years. But shame I learned was not just exclusively for the veteran. As I began to work with these veterans and get to know their families, there was shame associated with those who didn't serve in Vietnam. There was shame associated with the silent majority who didn't protest but also who didn't speak up in support of their veterans when they came home--just a lot of underlying emotional tanglement that was laying there across the nation really in most of the cities 00:12:00and communities where veterans lived with their families.
In working with the veterans I began to hear their stories, I began to hearabout what had been pressing on them after getting home. What kept them from interacting more normally with their families, kept them more at a distance emotionally or physically, kept them from sharing what was on their mind, related to their experiences in Vietnam and frustrated the children and spouses of these veterans who found that they couldn't get their veteran to engage with them in family events, in communications, in telling them "What's on your mind? Why are you acting this way? What makes you so tense? What makes you so jumpy? 00:13:00Why are you so restless at night in bed? Why are you up and walking around or driving around at night when you can't sleep?" Those were a lot of the questions that the family members were carrying and unable to ask about it, didn't know how to get answers to but were living with that kind of behavior, that off-limits can't get to that spouse or father figure because there was just a don't go there kind of a sign presented in many ways.
Knowing what was going on in the background of a family from my training and myexperiences with families, then encountering these veterans who were the first ones to start coming into a group and starting to sit down with other veterans and starting to realize there was so much that had accumulated inside of them for the last fifteen years after Vietnam that hadn't been spoken about and 00:14:00seeing how important it was for them to hear from the other veterans around that table. We started off every meeting with just, "Introduce yourself, what branch of service were you in, what years did you serve in Vietnam, if you want to say anything more about what your job was or what your training was, your duties in Vietnam, that would help orientate the rest of the people around the table." Those kinds of openings really led to lots more and more sharing as trust began to develop within that group, amongst those veterans. I would, as a therapist then I was thinking about and working on topics that would open up more discussion, topics that would get at the effects of unfinished emotional business. Topics that would allow them to talk about why there was this gap with 00:15:00their family that they couldn't share stuff or couldn't try to explain what was unexplainable to a non-veteran. They start to talk more about the other people in their lives, and the gap that persisted between how much they felt and how much they thought and how little they could share with anybody else except now maybe other veterans. That rap group concept really took off across the country.
BROOKS: What type of topics would you bring to the groups?
KAMPS: Some of the topics had to do with their training that prepared them forVietnam and what they remembered about boot camp, advanced training to prepare them to go into that combat environment. Everyone can relate to boot camp and the loss of identity and the instilling by drill sergeants and others with ideas 00:16:00about how to keep you alive and prepare you for that. There was lots of discussions about what they had in common that way but also realizing how that preparation had set them up or prepared them for immersion into a combat area to do their job. But also that preparation in basic was part of what they were not able to shed when they came back home and tried to fit in. There were teachings that were at work inside of them which made it really difficult for them to respond to their family as the family was wanting them to respond. Being accused of being insensitive or cold or unfeeling or don't care, getting those kind of replies from family made it hard on them because their heart's still beating, 00:17:00their head's still thinking, their emotions are still being provoked day and night by stuff they couldn't stop thinking about. They were caught in a catch twenty-two. "I feel but I can't tell you, therefore it looks like I don't feel so therefore I'm not adequate to you or I'm unfeeling." It was a dilemma in many ways so getting them to talk about those hard topics and not fitting in. "Why I don't fit in. Why I can't think the way you want me to think. Why I do react the way I do intensely to things the family doesn't get. Why do I have times during the year where I'm so tense and so agitated I just don't know--I'd like to run away, get away from everybody and just go up in the quiet of the woods?" They 00:18:00were comparing a lot of these things.
That, as a therapist was really important to help them to realize thesimilarities they were reporting as human beings because it began to confirm what--you try to impress them based on training, based on the understanding of survival in a person, that certain events trigger responses in you that are meant to keep you alive so as therapist it was good to be able to hear everyone reinforcing that: "There's a lot of normal responses going on with you guys that are based on abnormal events that you can't forget. What you're going through, you're not crazy--it's not as if you're off your rocker and you need to be 00:19:00locked up. One of the reasons you drink so much or why you find other unhealthy ways to distract yourself from the thoughts is because these thoughts are continuing because there's unfinished business. These thoughts keep coming up, your memories keep revealing important stuff and this is normal. This is normal human response to abnormal events." It started to give them some assurance that they're not nuts, that they're behaving like people--human beings--and the more of that that they could get, the light bulbs would go off when they hear one another, could chime in with one another on different thoughts and events, feelings, the more the humor came out. The more they would allow for some other kinds of feelings to surface that they either didn't feel before with family or 00:20:00with non-veterans or they didn't feel understood so they didn't feel relaxed and so humor was like rare.
Plus I found out a lot of these guys regardless of what their job was,regardless of how hard they had it, or what kind of amount of action they saw or didn't see, they all had a pecking order in their head about, "Well they had it tougher than me. The Marines had it tougher than me. Those up in the I Corps by the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone] had more combat than I did." All those kind of comparisons. They had survivor guilt. It's like they didn't feel like they belonged back here, they shouldn't have made it back. In some cases because those that died or they lost, they were the ones that they felt bad for and so 00:21:00there wasn't an explanation as to "Why am I here? I shouldn't be back here." Therefore, I found out a lot of them would think "I'm not worthy of having a good time. If I had a good time, I feel guilty because I'm betraying those who didn't make it back who are never going to have a good time. It's like I can't allow that, I can't enjoy, can't have happiness, I can't let humor show. I can't be pleased, I can't have fun." That became more and more common when we'd start talking about emotions--the array of emotions we are capable of but many are just off limits. They're not something that they can allow or experience.
I think that the pecking order and the "You had it harder than me so therefore Idon't deserve this or that."--that started coming out in the discussions with 00:22:00them and a therapist making an effort to describe a common denominator for everyone to relate to as if we are all human beings who have walked through this place and experienced these events and showing and telling the effects that we now can explain better makes us all part of the same class or the same group of--needing education on this or the same pure group of similar ages who are on this journey and we've been using, I now say, "Bad math. Two plus two equals five. That's how you've been coming to the same conclusion about yourself over and over again. You see this event and this response and you add it up and you come up with two plus two equals five. It's not accurate but you've come to 00:23:00accept that as what's real to you and what's true about you." We began to chip away at that kind of thinking.
As a therapist--putting other skills on the blackboard as far as becoming betterable to identify your feelings, becoming better able to express them in a way that makes sense to somebody. Communication skills--the negative talk that goes on in a person's head versus the ability to learn positive talk. To start regarding yourself a little more kindly and talking about that and how hard that was amongst the guys in that group. You know, trying to challenge some of those beliefs that had settled in for ten or fifteen years after Vietnam to cope with life. To identify the substance abuse that was used to forget or to shut down 00:24:00the mind for a few hours so it wasn't continuing to harass with recollections. Substance abuse was--it was amazing when I look back at how many veterans who might have been drinking really heavily for a long time were not necessarily matching the definition of alcoholic because once they got more information about why they were drinking, once they began to see what they're using alcohol for--to shut down their mind or pass out at night and stop thinking for a while--and realizing it was self-medicating. If they decided that no longer was that healthy for them and it really wasn't doing much good, if they decided to stop, oftentimes they could just stop. Not the true definition of an alcoholic 00:25:00who's got to go through inpatient treatment or has got to go through repeated treatments to get a grasp on how to not drink or how to stop that urge. A number of these men did stop drinking and were able to maintain sobriety, not easily, but it just wasn't so much a threat or a risk as it was for other people I'd met who just really had a hard time quitting and staying off the alcohol.
Those were some of the things we worked on, negative habits we've come to use,to cope, seeing how it interfered with the things you want, with your spouse, what you want to accomplish with your children. I think that as families they started to report more clashes with teenage children particularly sons because 00:26:00as their children began to approach the age of their draft, when their dads went into the military--seventeen or eighteen years old--that was a particularly stressful time for the parent. Oftentimes they didn't want their sons to go in the military or they did want them to follow that sometimes but they didn't want them to go into a combat role. Or they tried to prepare them for going into a combat role with everything they saw and learned so that they're better prepared and so they lean on them really hard and place demands on them. And the sons sometimes would rebel as teenage sons will--sometimes they would reject that and 00:27:00feel like they're being harassed by their dads.
As their children became teenagers it seemed to just raise the intensity withinthe veteran because it started to reflect or mirror things that were happening in their lives as teenagers before they went to Vietnam and that might have been reflecting things that were causing tensions in their families or causing tension in so far as what their military experience was about or how it affected them negatively. They were more nervous about their children going forward into life. Sometimes they were very overprotective because they didn't want them to go out into the world and deal with the stuff they did. It just started raising more and more issues within the family as their kids became teenagers.
