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4 Creative Ways That People Are Dealing With PTSD, Without The Help Of Pharmaceuticals

September 11, 2015

PTSD is a mental illness that can affect a person for a variety of reasons, and the symptoms can stretch all borders of the imagination. While these creative forms of therapy are transformational and can help a person feel whole again, consistent therapy is recommended to receive advice from a professional on one’s symptoms and trauma. Check out our peer support program here.

Art therapy is one of the most commonly used alternative methods for therapy, as creating a physical representation of one’s trauma is a way to separate our horrors and histories from the people that we truly are. It can be extremely cathartic and revealing to a person. In a way, it puts a tangible ‘face’ to the trauma and helps us understand it from a different perspective. Recently, a woman who suffered from PTSD revealed her story and journey in using art to ‘paint herself out of hell.’ Since the day she first dipped her brush into paint, she has been able to look at the world with fresh eyes and reclaim her sense of self-worth and personality. Marie has not only found peace in painting, but she has found happiness, and gives lectures around the country on the benefits of art therapy.

Music Therapy relies on the neuroscience research that shows how music can regulate emotions in the brain. This concept is being used by researchers at Drexel University for this study, where they are monitoring how sufferers of PTSD respond to music. Creating music is known to have the effects on trauma victims of providing them not only a medium to express their emotions, but an actual physiological reward in the brain. Composing and playing one’s own pieces is a way to connect with oneself on an almost spiritual level, and as we know, some of the best composers have suffered through traumas. Music therapy is also a quickly growing field. For those who want to help teach trauma victims to compose, so they can find creativity and peace in music, there are a lot of options.

Many people are using expressive writing to cope with their PTSD symptoms, but a group of marines are doing it in a way that both creates a community, and shares their stories. Patrols 2 Poetry is a blog that allows veterans to submit poetry about their experiences with trauma in the military. The poetry is real, harrowing, and relevant to many veterans’ experiences, and gives them a chance to tell their stories in a gentle and eloquent way. Many of the participants in this project say that coming to terms with trauma was a small part of the overall healing that this poetry project provided; the greater result was finding a larger community of people who were coping with the same issues. Storytelling can have an immensely cathartic effect, and finding other people who are suffering similar traumas can help you feel less alone in the world.

Dancing is a form of therapy that can often be prescribed to victims of sexual trauma, as it is a way for a person to reclaim their body and use it to do something on their own terms, as well as create something that they can feel good about. For this student who survived Military Sexual Trauma, dancing is one of the few spaces where she can feel like herself again. While this student is still struggling with her PTSD, she is finding her place by teaching dance classes and sharing the therapeutic art form with fellow sufferers. Remember, you do not have to be a professional to benefit from dance therapy; it is for everyone.

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