Tag Archives: Music

032 – Can Art Help Heal PTSD?


Rice Terrace by amenic181 FDPIn today’s episode:

–        Art Therapy, what is it?
–        Finding healthy ways to express the darkness
–        Some ideas…
–        Words
–        Photography
–        Is it a good fit?

Art Therapy, what is it?

Just at the mention of the word therapy some people want to change the subject.  In the past when I have thought of art therapy I pictured people sitting around finger painting or creating an oddly shaped clay pot.  Apparently there are much more imaginative possibilities.  Please stick with me.  What I am discussing hear can be formal or informal.

People have been expressing themselves and working through problems using art for a long time.  Recently there have been effort to formalize a therapeutic method to help people with PTSD.  It is usually combined with other traditional therapeutic methods.  I think these are worthy efforts.

In a general sense, it is tapping into the creative parts of our brain to express ideas and concepts in a context that can help lead to growth and healing.  This is not a textbook definition, but it works for me.

Art can also be therapeutic in this consumption.  Reading a story, looking at an image, listening to a song can all be part of our own healing process.

Finding Healthy Ways to Express the Darkness

Whatever is on the inside seems to find its way out—even if we think we are hiding it.  Part, but certainly not all, of PTSD is attempting to integrate these “dark” experiences into the reality of our lives.  We can try and hid from these things.  This hiding can be a temporary coping mechanism we use to get through a crisis.  But at some point we need to deal with and integrate these memories.

Some ideas:

–        Music
–        Painting/Drawing
–        Photography
–        Poetry
–        Journaling
–        Writing Stories
–        Autobiography
–        Video

Finding expression for what is going on inside.  In art, of any form, we can capture and express ideas of both beauty and tragedy.


Some can find release in word.  Poetry, stories, journaling, and song writing can be good options to explore.  Fictional stories can be a way of expressing deeper realities.


Many of us are deeply moved by what we see.  A photograph can instantly move us emotionally.  There is a difference between a selfie or a quick snapshot and a photograph that has the power touch us deep in our soul.

My Chrome Cast TV device displays some of the best photography from around the world that I have ever seen.  The 1080p HD television comes alive with seen from around the world. A few sunsets are included in the rotation.  For a moment my TV is transformed in to a tool of tranquility.

The same is true with other emotions.  Have you ever seen a photographic essay of a tragic historic event?  The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand word” holds truth.  The empty loneliness in the eyes of an orphaned child; or the terror in the eyes of a mother holder her dead child can move us to tears—maybe even action.

Not only can looking at images have a power affect.  For some, capturing images can also be a sources of healing.

Is art a good fit for your recovery?

I do not consider myself to be “artistic”.  Yet I have at times greatly benefited from the creative efforts of other people.  I have also benefited from expressing myself artistically.  Perhaps I have not made full us of these areas of my brain to aid in my own post-traumatic growth process.

How about you?  Perhaps consider giving some kind of artistic express a chance.

How has art, in any form, positively impacted any part of your recovery?


Photo courtesy amenic181 on FreeDigitalPhoto.net

When trouble comes our way…

Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble
Trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born” song by Ray Lomontagne

Stuff happens! Sometimes we are at the center of the problem with the choices we have made. Others also make choices that can cause us problems and heartache.

Philosophers enjoy a good debate on the problem of evil. I admit this can be “fun” and it has its place. Nevertheless, regardless of the cause of these problems, they are part of our life. Jesus shared some thoughts on what we will face:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16: 33 (NLT)

We “may” have peace in Christ. Here and now, regardless of what is happening too us or around us. This is a choice that we can make. We can abide, live, in Christ.

Simple? Perhaps. Easy? Not for me. Yet as I grow in faith I find that I more at peace—regardless of the difficult circumstances.

Jesus is clear that we “will” have trials and sorrows in this life. This is not “if you have tribulation”; it is “you will have many trials and sorrows”. In these trials and sorrows he tells us to “take heart”, that is, “take courage”–NASB. Why can we be courageous in the face of tribulation? Because He has overcome the world. Yes, this is a present reality. Yet it is clear that this has not been brought to completion; but it will be brought to completion at his second coming. In the mean time we can still find peace in Him.