Again, the understanding of family dynamics helped me to normalize. If I would00:28:00say there was one thing I did a lot of was trying to normalize some of the reactions of the veterans, their families, and help them to realize there's reasons for why this stuff is causing tension. There's reasons for why everybody in the family is getting worked up emotionally. There's reasons for why they don't know how to explain or say what they need. Trying to normalize rather than the veterans feeling like they're oddballs, crazy failures, inadequate, something defective, "Something wrong with me", those were--there was a lot of effort to normalize. "Let's get this. When you go through this kind of event, there's a high probability that you're gonna adjust to survive and cope and 00:29:00these are some of the ways that people are adjusting and trying to cope.
Now we got to look at whether these are the only ways or are there somealternative way you can learn to cope that aren't so hard on you or the ones in your life." I think there are so you're constantly putting out other options and saying "Let's give this a try. Let's see if you can communicate by writing. Let's see if you can communicate by taking a walk with your spouse." If you talk about things in group, see if you can talk about a small part of that at home. You broke the ice here, it was helpful, see what portion of that you might be able to share and invite your spouse a little closer. They're starving for that--they're waiting. Some of them hanging in there with you for years and years through a lot of tension, a lot of frustration in their marriages, a lot 00:30:00of guys went through several relationships or didn't stay in relationships. They just couldn't provide and they couldn't tell why so people gave up and went the other way.
Brooks: Speaking about coping, I was curious about how you personally would copeas a counselor and maybe how you coped, and maybe your colleagues. What does the counselor do to unwind after dealing with veterans and hearing these hard stories?
KAMPS: A few things surface I suppose. I learned that what methods I was usingdidn't necessarily make me immune to the negative impact of the things that 00:31:00would come into the office by way of these veterans and their families. It was heavy duty and during those years from '85 to '89 I was fully involved in doing counseling of veterans and I was the only one in the agency at the time, so every veteran got referred to me. At any rate, during those years I'd started jogging with a couple of guys that I was in the office with. We trained for the Bellin run in '78. Six mile run, ten kilometers, and they kept persuading me to remember to bring my shoes and go for a noon run and I'd forget and bring my lunch instead but through their partnering and buddying I got out more and more with them and I enjoyed running. I wasn't fast but it was a good feeling to do two miles and I did continue to jog pretty regularly, weekly, from 1978 until 00:32:00probably 2008 almost. Running was a good alone time, it produced ideas. The runner's high is something that I think is real. That was a good outlet throughout those years for me, physically and mentally to have that time to myself.
The other thing for our family was we'd get out camping regularly from when ourfirst daughter was a toddler, so 1974. My parents worked really hard--my dad never took a vacation, he was in a greenhouse, he raised plants and you had to 00:33:00tend to them winter and summer, seven days a week. Because of my experiences there I was really determined to make sure that we took vacations. We started camping when Rebecca was a year old and we would camp at least two or three times in the summer and get to state parks. The kids found that when I was away from home in the campground, I relaxed more, I was more fun to be around and I enjoyed their experiencing these things too--sitting around the fire, taking hikes, going to the beach.
Those were things that I think helped away from work but I did end up leaving00:34:00family services in 1989 for a few different reasons but one of them certainly was my recognizing that counseling so many veterans was changing me. I'd been a pretty optimistic individual throughout my life and I felt that in doing mental health work people's spirits are strong and if you provide good tools and you encourage them they will become more able to use those tools for their own well-being and the human spirit is capable of overcoming anything. Those kinds of values were pretty strong in me probably in my earlier years as a therapist I was naive and from twenty-five--let's see, graduate '74, so almost twenty-six 00:35:00years old. From twenty-six years old I had a lot to learn in the field. Twenty-six to forty-six, let's say--twenty years of learning and maturing.
During those years working with veterans, hearing people open up and talk abouttheir heaviest thoughts and the difficulties that they survived or things they are guilty for doing, or guilt for not doing, failing to do. Hearing about the tragic lives that they struggled with for the time after Vietnam and broken relationships and just hearing those things from somebody who's telling it for real. Who's telling it sometimes for the first time--needs to tell it. You know, you absorb a lot of that and as much as I felt that I was keeping up a healthy 00:36:00lifestyle, I found that after four or five years of working with veterans, I wasn't as optimistic. I was starting to feel like, "Yeah, life sucks. You guys have a hard time and I don't know, it's just been hard to see progress." Not that I was saying that but sometimes I was feeling that.
It was wearing on me. It was changing my perspective and that plus the otherreasons for why it was time to leave Family Service after thirteen years really pushed me to apply for a position at Oneida--behavioral health. That was a geographic area that I was familiar with. I'd lived out there with my parents when I was a teenager so I knew the Oneida culture a little bit, not a lot at 00:37:00that time. The opportunity to go out there and work for Oneida behavioral health when they were just beginning to expand their services and beginning to grow their treatment staff and I was the first full time counselor they hired. There was a part time counselor before that for about a year and a half, two years. Left family services went for a different opportunity knowing that I couldn't continue to do the vets counseling and landing in such a great opportunity, new agency. Returning home in a sense because I'd lived out there when they had no money and there was a lot of poverty. Now they had progressed over a decade with first bingo and then gaming revenue. They had reinvested in a lot of their 00:38:00important services - housing, education. They were putting their money in the right places and one of them was to expand their substance abuse staff and the mental health staff and to get more psychiatric time, doctors time.
Their health center was growing, they were attracting and building other--atOneida things were growing in a good way and to be invited to work with them, they knew my work with veterans. Oneida people have a high respect for their veterans--they knew that they needed to increase what they were doing as far as outreach to their veterans. They saw me as an asset, or a strength, in that area. It was a good match. Just what I was able to then begin to learn about Oneida culture--ceremony, tradition, history, cultural trauma which became more 00:39:00and more clear to me what that meant. Not just an individual can go through a traumatic event but a people can go through a traumatic event, and it can have profound far reaching effects on all members of that people. Those were lessons that started to reveal and I was hearing it from other elders who came and talked and taught us at Oneida. There were other tribal--other tribes who had people who would come in and teach and help understand the culture and help understand how people and tribes can heal if they know what the natural healing methods are and medicines.
Just a whole different world--different way to look at life than the Westernmedical model that I'd grown up with. Different ways to help people with a 00:40:00larger picture of our environment and you know, Native American culture teaches that we're all related. That means all living things--mother earth, the rocks are the grandfathers. They would refer to elements around us that we would say take for granted and they'd say, "Those are grandfathers, they have much wisdom. We can learn from them." It was just a whole new education about how to look at our mother earth. It was fascinating and it wasn't new, it was thousands of years old because it had passed down orally. It was a great move for me.
BROOKS: You didn't work exclusively with veterans but you did work with someveterans there, correct?
KAMPS: Right--I worked primarily with individuals, couples and families. Lot of00:41:00children. But then I began to learn about and meet some of the veterans that were Vietnam era and sometimes they would come in one-on-one. Eventually we got a Veterans Service Office [VSO] established on the reservation, like our counties in Wisconsin all have a veteran's service office so veteran can go to their county veteran's service office and get help with claims, sometimes financial help. Well Oneida I think was one of the first tribes that was able to establish an Oneida veteran's service officer and that was through the help of the VA in Milwaukee. We had a VA representative come visit the Oneida tribe and see what--get support and endorse the importance of a veteran's service office. 00:42:00They found that across the country Native Americans were not going to the VA. Native Americans were not applying for benefits--they were just staying away from all that. And that's partially a cultural gap, not just relating to veterans but other tribal members who don't go outside the tribe to get services that they're eligible for. They realized the VA knew they had to reach out and go to the Native veterans. Oneida was a feather in their cap in terms of getting a VSO on the reservation.
Once we had our own veterans service office who could assist in claims, thenthat person and our mental health staff - me primarily at that point - were able to collaborate and do the assessment if they'd refer someone to us. Do the assessment for post-traumatic stress or other needs and provide that documentation to the veterans service office who could then submit a claim to the VA and a legitimate claim with the information covered that was essential 00:43:00for the VA to look formally at this veterans experience. That combination of working with the veteran's service office grew our core of veterans who were getting help, starting to come together on their own as Wisconsin Indian Veterans Association which is like a VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] or a DAV [Disabled American Veterans] group. They've come together and start to support one another, start to do community based kind of help because in the Indian culture a warrior is not done being a warrior when he comes back from the war. He continues to have a role as a protector and a provider in the community--that's the status of the veterans. There were many other things that 00:44:00they could do to assist their community as veterans. That respect in many ways--including at the pow-wow where they would annually have the pow-wow and honor veterans--all of those kinds of things really helped to lift up the self-respect of veterans.
