OUR MISSION

At The Mission Within, we are dedicated to not only creating a future free of veteran suicide, but a better world in which our heroes and their families find purpose, healing and growth through community.

The Mission Within offers:

  • Transformational psychedelic medicine retreat options.
  • Personalized psychedelic coaching sessions.
  • Expertly trained therapists and support staff that specialize in trauma.
  • Ongoing opportunities to connect with others on the healing path.
  • Unique opportunities for education and training in the psychedelic-assisted therapy space.

Since 2017, we have successfully provided treatment for PTSD and mTBI to hundreds of special operations veterans and their spouses. Many of which present with complex cases of mTBI, PTSD, depression & anxiety. Both participants and their therapists report significant improvement in their condition, with as many as 80% no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

In addition to providing high-quality psychedelic medicine retreats, we are also actively engaged in changing the veteran narrative around psychedelic treatment. In an effort to make these powerful healing modalities more accessible to veterans, so that they can achieve the peace and healing that they deserve, we are actively engaged in innovative, cutting-edge clinical research. We’ve developed strategic partnerships with thought leaders and scientists from across the country with the shared goal of healing our veterans and their families. We won’t stop until Ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT and Psilocybin are tools that are readily available to front-line providers entrenched in the veteran mental health crisis.

What Makes Our Approach Unique:

There is often so much shame in the participants coming to the program – these are alpha men and women who were programmed to carry the world’s weight on their shoulders. For them to admit there are mental health issues or challenges is difficult. That so many of our staff, therapists, and coaches are fellow veterans who have gone through the program themselves makes a vital difference. You are not alone, and with The Mission Within, you can be sure you are with your brothers and sisters on your healing journey.

Our goal is to create a better world in which veterans and their family members find healing, growth, and purpose through community. These psychedelic medicines have been healing communities across the globe for thousands of years. We are dedicated to bringing these powerful healing catalysts to as many veterans, spouses, and adult children as possible. Together, we will create a more beautiful world.

We understand that to create this world, we need to do more than deliver transformational psychedelic medicine retreats. So we are partnering with academic universities, scientists, and medical professionals to bring scientific rigor into this sacred space. Together, we will breathe life into a new medical paradigm. One in which our veterans and their families have timely access to psychedelic medicines and psychedelic-assisted therapies.

A LOT OF WHAT THE MISSION WITHIN IS TODAY IS BECAUSE OF THE WORK PUT IN BY VETERANS AFTER THEY HAD HAD SUCH A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE.

I’m sure everyone says this, but I think the people Dr. Martín Polanco has pulled together at The Mission Within are the most amazing people who could be in a program like this. Even the people preparing the food, the nurses and cardiologists, are just a fantastic crew. They prep you and keep in touch with you - they do an amazing job keeping in touch with you - it’s an amazing program.

– 20-year Army, 13-year Delta Force Veteran

I’m sure everyone says this, but I think the people Martín has pulled together at The Mission Within are the most amazing people who could be in a program like this. Even the people preparing the food, the nurses and cardiologists, are just a fantastic crew. They prep you and keep in touch with you - they do an amazing job keeping in touch with you - it’s an amazing program.

– 20-year Army, 13-year Delta Force Veteran

OUR TEAM

Martín Polanco, M.D.

Founder, Research Director

Martin is the founder of The Mission Within. His extensive experience in treating addiction laid the groundwork for developing The Mission Within. Dr. Polanco was the founder and medical director at Crossroads Treatment Center, which demonstrated an effective mental health treatment model using psychedelics. He built on this work by contributing to the body of psychedelic research, specifically focused on the outcome and phenomenological studies of Ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT.

His mission is to make psychedelic therapy for PTSD available to every veteran who needs it while conducting research to prove its effectiveness – the end goal is to legalize psychedelic medicines.

Ivy Losey

Family Program Director

Ivy Losey is a 10-year Navy veteran, a military spouse of 32 years to a retired Navy Seal. She has two adult children who are also veterans. Ivy’s mission after her first plant medicine experience is for women, women veterans, military spouses, and their families to heal from PTS, TBI, MST, depression, and anxiety.

