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Open Conversation: Organization uses music to heal trauma for soldiers

Posted at 3:56 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 16:56:34-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Most of the time, getting a soldier or veteran to take about their past trauma or what they are going through can be really difficult, delaying the healing process. But, one organization is trying to make those tough conversations a little bit easier through music.

Songwriting With Soldiers started in Central Texas just outside of Fort Hood, a way for soldiers to express themselves and begin the healing process after all that they faced overseas.

“Listening to their words being repeated back to them, I think that has one of the biggest impacts. Being heard,” Kristin Starling, Executive Director for Songwriting With Soldiers said.

The organization travels all over the country, hosting retreats for soldiers and their families, providing support and a creative outlet so that they feel heard.

“There is so much trauma wrapped up that when you tell that story back to them in front of people it’s almost rewinding some of that stuff,” Jay Clementi, songwriter for Songwriting With Soldiers said.

While staff at songwriting for soldiers aren’t therapists or mental health professionals, they believe that through song they can help veterans let go of the past trauma and move forward.

“We refer to it as post traumatic growth and the ways that you come out of it moving forward and you’re telling a piece of your truth and it has ripple effects and someone needs to hear it,” Clementi explained.

According to the Harvard Massachusetts General, the songwriting intervention sessions reduced PTSD by 33% and depressive symptoms by 25%.

And by partnering with researchers and psychologists, they have been able to help hundreds of families and soldiers on their healing journey.

“It’s not just being able to tell your story, it’s also being able to have people around you listening and we play it in a concert dynamic, you know we are playing their song, you can sit back and listen and see other people around them being like, oh my gosh, I see myself in that song',” Clementi explained.