I took some of the non-Native veterans that I knew from my work in Green Bay andwe'd go out together for the pow-wow because they'd then get in the line with all the other veterans who'd be coming in together behind all the colors. Those other tribes would march in and with their flags, with their eagle staff, and they would bring in the veteran group into the circle of the pow-wow and they would be honored there. Some of these Vietnam veterans who didn't go into any parades, they didn't stand up when they were asked to as veterans, they were hidden. So for them to come out into the daylight and identify as a veteran and 00:45:00go into that pow-wow circle and find all these other people standing up and applauding them and giving them respect, that was quite a therapeutic experience. Compared to their hidden identity in the communities after Vietnam, this was a coming out into the daylight and saying "I'm a veteran." and accepting--or beginning to accept--the recognition that they needed and deserved from people that genuinely fought for centuries, had honored their veterans regardless of what anyone else said, they had ceremonies. They had lots of teachings on how to honor the veterans and some of the non-veterans benefitted from that--experienced that.
The Oneida experience had a lot of influence on me. I learned more about the00:46:00importance of ceremony and symbols, healing symbols, for people with trauma. Because trauma leaves some intense symbols in your head, some very hurtful or scary symbols, images and tarnished or hurt or defective or failed or inadequate and you know those kind of powerful symbols of a negative nature is pretty hard to move them out of our path. They have incredible power, particularly in the psyche, the subconscious mind where they dictate regardless of what our conscious mind says, "Well, that's nothing, I'm not going to let that bother me again." Well baloney, wait till the next round and you're going to be screaming for help.
The Native American ceremonies and their respective symbols and the influence of00:47:00the eagle, the bear and the clans, the bear, wolf and turtle clans in Oneida. Those clans and the clan mothers, there's a lot of strength in them, there's a lot of history in what the different clans, what their purpose is in the tribe. Then you've got medicines from mother earth--you've got sage, sweet grass, tobacco and cedar. Those are four plant ___ [??] that tribes--most North American tribes--will use one or more of them as medicines for the mind or to strengthen your spirit or to cleanse your mind or smudging with those plants helps to cleanse your mind and remove fears and doubts. Those are medicines that 00:48:00are traditionally used for many different people in a culture but veterans definitely had been the focus of ceremonies to prepare them for going to war and to receive them back from going to war. And knowing they had to that powerful medicines to help them recover from what had tainted, influenced their head, their heart, their spirit, sometimes their body--physical wounds.
There's a lot to offer from Native American knowledge and those cultural healingmethods that Western medicine didn't. I mean PTSD, post-traumatic stress- that diagnosis came in 1980 or so by the psychiatric association. Native Americans had responded to their warriors for thousands of year. They knew and passed 00:49:00along the information through their elders of the impact and to help that veteran return to the community and resume their role as an integral part of that society-- they knew they had to attend to them. That's knowledge Western medicine didn't have and if all you can give somebody is a pill, that doesn't cleanse or get at some of those harsh symbols that keep coming back in dreams. Pills can in some cases stop a person from dreaming 'cause they're so whacked they just sleep through which might give them physical benefit from sleep but it doesn't erase the impact of those filed memories that are on the shelf just waiting for something to trigger it again. I speak about the limitations of 00:50:00Western medicine that I was trained in, compared to the expansive total person response that I witnessed in Native American culture--not just in Oneida but in other tribes that I met people from. You compare notes and there's similarities in the ways that tribes would respond to their warriors and other troubles in their society. They all have those centuries of passed down knowledge.
BROOKS: As an outsider what do you think that you brought to their behavioralhealth or mental health?
KAMPS: I hope I--let's see, without sounding egotistical--I think that I brought00:51:00trust. They trusted that I had established in Brown County a safe place for veterans to come and learn and heal or at least get help. I brought that. I had some legitimacy to them. As a white guy, I think that I brought a very open mind, a sincere respect having grown up in Oneida. I like the people, people came and did business with my parents--they were always respectful. They honored mother's day, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving. I mean they made an effort to come and get flowers for their family or their mothers and they were honest people. We didn't have to work hard to collect from them, they paid their bills. 00:52:00They helped my parents do good business and I was part of that. I brought a sense of wonder, open mindedness, willing to learn from them. I did participate in things in the community--I had a visibility, I went to the pow-wows. I went to home visits if they needed somebody from behavioral health to come out because they couldn't get their kid to talk to anybody or wouldn't go to school. I went sometimes when there had been a suicide and there was just a lot of stress in the household after somebody had taken their life. Those weren't easy times but my presence said, "I care. This is hard time." A presence from our behavioral health in the community that will be there. I think that those kind 00:53:00of things made it for a good embrace--them of me--and I was ready to learn from anybody that would share.
BROOKS: You touched on it a little bit but what were some of the differences younoticed between the veterans you'd dealt with before and then the Native American veterans?
KAMPS: Let me think about some of the individuals. [pause] There were a couplethat had really heavy alcohol issues that it was hard for them to stay consistent in the healthier social activities and healthier counseling. But not 00:54:00all were so much affected by the alcohol. The differences, I think that--I think one of the differences was--again, those veterans, although for them personally they felt disconnected from a lot of what was going on in the tribal community, yet over the course of time they knew that there had been things that were part of their culture for their fathers and their grandfathers and other veterans going back so I think they knew that there was this larger context of help and 00:55:00respect but I think that it was--personally, I think that initially they weren't able to rise above their own personal affects to test those other resources in the community or to seek them.
There was shame and the more I learned from the Native American veterans as Iget to know them was that--just like our society over the course of time--in the military there was a discriminatory factor, there's a racist factor that was in place and so they would talk about the stereotypic chief. A lot of nicknames 00:56:00applied to Native veterans like "Chief" or because when they found out they were Indian, whether they grew up in an urban setting or a rural setting they were good point men because they had that sixth sense--could pick up on danger and wend your way through the bush so they put them on point. Well point is one of the most vulnerable places to be in the squad and the life expectancy was not very good--shorter than most. There were those kinds of stories they would tell about being racially or stereotyped by non-Native lieutenant or sergeant or other soldiers. They also developed close bonds with those they served side by side with which is true of any mixed group of guys as far as racially different. 00:57:00When you're watching out for one another trying to survive there isn't any race problem-- everybody's in the minority and you're trying to hold on and get out of there.
Other things, I guess I remember seeing a video tape that was done in SouthDakota and there was a Korean veteran there--Native Sioux Korean veteran--and the video is about how he had returned to his Native ways, was the story after having been--he'd gotten an education, got a teaching degree after Korea but then continued drinking and got pretty much swallowed up by alcoholism and 00:58:00during the course of his struggles with that and his career going downhill he had a vision or dream maybe that showed him that he needed to return to his homeland where his relatives lived and so he went back to South Dakota--I think Pine Ridge--and began to reacquaint himself with the traditions of his ancestors and grandparents and parents who were veterans. The video was how he had invited some the guys he served with in Korea from his squad, out to a ceremony on his land.
During the course of the video he presented each of them with an eagle featherto honor them. They had a sweat lodge ceremony to help them to cleanse from the 00:59:00heavy burden of their experiences in Korea. They'd survived some pretty major losses, their squad, their company. These guys had survived and hadn't been around each other for years but they did respond to his invitation. The ceremony was held and there was some personal sharing in the video about what it meant to them and there were tears as they acknowledged what they carried over the decade since Korea but through their comrade who was Lakota and who was using his traditional ceremonies from the elders to conduct this cleansing, they felt that 01:00:00it had quite an impact on them.
That video was something we viewed with the Oneida veterans, the youngerveterans and learned how he had relied on his--the teachings that he had come back to and how he felt about sharing this with his comrades who he knew were struggling in their own lives. It reinforced the power of the traditional healing and his having survived some terrible years where his life was hanging by a thread despite his education and he realized he needed to return to his roots and learn the power of those ceremonies that he had scoffed at through Western education, college degree. Still struggling he realized "There's truth in the teachings of my people." He felt strongly about it for his own self, it 01:01:00gave him a sense of direction and he shared it with other veterans. That was a story that came to my attention through one of the other veterans and I think it reinforced, "'Boy there's some really important lessons within our own ways." They can influence or challenge some of the things that had been driving us. There's more powerful things than that. I think that was an important difference for Native American veterans compared to non-Native. Some of the non-Native veterans who had a relationship with God before going into the service, I think that we--I began to talk more freely about that with them based on my experience 01:02:00at Oneida too because I was just getting so many different lessons and reminders about the spiritual part of who we are as a person that I'd been leaving out as a counselor in a secular, traditional agency in Green Bay.