Michael Higgs

Director of Operations & Integration Coach

Michael is a 30-year Naval Special Operations (SEAL) veteran and the Director of Operations for The Mission Within. He has deployed throughout the Mediterranean, South America, Pacific, and the Middle East, with multiple combat deployments during OEF/OIF/OIR. Michael began his healing journey in 2020 when years of mTBI, PTS, survivors’ guilt, and childhood traumas finally caught up with him. Since coming to the Mission Within, he has since become a certified Psychedelic Integration Coach, a veteran mentor, a facilitator for ceremonies, and a public advocate and speaker for the legalization and safe administration of Psychedelics and Psychedelic Therapy.

“I came to The Mission Within as a last-ditch effort to save my life and the life of one of my brothers. Not only did I receive the gift of getting my life back, but I was also able to reconcile with my entire past and begin to walk a life of love, gratitude, mindfulness, and service. I am devoted to this work and the healing I have witnessed it bring to so many of my brothers and sisters.”

Michael holds a BS in Education and Curriculum Development from SIU Carbondale and an MBA from the University of Southern California. In addition to supporting veterans through his work with The Mission Within, he supports them as Program Director for The Honor Foundation, an executive education transition program for Special Operations men and women. Michael lives in North County, San Diego, with his wife Katie, who is also part of the TMW Tribe, and their 125lb Mastiff, Hank.

Ryan Roberts

Marketing & Communications, Product Development

Ryan is a Marine Corps veteran and former healthcare executive with a 14-year history in business and clinical operations. After his Ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT treatment, he decided to repurpose his skillset to meet the growing need of veteran organizations in the psychedelic medicine space. He’s deeply passionate about changing the veteran narrative around psychedelics and increasing access to psychedelic-assisted therapy for the veteran community.

Ryan has degrees in Radiological Technology, Radiation Therapy, and Healthcare Administration. He most recently completed his Executive MBA with a focus in Healthcare Administration at the University of Colorado.

Hannah Zosman

People & Partnership, IT

Hannah is an operational doer inspired to amplify the vision of The Mission Within. She experienced first-hand the cognitive benefits of psychedelic therapies in alleviating PTSD, depression, anxiety, or addiction in both herself and her loved ones. She gets to play a part in spreading the benefits of psychedelic therapies to the community by managing and improving the efficiency of operations at The Mission Within.

Hannah graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College and has three years of technical project management experience. She passionately believes that unlocking the mind’s potential paves the way to harmony with one another, symbiosis with the planet, and expansion into the stars.

Kathryn LaRoe-Higgs

Therapist, Therapist Lead, Programming

Kathryn LaRoe, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She graduated from University of Southern California with her Masters in Social Work. She has worked with military and SPECOPS communities for over 14 years in various capacities including therapy and psychedelic preparation and integration. Her specialty is treating PTSD/Trauma, mood disorders, attachment and relationship concerns, and psychedelic preparation and integration for individuals seeking out states of expanded consciousness and plant medicines to help with trauma resolution.

Kathryn lives in Southern California with her husband, Michael (Punky), and mastiff, Hank. She enjoys hiking, singing, meditation, breathwork, and present moment focus.

Andrea Lucie

Therapist, Programming

Dr. Andrea Lucie has a PhD in Mind Body Medicine. For the past 25 years she has worked for the Marine Corps, Marine Special Operations Command, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, and the Marcus Institute for Brain Health at the University of Colorado. Andrea grew up in the south of Chile and at the hills of the Andes mountains. She learned from childhood the value of traditional medicine while observing her grandparents perform traditional healing rituals. Her knowledge is drawn from traditional educational institutions in the US as well as from mentors from the Lakota community and Mexican healers.

Andrea has specialized in the holistic treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. An advocate for integrated medicine and a holistic approach to healing, she is also a certified holistic yoga teacher, a recreational therapist and a Reiki Master. Her experience includes trauma sensitive yoga, tai chi, meditation, mind body medicine, shamanic healing, and martial arts. She has been featured in several publications, including the National Journal, U.S. Medicine: The Voice of Federal Medicine, and FIGHT magazine for her work on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

Jill Ivie

Enrollment Guide

Jill is passionate about the benefits of psychedelic healing after her first journey saved her life, her marriage, and the unity of her family. She is the mother of two boys and the spouse of a retired Navy SEAL who served for 30 years. Throughout her husband’s career, she’s been in service to the military community as an ombudsman, senior spouse, chaired various boards, and co-founded The Rosie Network.