We should not be shocked when difficulties come our way. Jesus assured of such things; but He also assured us that we can experience peace because He is with us and we are in Him and that He has indeed overcome the world.

Even while he was still experiencing difficulties St. Paul proclaims:  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

It is through this process of us following Christ that we spread the knowledge of him. This becomes even more evident when we face difficulties. The reality is that our trust provides unparallelled opportunities to grow when we experience trials and sorrows. As we trust him more and more and experience His peace and presence we bring glory to Him and this is as a fragrance to others that cannot be ignored.

Weather we have contributed to our difficult circumstances or not, Jesus is there for and with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can abide in Him and find peace—here and now. We can stand assured that “he who began this good work in you will bring it to completion.”

A final thought:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

012 – The Power of Music


rss subscribechicklet_itunes

Throughout the world and throughout time music has been part of celebrations, calls to battle (action) and dealing with loss.  Even when the style, instruments and language are unfamiliar there is something recognizable about the message being conveyed in music.  It aids us in expressing our joys and pleasures.  It can pull tears even out of hard hearts.  But can it help bring lasting transformation to those dealing with PTSD?

In this episode we will discuss the different roles music plays in our lives and possibly as part of our recovery.

Therapeutic role of music 3,000 years ago (David)

Music affects our bodies, our minds and our soul.  Music can:

  • make you laugh: “Weird Al” Yankovic,  (for those who enjoy this kind of song…)

  • be part of celebrations
  • stir people to action.
  • bring us to tears.

The Brain and Music

 Music Therapy

 PTSD and Music

Group therapy utilizing different objects (need not be a musician)

A UK study of PTSD and music therapy (non-veteran) in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8341.2011.02026.x/full

 A VA (U.S.) study by Health Service Research & Development Service: Guitars for Vests: Evaluating psychological outcome of novel music therapy: http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/research/abstracts.cfm?Project_ID=2141700403#.UuEs8hDTlhF and http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20110805a.asp

 Live music played during a group session

Dr. Mary Rorro (the violin doctor):  http://www.wnyc.org/story/93503-music-helps-vets-control-symptoms-ptsd/

 Individuals and groups participating in the creative process

If you are interested in Guitars4Vets: http://www.guitars4vets.org/

 LifeQuest Music camp:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/military-veterans-seek-support-and-release-through-music-at-lifequest-arts-camp/2012/01/23/gIQAeRcMQQ_story.html

 LifeQuest Music camp video:

 Healing Veterans through the Creative Artshttp://warriorsongs.org/

 Some of the music created by veterans via Warrior Songhttp://warriorsongs.org/music/

 Jason Moon’s song, “Trying to Find My Way Home”:

Buy this song on Itunes: “Trying to Find My Way Home”

Music Theropy and the Military (a Huffington Post article):  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronna-kaplan-ma/veterans-music-therapy_b_2361076.html

 Listening to Music

We each have different tastes in music, art and comedy.  Take a chance and listen to something that falls outside of the norm for your tastes.  People for all backgrounds communicate their stories through song. 

What songs have impacted your life?  Share with the community the music that has impacted your life?

rss subscribechicklet_itunes

Trying to Find My Way Home…through music

Music can make us laugh, calm us down, rile us to action and move us to tears.  It can be a powerful tool in helping us deal with and overcome different aspects of PTSD.

Jason Moon, a Veteran and song writer, captures a small part of the struggle that many face when returning home.  In this case it is coupled with the visual arts in the video.

Question: What do you think of the song?

(On January 24, 2014 we will be releasing an episode of the podcast exploring how the role of music in our recovery process.)

Music, Art and Recovery…

Music and art—including movies, poetry, pictures and paintings—can move us emotionally.  We each of may have different tastes and we may be move by one thing or another; but there is something that will affect each of us.

Can music help in the coping with or healing of PTSD?  In our next podcast episode we will consider some of the scientific research into this topic.  We will also look at the more personal side of what each of us experience when we listen to music.

Until then, here is link to one bloggers take on Music, Art, and Poetry that I find interesting: http://www.ptsdspirituality.com/2012/01/29/ptsd-spirituality-engaging-music-art-poetry-helps-to-heal-ptsd/

Question: How has music be beneficial in your life?