The more I got that message and the more reinforced, it was reinforced by lotsof other teachers and experiences, I began to ask about that a lot more. In that environment at Oneida they expect it--it was standard to ask about that. The more I did that with non-Native veterans the more I was getting a range of responses from the importance of what it used to be to them, to have a peripheral life. To what had damaged that or destroyed that or made them feel 01:03:00they were unforgivable or made them feel like God had abandoned them or angry at God for letting bad things continue to happen, "Despite my prayers". Lots of different experiences were being shared when I started with "How do you define your spiritual beliefs?" That opened up the door for them to retrace that journey or to describe where they're at today.
Today there's a few veterans--there's probably seven Vietnam era veterans andone Iraqi veteran--who have come to a once a year event at St. Norbert Abbey and have been willing to share what happened to their spiritual life after Vietnam 01:04:00or after serving and what it took for them to regain a relationship with God or to begin to embrace beliefs and teachings that they could understand or they could apply to themselves. In other words: "God doesn't make any junk, we all have a purpose, if you're here you still have a purpose, you still have gifts that you haven't figured out, that you need to keep working on." They began in different directions, pursuing spiritual beliefs that they could relate to. Some of them embraced more of the Native American traditions around spirituality, about the creator. We are blessed by the creator with all of what we have as well as what's around us and on this earth.
Some guys were able to reconnect with their Lutheran roots or their Christian01:05:00roots or Catholic roots or Moravian church roots or some of those teachings and began to mend or identify "What's the block between me and God? Or "Why do I think if I go into that church, the church is going to fall down? It's going to come crashing down. It's that bad. Why do I think that way?" But it opened up kind of conversations with individual veterans and started the process of repairing a relationship with a higher power--creator or god or the trinity--depending on how they referred to God. I credit that to the kind of incubation that occurred at Oneida where it was just part of the way people 01:06:00lived. It was part of their life--part of their day-to-day get up in the morning and start to connect with their spirituality and finish up at night. If they have a dream, believe that's spirituality happening in their sleep. It was really very much an integral part of their life and that really supported my effort to go back again and again to ask the questions.
If someone asks "I don't know, I don't know how to describe my spirituality. Idon't know what that means" or "I've pushed that aside long ago and I don't care to go back." "Well, wait a minute now. How do you explain this or that or getting people to start talking about when did you feel moved by something you saw or experienced or you saw happening with somebody else. You can't explain it. There's still spiritual things happening in your life but you didn't call it 01:07:00that but where does that fit in your perspective of who you are. Is that a mental thing, is that a physical thing? Is that an emotional thing? Did you have a vision?" Getting people to investigate that--not telling them how but telling them that it's really important that you don't overlook that part of you because it needs to be fed, nourished. It gets weak if you neglect it, just like your physical hunger, thirst, just like your need for sleep. Your body can't function without it. Spiritually there's barely an ember at the bottom of your fire pit. "Are you going to put any kindling on there before it goes out?"
It made me pursue that and fortunately those seven men who come and talk about01:08:00that once a year at the abbey around Veteran's Day. It's been really gratifying to see them rekindle that spiritual part of them and reconnect with an unconditional love of the creator God and for them to feel like "Yes, I did survive for a reason, I have a purpose and I must continue to pursue what is that and how am I using it to benefit the people around me, as long as I am on this earth, as long as I am breathing I still have a responsibility to use that. I can't just sit on it, that's not acceptable." So spirituality has strengthened them, has gotten to be more of a part of who they are and I'm really grateful that they have come to recognize that and can tell other people cause they have a very strong message to other people who did serve for example or who are 01:09:00struggling with their own difficulties in life or failures, or rejections, not necessarily military but hear from these guys who are way out there in no man's land and came back from that and were able to recapture or repair a relationship with a spiritual source and so other people can take some hope and some heart in hearing veterans talk about that because they have a strong message that others can listen to.
BROOKS: Have you ever had anybody just refuse to talk about their spiritual life?
KAMPS: Yes. I think of one person real clearly in my mind. There's more than onebut yeah, he's the one whose quote was "If I went to that church it would come crashing down on everybody including me." I respect that. I will identify 01:10:00thoughts or statements that come out of that person's mouth that I know are heartfelt or in my sense spiritual perspectives. I will identify those actions or those words and acknowledge and in my own way praise that as good. "I appreciate what you just said" and try affirm signs of that in a person. Just because they don't believe in a spiritual self, doesn't mean they don't conduct themselves sometimes in a way that I would categorize that as a generous, unselfish gift to others or a thought or a feeling. I acknowledge that but 01:11:00respect that they don't want to go further with that.
BROOKS: Does that happen a lot with veterans when you hit a wall that you can'tbreak through and imagine a lot of the topics that come up take a while but I'm wondering how often that happens that you just hit a wall and you just know you won't be able to get around it?
KAMPS: Many, many times. I think about--sat face to face with well over threehundred veterans over the years and some certainly were hanging on tight to their method of coping and that was all they knew. Had these conversations with them where I'm saying "I know you're hanging on to that post to hold tightly and 01:12:00I'm asking you to let go and reach for that. I know you're not ready to do that and how difficult that would be." Yeah. There's a lot of fear in all of us and fear of the unknown and what I ran into so often with veterans was they held on so tight to their control or belief that they were controlling tightly their lives and how they conducted themselves, don't get on a limb and don't call on others, don't expect things to change, just do what you're doing and getting by. I saw them hold on really tight and it was terrifying for them to think about loosening that grip, for example, and allowing themselves to get in touch with a 01:13:00feeling of fear or sadness or regret or guilt. I think that those--no motion? [inaudible] For them to let go of that, even a little bit, to allow some acknowledgement of their heart was so terrifying that they literally believed they would go crazy, they'd fall apart and never be able to put the pieces back together. It's just better to hold on tight.
Oftentimes I compared them to hugging a porcupine. Just tight to you despite thepain and that's all you can do but the pain means you're alive and maybe I have 01:14:00to accept that. It's hard but it happened more than I'd like. That's human nature--we're all afraid to get outside of our comfort zone. Some of us try to push that and the more we do the more we can expand our lives and our world and our sense of competence but it's really hard and I kind of personify PTSD in descriptions sometimes by saying "PTSD has made you back up into that corner of that room. You can see everything and not let anybody get too close but look how small your circle of operation has become. It's confining you to your house, you've gotta go to the grocery store at three in the morning, you don't wanna be out on the streets when there's too many people, you don't wanna go where you don't know the people. You don't wanna try anything different. You're really confined. It's like a hula-hoop standing inside of a hula-hoop and saying, 01:15:00'That's as far as I can go.' Well PTSD has really got you whipped, it's really got you trapped and you painted yourself into a corner."
And I'm saying, "If that's where you think you have to stay, okay. But I believethat there are other options and I'd sure like to describe one or share with you how someone else was able to push that circle out a little bit and they're still talking, they're still alive and they didn't fall apart. They didn't go crazy. It was not easy but we had to talk for quite a while about what are the dangers if you try? What do you imagine is going to happen if you try and change any of this? What could happen, how do you see it happening? Give me a description of what the threats are that are going to come down on you if you push that circle out a little bit?" Getting them to describe the objects, the dangers that are so 01:16:00powerful and preventing you from taking even a little risk--trying to work at that slowly.
Fortunately I had years with a number--I just retired the end of April and ofthe twenty five veterans that I was seeing, nineteen I'd seen for over ten or fifteen years. Twenty years, twenty-five years back to 1985. Fortunately I've seen them grow, I've seen them push the circle. Lot of times if grandchildren came into their lives that was a huge boost for them because grandchildren--they 01:17:00love unconditionally, grandpa or grandma--it would bring out parts of that veteran that they didn't know they still had as far as fun or kidding or wrestling or playing or teaching. That was a real benefit to me as a therapist to have been involved with a person over those different stages of their life and we can go back and talk about how restricted they were, initially. How that looks, looking back and fortunately they've been able to expand what they can do and tried some tools that they say "Hey, I've got some more tools now than I used to and thanks for giving me some tools." That was a benefit to me having been walking alongside of people for that length of time and seeing with persistence. Seeing some of that unhealthy stuff soften and for them to 01:18:00experience some healthier efforts that provided important lessons to them and met some of their needs to have been pretty much starving as far as feeling self-respect or allowing others to appreciate them. Being able to allow for that, or to accept some of that or to believe some of that or to start thinking "Maybe I've got something to offer". It was worth the wait. If we're covering Oneida, expressive art--we've been going for about an hour and a half. Expressive art sessions. Want me to cover some of that? How that works?