She recently dissolved her luxury travel business to support others as they explore healing through entheogen medicine retreats. She is a certified psychedelic integration coach and continually pursues knowledge and education in the space.

Sherrie Foster

Enrollment Guide

Sherrie earned a B.S. degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, is a Bible study leader, and believes strongly in both the physiological and psychological healing properties of entheogenic plant medicines.

She is the wife of a Navy SEAL who retired after 25 years in the teams and who was her inspiration for both learning all she could and also for receiving healing herself.  In 2019, she was a member of the very first group of Veterans’ Families to experience a healing retreat with The Mission Within.  Sherrie believes that couples and family units benefit greatly when more than one member journeys in plant medicines because of the positive and far-reaching effect on interrelationships.  Several of her family have now undergone the treatments provided by The Mission Within, thus motivating her to help other families along their paths to healing. 

 

Brendan Neyens

Enrollment Guide

Born and raised in southern New Hampshire, Brendan enlisted in the Navy after college and served in the SEAL Teams until 2019. Upon separating from the military, he was introduced to Dr. Martin Polanco and supported a retreat as a veteran SOF medic. He has volunteered with the Mission since. 

From adolescence to adulthood, he has experimented with different plant medicines and doses and various spiritual growth modalities and enjoys practicing and learning new methods of keeping himself grounded and connected to his true spirit. He is constantly seeking a healthy work/life balance and making room for the next adventure or opportunity to learn and grow. 

The Mission Within has left him with a renewed sense of purpose in ways not thought possible. Since his first retreat, he has found tremendous gratification in supporting the Mission and, in particular, helping his fellow veterans in need of healing and spiritual growth.

Erland Fay

Enrollment Guide

Erland was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. At 18, he joined the Army and deployed for the invasion of Iraq as a young infantryman. Following that tour, he attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, and was selected for training as a SF Medic.

After the qualification course Erland attended advanced training and was assigned to B/2/3, 3rd Special Forces “Commanders In-extremis Force”. Erland continued to deploy around the world with his CIF troop and felt he had the best job in the world. Being a Green Beret was his whole identity.

After his release he struggled every day with finding purpose and meaning in his life. He struggled with personal relationships. He struggled finding the motivation to better himself. He was just struggling. Then he was introduced to Dr Polanco and attended an Ibogaine and 5-MEO-DMT retreat in Mexico. That weekend was the start of an upswing in his life. He has since completed a chemistry degree from UC Santa Barbara, has found work within the special operations community he finds very satisfying, he is much better with personal relationships, and just wakes up happy every day. Now he cherishes the opportunity to help other veterans experience the profound and life changing medicine that The Mission Within provides.

Angie Kessel

Nutrition and Movement Guide

Angie is a heart centered individual who believes healing comes from within. After unveiling traumas through plant based medicines, she lives to integrate these experiences through grounded practices and active prayer. She offers nourishment and movement as a healing nexus. Her background in yoga therapy and 4 years assisting The Mission Within has cultivated a compassionate presence.

Her inclination is to help The Mission Within community and families safely return back to their roots. She shares nourishment and movement as a way for people to somatically meet themselves and heal their bodies through high vibrational food and active prayer. Angie has studied Yoga therapy and has begun her journey working to take care of and be with those in transition through compassionate, nonjudgmental presence.

Eva Theresa

Nutrition Guide

Eva began her earliest studies in the fields of Naturalism and Communications. This formed the foundation for her life’s work toward helping her self and others bring the human experience in to balance and peace.

She carries degrees, certificates, and ongoing studies in the fields of journalism, applied arts, culinary design, nutrition, botany, permaculture, somatic healing, qigong and other concentrations. She has spent over 20 years immersed in the worlds of alternative medicines, consciousness studies, community-building and studying the ways through and into our own individual journeys and healing spaces.

Eva is devoted to supporting willing hearts in becoming who they already are. Through deep listening and one’s personal ways in connecting, she supports individuals to create a space for self-mastery and union with the authentic self. She weaves vision, extrasensory skills, an open heart, and invokes a setting that allows for the deep-seated remembrance to come through, to awaken and for one’s own discovery in healing to be the way home.