BROOKS: Sure, yeah. I want to know-- You volunteer, right? Technically you're a volunteer?01:19:00
BROOKS: So I want to know how a session runs and what's your role in theexpressive art sessions?
KAMPS: Since Tim Mayer and I teamed up at St. Norbert Abbey and we were askingfor their support and space to do this, we got their okay. Tim had already been given donated a lot of materials so he had boxes and boxes of art materials already. He had been working out of his home in Appleton. We started the sessions at St. Norbert Abbey once a month and from one to four p.m. We invited people--primarily veterans, combat veterans and they're welcome to bring their 01:20:00spouse or family member with them. When they come in we have an initial sit down in a comfortable area--there are couches and chairs. Introduce ourselves and ask everyone to introduce themselves, especially if there's new faces. Over time we've had a lot of returning veterans and family who get to know each other.
After initial fifteen minutes or twenty minutes of introductions, letting themknow maybe if there's other activities like when the sessions started happening at Tomah VA hospital when Tim began to go down there, we'd share some of his experiences and some of what veterans were producing or that he was experiencing 01:21:00just to share that this is happening here but it's happening in other places too and to then give them the freedom to please take a look at the materials. Choose materials you might want to use whether it's colored pencils, acrylics, chalk, pens, regular lead pencil, or whatever you would like to use and find a place where you can comfortably draw some things. Choose to draw what you would like or choose to make what comes to mind, what you would like. Tim is the artist--Jennifer Thomas is another artist who volunteers--so there's expertise if someone wants help with this medium or wants help with drawing a face or drawing a physical body or shading or colors, "How do you get these colors for this picture?" They can circulate and be available with that. 01:22:00
As a mental health person I don't sit down and counsel anybody but I encouragethem to go with what comes to mind and draw. I might ask them, or Tim or Jennifer might ask them, could you write down a few sentences that would help explain what this is--encouraging them to do that so the course of one and a half to three, people draw, work at what their projects are. If they're drawing something and one of us can respond to what they may share about it, if it's a particularly intense kind of an image and it brings back a memory, we can just encourage them to take control of sharing that and putting that out on the 01:23:00paper. It's important that you are able to describe that and share it with the others here. If they reveal some thoughts or feelings about it we can again normalize why that's coming to the surface, how that's important to describe or depict that. "It's your word, it's your story. It's your recollection. You're the best one to describe that for us and encourage that, okay?"
After, about three o'clock we ask everyone to help--the tables are set, theselarge folding tables are probably eight feet by three feet wide in the large room and the chairs--stack them back up on the cart. Gather the chairs and get 01:24:00things put away so we leave the room empty. Then after we get the stuff put away then come back to the circle, `sitting area and ask someone to start "Who wants to start?" and show what they've been working on--give us some narrative about it. Certainly give them gratitude from us for sharing that and letting us in on that. It might stir questions from other veterans or others present. It might stir comments because they can relate to something in there that they've experienced and then they might share what it triggers or what it reminds them of. It draws different kind of comments. Certainly we want to be grateful for their willingness to let us in on that and value that information that they are sharing. Sometimes somebody will hold the picture who's beside them so they can 01:25:00just point at it and talk about it as they see it. We finish up about four o'clock usually from that kind of sharing. That's the end of the session for that day.
BROOKS: What usually happens to the art?
KAMPS: Tim asks them if they would like to keep it or if they'd like to donateit to his collection. He oftentimes brings portfolio with a number of pieces from Tomah and has asked those veterans if it's okay. Oftentimes he'll get their permission to take a picture of it so he can keep the picture as well as the narrative. If they want to donate it, he'll ask them to sign on the back that they've given permission. He'll show some of those pieces to give ideas to the others who might be starting out or coming in and see what others might have 01:26:00chosen to draw. That's oftentimes very--it's enlightening, it's revealing, it opens up the others to think about "What do I want to draw?" It stirs some thinking about the significance of that art by the person that drew it and it just kind of contributes to the ideas that come up from them. If they don't want it shared then Tim wouldn't take a picture or he wouldn't keep it or if he does keep it but doesn't show it to others he'll ask what their preference is.
BROOKS: Do you know what the ratio is of who keeps and who donates?
KAMPS: Just generally I would say that certainly the majority, maybe 75 percent01:27:00or more are okay with donating the picture. Especially if they know that it might benefit others. Majority would say "You can keep it, you have my permission." Jennifer also circulates a questionnaire to the participants because we have been collecting feedback for a few years and it's our evidence based effort to see whether the experience there was beneficial. "Would this experience help you to invite another veteran to come to this? How do you feel about--" I can't get the questions but so far as, "How do you feel about your military experience based on your drawing and sharing it with others? Has it 01:28:00become easier for you talk about this because of your being here?" Since a number of the people who are participating have been coming for an extended period of time after initially drawing about traumatic events and sharing there's more likelihood that they will consider drawing something about where they see themselves going or how are they different today than when they started or what is a hope--what do they see themselves doing in the future? Something that might bring out a vision or an image of where they'd like to get to. We ask about that too on the survey. "Has it moved you from the center point in your life to any direction" That's more evidence. Jennifer circulates those surveys 01:29:00and asks them to complete, there's about seven questions. Then we keep track of the results and the trends that we see.
BROOKS: I remember you mentioning in our last session that you have some type ofevidence to show potential funders so is that they type of responses to those surveys that's what you show funders?
KAMPS: Yes, it's good feedback for the veterans to see and hear about others andsee a pace that might be showing up. It's also important for funders and others to see the evidence from the participants and the evidence can also help us to influence where we go with the program, what the needs are and how do we reshape as we go forward based on what we're getting feedback. Tim and I first did some 01:30:00presentations to funders--he had gotten a contribution from Oshkosh Truck before I met him and so we went back to them. We would oftentimes bring examples of the artwork and he could share more of what was drawn and what methods were used but I could share more about what it represented as a measuring stick for the person's progress in healing based on my understanding of mental health and what difficult items were put on that paper that were powerful images over the years and that for them to put it out there on paper was really important because there's an example of someone who's chosen to externalize--put something out there--that's been very powerful and unspeakable inside. To me that was a milestone for anyone compared to the number of years where something was kept 01:31:00private and personal but was wreaking havoc in their emotional life or their sleep life or their sense of unworthiness. It just had such a powerful effect on the person as long as it's private. When we show those pieces I could speak to the importance of that person putting that out there and choosing to take some control rather than be controlled by it.
Over the years talk therapy for me had been for the most part, my strength,listening and giving information back and so on. I could see so many times when someone would, in my office, go to that visual, that internal memory place and they'd be seeing it or they'd be feeling it and it would just have them in a 01:32:00trance and I couldn't get there with them. I couldn't see enough of it to help them untangle that knot after they would come back to me. It was just really hard to get at part of the experience that was very private, very much stored in that memory bank and when it would come up, see how powerful it was. It just like frozen the person, in a frozen place. The experience of the images on their face, whether it was tears coming down their face or the terror or the unfixable dilemma that it reminded them of. It was just out of reach. I couldn't get there. The drawings were significant to me because I wish I'd had those 01:33:00opportunities or that offering years back. [laughs] It could have given me insight into some of that powerful stuff and a whole lot more opportunities to be in there with the veteran and sorting out identifying the symbols, the images and then starting to look at what would give this veteran some power in that place that they can't think or hear or see on their own unless you remind them that they have some other tools.
When I talk about it with funders or other therapists telling them the potencyof this method and you can use it with substance abuse, you can use it with sexual assault survivors, you can use it with children who have been severely abused, I mean, please look at this it's really an important--possible approach 01:34:00in your working with people. I could speak to it with some passion to funders. Particularly looking at some of the drawings that people that I knew what they'd put out there and how much it meant to the possibilities for them, going forward to start having some influence on where they seem themselves going. If they can start to separate from that quicksand pit that they've been stuck in. That can be kind of an example of a session.
BROOKS: In your perspective what have been some of the challenges that theprogram has faced?
BROOKS: If any.
KAMPS: Well, money--lack of it. There were times when we were down to a few01:35:00pennies. Once we got the foot in the door at Tomah to be able to go down there on a regular basis and work right with the staff on the units, we didn't want to stop that process so if I had to put money in his gas tank to make sure he didn't miss a session down at Tomah, that's what it took. Those were challenges to keep it going on a shoestring. When I met Tim he didn't have his driver's license and he didn't have a vehicle. The first couple of years we had to arrange for transportation. If I was going with him, I could drive, he had a couple of people in the Appleton area. One--Bob--he was retired from running, I 01:36:00think, an Instaprint--he had a series of printing stores but he was less active at that--so Bob would drive Tim as a volunteer to get to different places. We had to work on Tim getting his driver's license and then we had to work on getting a vehicle donated and our first vehicle came from the DAV in Green Bay. That was three years ago now and they had a '91 Dodge minivan that had 170, 000 miles on it from driving veterans back and forth to doctor appointments--the DAV does a lot of transporting. They donated. We were grateful for this aged vehicle, it still had some miles in it and Tim had a mechanic friend in Appleton 01:37:00who would check things out and fix things at low cost or no cost. Tim, he put on I don't know how many miles but he had that old van for about a year and a half before it started to get serious problems, not worth fixing.
One of our other veterans who has a piece in the show--Darryl Johnson--he's onour board now, he used to work in car sales and so he went to one of his old employer--Broadway Chevrolet--and explained the situation- non-profit, trying to get transportation, reliable and they donated a vehicle, a minivan that was about a 2006 and it probably had 100,000 miles on it but it was well maintained 01:38:00and they gave us a deal. They gave us a big discount--still had to pay off the balance--and Tim had a more reliable vehicle because he was putting on more miles to Tomah, was going down there twice a month, beginning and end of the month.
We got some funding from the Potawatomi Foundation in Milwaukee. They wanted tosee some services available down there in Milwaukee area. They gave us a donation at least two years in a row now--the second donation they were really wanting Tim to establish and so they had a space available and they had elder veterans living at this space and so they wanted some sessions to be available to elder Native American veterans who lived there. I don't know how we got 01:39:00invited but Tim got invited to start sessions at Vet's Place Central in Milwaukee--a homeless shelter for veterans. It's about three stories--it's quite a few veterans who stay there. He's been going down there this past year and a half, once a month. The challenge is transportation--reliable vehicle--and money were some of the biggest hurdles. I think that initially when we would talk to some new funders, when we'd talk to veterans, we did speak to a veterans group at Appleton VA clinic about three years ago, one or two of our veterans who had been participating went along to try to endorse this as legitimate, worthwhile. But you run in to skepticism in veterans and other providers who can't really 01:40:00embrace the potential of it and when you're talking about drawing, well, a lot of people don't want to draw. They don't think they can draw, they don't have much to relate to as far as "How could this be good for me?" so you run into that kind of maybe courteous response but "I ain't going there."
Tim ran in to that at Tomah. Fortunately when we spoke to the staff at Tomah andthen spoke to the medical director at Tomah, Dr. Hoolihan, he had a certain appreciation for art. He liked to photograph things, he had some of the photographs around his office and he kind of got it--that creative potential in a person. He basically said to the staff, "You're going to do this." I don't 01:41:00like dictating bosses myself but in this case we really needed him. He put out a memo--he wanted the mental health staff, the PTSD unit and substance abuse staff and the occupational therapists and the art therapists and what's the other one [inaudible] I don't know their title but they work--maybe it's occupational. They work with arts and crafts. They'll help someone make a clock or they'll work on painting by numbers and they would do those kind things--professionals who assisted veterans with that at Tomah.
The doctor said, "You will make your veterans available to participate in this."01:42:00When Tim would start to set up the schedule with them for the month, they would include that in their schedule of activities for their treatment program and made drawing a part of the treatment. Once the directive got the staff on board so that they would not only send their veterans into the room but make time to be in the room themselves because at first they'd go, "Oh well Tim you can handle this." He's an artist, he's not a therapist. He would be faced with eight or ten veterans who he didn't know and convincing them to do what they didn't want to do and there's no staff present. We had to go back to the doctor and ask him to reinforce there's an advantage to having your staff present so that they see what the veteran draws. They'll be able to use that information in their 01:43:00subsequent groups and individual counseling while the person's here. It can open the doors for more effective treatment if you have the staff present and they see what's going on and take that with them.
There were some obstacles convincing the other professionals that this is alegitimate thing and it can benefit what you're doing. It's not gonna be separate from what you're doing, it's gonna be collaborative. At Tomah we really got established as part of the treatment protocol and the staff began to see results and benefit from the results and their quality of treatment in the rest of the treatment program where the veteran was there for nine weeks. Those kinds of skepticism and not really knowing how this is going to be helpful to them and 01:44:00I think the more veterans that participated, the more word of mouth from them to other veterans began to pick up and if a veteran was there for nine weeks there's a likelihood he's gonna participate in at least two months session. They'll be back for a second session and Tim doesn't have to sell the whole thing again to some of them and other new guys will see from what--they'll see what others do with their drawing that have been there before. They'll see that they're getting right into it and expecting something to come out of it so that kind of peer influence began to accumulate.
Tim's been going to Tomah for I think probably three years. Now he's going toKing Veteran's Home--he got an invitation from the social worker there to be 01:45:00available at least once a month I think. They have increasing numbers of Vietnam era veterans now coming into King Veteran's home because of their age and health. A number of different sites that are on-going now. Those would be some of the obstacles we ran into.
BROOKS: It sounds like the majority of the veterans you work with are Vietnamveterans but you do work with folks from other conflicts and eras?
KAMPS: Me personally?
BROOKS: Yeah, or the program in general.
KAMPS: Oh, the program. Certainly at Tomah there's been more and more youngerveterans coming into their programs. Tim is dealing with Korea era, some. Lot of Vietnam but he's certainly had Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the sessions. Gulf War veterans who are in their forties now from 1991. He's dealt with 01:46:00growing percentages of younger veterans down at Tomah because of their lives and what gets them into inpatient treatment program. At St. Norbert Abbey--that's the only site that I'm teaming up with Tim these days--they're primarily Vietnam. One Gulf War veteran and I think--there's one Iraqi veteran who came to the session--got referred from the Vets Center counselor in Green Bay. Percentages are pretty low as far as other eras. And really at St. Norbert Abbey we have to continue to go out to the community and recruit and get invitations 01:47:00and pamphlets out to the Vet's Center. We almost got invited in to do a session at the Green Bay VA clinic. We had a therapist who's really advocating for us to come, really believed in the process, presented to her supervisor in mental health, presented to the administrator in Green Bay. That was in about April when things busted out all over as far as the Arizona VA and Phoenix not getting people in on time, falsifying waiting list and we had an investigation down at Tomah and when those things hit the fan and the focus was on the VA incompetence, administration in Green Bay--like all over--really puckered up and then they didn't want to try anything new, they just wanted to get veterans in. Insisted that all their staff book up every hour in their schedule as foolish as that turns out to be because you wear people out, number one and secondly 01:48:00therapists would say if you book up all your available time for six weeks, you get that person in, now you can't see them for two months because you got no time. We took a back step in April and they're still working on convincing the administrator to let us do a session there in Green Bay.
BROOKS: Do you see that as an issue, the outreach and the getting differenttypes of vets in to the program?
KAMPS: It is a challenge in DePere where we don't have a captive audience. WhenTim goes into a facility where there are veterans getting treatment, then he has the support of the staff and the veterans are required to participate and experience it. When we're trying to recruit people to voluntarily take time out of their day or their week and they're already going to a counselor maybe and come in to St. Norbert Abbey voluntarily, it's hard work to get them to come. 01:49:00It's been low numbers usually. Oh, piece of paper on the floor, he's pointing out--I'm gonna take a couple minutes break I think, stretch my legs.
BROOKS: Okay. I'll stop this then.
[Session 2, File 2]
BROOKS: This is the second file of the interview with George Kamps, July 2,2015. I wanted to ask you if you have ever done any art yourself.
KAMPS: I've done some drawings since I've been, you know, participating in theprogram. It's given me the opportunity to think of "What would I draw?" Prior to that I hadn't done much drawing since my best piece in fifth grade where I got 01:50:00an A.
BROOKS: What was that?
KAMPS: It was a pond with cattails and I think the instruction was drawsomething where you only see half of something. So I drew a beaver, you know, with its tail sticking out of the water.
Kamps: I remember getting a good grade on that. That sticks in my mind as, "WellI did have some talent." Since I've been with Tim, you're kind of prompted to try and do some drawing when others are working hard at it. I've used some symbols like from Oneida--like the medicine wheel is a symbol that has a lot of different meanings and so I've drawn the medicine wheel as a symbol. The four colors of the four races around the medicine wheel--it represents the four 01:51:00seasons and it represents the four directions: East, West, North, South. It represents the four ages of man: infancy, youth, adult and elder. It just had a lot of different meanings. I've talked with people about learning to read the heart as your compass--your emotional compass. That's been a good illustration or description to help people realize, "Why do I wanna know about my feelings, why do I wanna be able to identify what feelings I'm having?"
In Oneida certainly, in traditional culture, your heart plays a role in yourdecisions. Your heart figures into how you deduce what to do at a situation that 01:52:00you're facing or what you're doing. It's an integral part again of who you are.I drew a picture of a compass, the four cardinal directions, and different emotions on that compass. I think Tim donated that to UW-Whitewater along with some other pieces that veterans had drawn because they wanted some art for their library wall or something like that. It was an example of how your heart is like your emotional compass and reading the directions, plotting a course based on what your feelings tell you, what your heart tells you. That was one that he kinda liked.
Since then my wife and I travel. In winter particularly we've gone out toArizona a few times and so we were there in February, we were at a resort where 01:53:00they had some art lessons so we went to two different art lessons. One was a watercolor art lesson and an artist there did a really good job of guiding us and giving us direction. We had some photographs that he provided of different rock structures in Sedona--the red rocks of Sedona--lots of different famous structures so each of us did a watercolor of the photograph we saw. Both of our pieces turned out pretty good and so we framed them and put them on the wall at home. Rita put them on Facebook to impress our friends but at any rate--then we went to a second lesson on oil pastels, using that method. I think--she's always been more artistically inclined and done things like that over the years. I 01:54:00didn't venture into that much but I'm more inclined to take an opportunity to see what I can learn or maybe stimulate or help my ability develop a little bit since I've been involved with this program. I'm really very convinced that our right brain really holds a lot of the creativity, the problem solving, the solution focused--not solution focused but the solutions to issues we face and so I want to practice what I'm saying to others and be able to go to that right brain and see what comes up. See what comes out on the paper and develop it a little bit, work on it, practice it, get better at it in my retirement years. 01:55:00
BROOKS: Can you think of some of the pieces of others that you--when you'retrying to think of an example of artwork that gets done in the sessions, that you really point to? I'm just wondering what are some of the ones that stand out as really powerful? If you can describe them a little.
KAMPS: Okay. Thinking about--one of the artists and veterans, I don't think thispiece I'm thinking about is in the exhibit but one of the--about the third drawing he did at St. Norbert Abbey was quite a marked improvement from his first drawing. I had been counseling him and I asked him to think of an experience or memory from Vietnam that he believed had some emotion associated 01:56:00with it. He came back the next month and he drew a really good replica of a helicopter, one that would deliver supplies to his base camp in Vietnam, he was there in the earlier years '66, '67. He drew this picture of this helicopter lifting off and it had left boxes of ammunition and food on the ground and it had taken some wounded away and he said that he drew that picture because it reminded him of every day they would come in, land and bring supplies, take wounded, and then it would fly away. He said he had a really sad feeling when he 01:57:00would see it leave because he didn't know if he'd see it again.
It put him in touch with a feeling that certainly was very connected to thattime and place in Vietnam but he hadn't really described that to anybody in his family. He drew a number of different pieces then over the course of a year in the program and it really brought out his willingness to share those drawings with his family, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. His daughter was married to a soldier who was in Iraq and Afghanistan so it was--his family appreciated what he was now more able to share about his experiences which he hadn't discussed. That helicopter was an example of his getting in touch with some of the emotions that he had then, that he hadn't thought about for many years--but it certainly 01:58:00was a match.
Another drawing that was done by a Marine in the program, he had actually foundin Vietnam during his tour, a pith helmet, an enemy Vietnamese headgear that was covered with canvas and looked like a lampshade. That was a traditional headgear for North Vietnam Army and he found it in the bush someplace and brought it back home with him. After he started sharing and drawing more about his experiences in Vietnam--which he'd never talked about at home with his wife--he decided to draw a picture of this helmet which he'd brought home and on the--I think it's 01:59:00on the outside of the helmet--no, it's on the inside of the helmet. You turn it over there were several Vietnamese names in there and some crossed out and he determined that it had been worn by different Vietnamese soldiers and when it no longer was needed by one, for whatever reason--wounded, killed--someone else would use it and put his name in there. There's also inside a scene that was drawn of some trees and kind of a landscape on the inside that he thought, "Wow, somebody took the time to use a little of their own artistic ability and draw 02:00:00this outdoor scene on the inside of the helmet. Must have been on a slow day." he figured.
It also had blood on the inside of the helmet and indicated to him that thehelmet had been worn by someone who was wounded. It had a lot of history to it and with the different names in it made him think about the different soldiers that wore it before he picked it up and it was their headgear and it was part of their uniform, part of their protection. It just gave him more of a personal connection to the "gooks" which is what they'd been taught to call them, which is part of basic training, in order to dehumanize your enemy. In order to kill your enemy you have to dehumanize them and that's true of any of the wars. It helped him to become more aware that it wasn't a "gook" it was a man who had a 02:01:00life and who had a name and had a family and maybe gave his life. That drawing just said a lot once he got into drawing it and what it meant to him. All of that was helping him to become more personal about his experiences. He came back from Vietnam and his brother served there too, so they both--not at the same place but during the same year--and so when they came home he said they drank a lot. They did a lot of drugs for about twenty years before he got clean and sober and he's been sober twenty two years now but he was a mess. He didn't get in touch with any of those, or describe any of those past experiences. He's drawn probably ten different scenes now--I'm trying to think of a couple of them. 02:02:00
He's working on one now--he's had an interest in art over the years but hehasn't developed it so now that he's been started off with pencil drawings and colored pencils he's been working with canvas and acrylic paints and becoming more attentive to proper shades and mixing colors and a more accurate depiction of figures, and he's working at it. He's trying to prove his artistic ability but the one that he's doing now, he's been working on, is of a landing zone in Vietnam that he actually was able to Google and find online because a major 02:03:00battle occurred there, a lot of casualties, he was on a helicopter coming in and retrieving wounded and he drew a picture of two Marines carrying a poncho--a rain poncho--and in it was a body. The poncho was leaking blood and he remembers there were lots of soldiers around there, lots of craziness and wounded, but he only remembers seeing those two carrying that poncho and that wounded man. They actually put them on the helicopter and he was missing his one leg, just below the hip joint. He didn't look down at all during the trip back, he just manned the gun on the helicopter and he could hear the noise--screaming. 02:04:00
This picture is that tunnel vision of that landing zone and what riveted hisattention when they came in and finding that they were gonna be transported. He doesn't know what happened to that man, whether he lived or died, but it's a pretty vivid image of somebody that's in big trouble. That too was kind of snapshot of one day on the helicopter. He was only on the helicopter I learned--I thought he did the whole year--but he was only assigned two weeks of duty on the helicopter from his unit and the first week was pretty dull he said, there wasn't much going on. The second week was more than he bargained for and there was a lot of flying and a lot of hot places and a lot of casualties that 02:05:00they transported. That drawing had a lot of significance to it.
BROOKS: I did want to talk a little bit about bridging the gap between civiliansand veterans. I thought maybe one of the easier questions is to ask: we just opened the exhibit at the museum in early June--what do you think civilians, the public who come to the museum and see the exhibit? What do you think they should get out of it?
KAMPS: Are you referring to civilians who don't have a veteran in their lives orsome that do and some that don't?
BROOKS: I guess both would be interesting. I'm thinking particularly folks whodon't really have a frame of reference and don't think about these issues--mostly people who don't have a veteran in their life but both would be 02:06:00interesting to hear about.
KAMPS: I guess I hope that people who come and have that frame of referencewould place a value on the images they see and particularly understand more about the significance of the image because of what they read by the drawer and that it helps them to respect the impact that someone who served for our country, some of the impact of that experience and how it can stay with them. I would hope some civilians maybe could identify with an event that was traumatic for the soldier based on what's drawn and written and possibly an event that 02:07:00still stands out in their mind that was frightening or that was a moral dilemma or was vivid and continues to surface in their minds years later. We're all human beings--we record things, some things more vividly than others. Those memories can carry an emotional package with it so understanding them for us personally is worthwhile to anybody. I'm hoping that maybe some civilians will be able to identify with something that happened in their life that may have been of strong impact when they see how the veterans reveal events that stem back to a few minutes.
I hope too that they will have a different appreciation for veterans in our02:08:00society, have a different appreciation for the stories about veterans struggling with the VA or struggling to get help. Or dying by their own hand because of the power of some of these events and not getting help--not accepting or not reaching out and being stuck with this unsatisfiable personal dilemma. We're learning more every year I see about the moral injury and we've talked about the soul wound or the feeling of guilt about events--I'm hoping that the drawings 02:09:00will help people appreciate that even though you can't see a wound, it can plague a person for the rest of their life if it is of such importance that it keeps that person from regaining a sense of righting themselves. If they can appreciate the impact of an event that can make them question whether they could ever be useful or that they could ever have anything to contribute to society. Those moral dilemmas can sabotage anybody's effort to find purpose and meaning in life or that they have anything to contribute--they're defective in some ways of thinking.
We're focusing a lot today on drunk drivers--there are pictures in the paper02:10:00every week of multiple OWI [Operating while intoxicated; driving under the influence] and prison time. We're seeing and hearing sometimes people who kill somebody while impaired and goes to jail. I've counseled more than a few people who have gone to jail for causing a death while they were intoxicated. Those people carry a very heavy burden and have to really, really want to and work hard to try to resolve that terrible place of destroying someone and could have avoided it but because of their actions, they caused that death. That's a very heavy burden on a person and it prevents lots of people from regaining some sense of productivity or that they have the ability or the right to a life after 02:11:00that. We're learning more about that burden, if you've caused a death unnecessarily or through some neglect or action of your own. That one incident--driving a car while intoxicated--can change a life. The soldiers we send to fight for us--to represent our country--may encounter one or many of those traumatic events in which their assessing their soul or their value as a human being.
Unless they disclose it to somebody who can begin some dialogue about it, theyare stuck with the conclusion. And so I think if people going through the exhibit see those examples of civilian deaths or children's death--or the grim 02:12:00reaper on the one side of the page and hoping to get into the sunshine on the other side of the page--they can more appreciate the darkness of those experiences. And the weight of them unless the person lets somebody else in on it and says, "I'm really struggling with this and I don't know how to get out of here." Because they can help if they have an encounter with someone or if they reveal an interest in hearing--or if there's an opportunity to go to a parade and wave to a veteran going down the street. Do something to represent the people whose safety or whose well-being was the reason someone served--don't be passive about it when you know that kind of activity's going on in the minds of 02:13:00so many. You owe some gratitude and some respect and if you have a chance to show it, please step forward and take that opportunity to demonstrate that you're one of the silent majority who does appreciate veteran's service--and the family who can lose everything from a loss. If it does that to one or two people that'd be great.
BROOKS: I have one more question that I specifically wanted to ask. I don't knowif you have thoughts or opinions on this but I've been doing a little bit of reading about folks who are talking about trying to take the d out of PTSD--trying to remove "disorder" because it carries a stigma, I'm just 02:14:00wondering if you know anything about the issue, have thoughts on that movement?
KAMPS: I haven't heard too much about that I don't think--about taking the dout. But I have been seeing and hearing and reading more about a term called post-traumatic growth and Stephen Josephs is a psychologist in Great Britain who wrote a book called What Doesn't Kill Us [: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth]. Tim first found the book and got a copy for some of us on the board of directors for Artists for the Humanities and in the writings I'm encouraged by what this researcher and psychologist has been finding in his assessment of a number of--hundreds of--people who have survived trauma. And finding that when 02:15:00you ask questions about what are some of the possible gains or how you see life based on your being a survivor--he found like a 42 percent rate of people who could confirm that there had been some positive effects on them because they survived. Whether it's their perspective on themselves, their perspective on the world or their appreciation for relationships with other people--those are some of the areas they question.
On the one hand, 44 percent identify with the typical symptoms of trauma--alienation, isolation, anxiety, hyper vigilance and so on--but 42 percent when asked could identify with some of the positive impact of having survived the 02:16:00trauma. I'm encouraged by that and I think when I was first learning about post-traumatic stress and beginning to work with veterans, we as therapists were looking for some assessment tools that we could use--something that had been developed by somebody who knew what they were doing and give us an example of what questions to ask. There were some--Charles Figley was one of the early psychologists who developed a questionnaire for PTSD. We were so focused on using those questions to get at the symptoms and see if this person has and this person has it and to what degree does this person have it and this person doesn't have it--trying to get some handle on this unknown. We focused on asking those questions, so the results we got were, "Yeah, there's a lot of negative impact." That's what we were seeking--that's what we got. Stephen Josephs and 02:17:00others like him who have been doing research over the past decade or maybe since '95 had been asking those other questions and I think that's prompted some of the questions about whether PTSD should be examined, whether that's appropriate way to describe the condition.
Because trauma--the Greek word crisis has--it stems back to roots of both growthand death. Crisis prompts us to lose something and find some destruction, but at the same time it identifies the probability of--you're changed, you're more than you used to be because of crisis. It's not new but it's coming back to the surface in the mental health field to say "Be looking for how the person has 02:18:00been changed and stronger--what doesn't kill you." We've always said, "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And that's the common description of crisis but it is true. Unless we ask about that, "How do you see this differently, what do you value differently, do you look at things that you value differently than you did before this happened to you?" You're getting answers that are starting to confirm--it's not just a disorder, it's an experience of life. It has some negative or difficult normal responses that confine you--if you let them and don't push back--but it also has some strengths that certainly you don't want to overlook because you're going to want to use those strengths. They're hard earned--took a lot to learn them--but don't overlook they exist in 02:19:00you and how will they help you in coming experiences in your life. I think that's what I hear in that effort to take that d off.
BROOKS: Okay. Great. I'm sure I could come up with more questions for you but Ifeel like we've gone through most of what I had. Is there anything that you want to add that you feel like we didn't touch on, you want to expand on?
KAMPS: Just one example of a veteran--there are so many that have shared storiesabout what stuck in their head--but I remember meeting with a World War II veteran at Oneida. He was referred to me for assessment for trauma and he was in Iwo Jima and so he was one of thousands of Marines that had to go through that island of Iwo Jima and go into the caves and into the holes 'cause Japanese were 02:20:00not giving up. I think twenty-one thousand out of twenty-two thousand were killed--might have been one thousand that survived. He described to me they'd been battling for every inch and he'd seen lots of losses, he survived losses so far. He was going into this cave with the squad and he was ahead of the sergeant in this column and they were flushing Japanese out of hiding places and he said the sergeant found somebody hiding behind a rock and emptied his machine gun into this Japanese soldier and it stuck in his mind because he had seen the sergeant as the mature leader throughout so many things and this it just didn't compute.
The other guys in the squad stopped and looked and they couldn't believe he did02:21:00that. It just was unsettling for him but looking back it was a man who had been tested over and over again and in this case the Japanese had taken so many of their soldiers trying to flush them out--I think it was the tipping point. He found this target and he unleashed all of his frustration and emptied a machine gun. But it stuck in this man's mind, this wasn't right for him. Stood out in the midst of chaos, here was a small example of his sense of value that he couldn't explain. "Why did my sergeant do that?" He's ninety years old and he still carries and didn't speak about that image to anybody. It's just an example 02:22:00of how long something significant that rattles you to your core, can be stuck in your craw--stuck there and you can't explain it and it's unsettling and so that's just one example I guess of how many different scenes like that our soldiers are faced with, men and women. When what you believe in is rattled to your core and you just don't know what to do with it. I guess that's the last thing I wanted to share.
BROOKS: When those stories come up, how deep do you usually dig with somethinglike that? With something that might be the first time telling anybody?
KAMPS: This World War II veteran was an example of a veteran I was assessing toprovide a document for his claim with the VA. I documented this and some of the 02:23:00effects it had on his sleep and so on. It was a brief encounter with him so I didn't have the opportunity--he didn't want to come back. He didn't want to go into therapy at his age. I only saw him one time. I think when others have shared something like that for them, I take as detailed notes as I can, take that account and I'll revisit it in the future at times when we're on something that the person is struggling with or something that they're having difficulty coming to grips with about them personally. And as they're willing, I'll go back to that example to look at what impressions has it left. "What's the two plus two equals five here and how can we integrate this experience into your life?" 02:24:00It's a piece of it.
On the cycle of life, I'll go back to a past event and see how it might help usin the present to figure out "What are you struggling with? How can that past experience be helpful at this point when we're trying to figure out what are you struggling with? And how do you see your struggle moving in a positive direction for you in coming months and years, that vision--where do you see yourself? How is the struggle blocking that?" Try to integrate it with the present, but not go full boar at it once it's revealed. I'll take what I get, I'll take notes and I'll say "We'll come back to that when it's helpful" Because usually they'll have a rough night after that. They'll reveal much more details than they've 02:25:00thought about in a long time and it's going to be a restless night. I certainly encourage them to call or to let me know the next day how they're doing or write down themselves. If they feel like they can take the clipboard and take some notes for their benefit and bring those back then they're investigator. They're the one that's seeking more information for their benefit and it will help us. I encourage them to write down examples of what comes up at home. But take charge of learning what they can learn so it'll help reveal and help them go forward.
BROOKS: Great. I think that's it for now, at least.
KAMPS: For now? Okay. Your hopes are to have some of these recordings ofveterans available--how would the public hear that. Would they hear that in an audio at the museum or how do you see it being used? 02:26:00
BROOKS: I'm going to turn the recorder off, if that's okay? Unless you want totalk about it on the record?
KAMPS: No, you can turn it off.