Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition as:
A. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence either by;
- Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)
- Witnessing in person, the event(s) as they occurred to others
- Learning that the traumatic events occurred to a close family member or close friend.
- Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events
American Psychiatric Association, 2013 DSM-V
Within the military veteran population, 11-20% are diagnosed with PTSD depending on the era of their service. Among women in the military, 23% reported sexual assault while in the military. 55% of women and 38% of men have experienced sexual harassment while serving in the military. (ptsd.va.gov)
Music Therapy of the Rockies has developed a program that addresses the symptoms of PTSD through evidenced-based music therapy techniques. The program also focuses on the neurologic aspect of PTSD with the goal of making life long changes.
The program is run by a Board-Certified Music Therapist and incorporates mindfulness and active listening, self-expression and therapeutic songwriting with professional songwriters, and the gift of a guitar to learn new coping skills. Each of these parts of the retreat combine to help the veterans reframe their military experience. Goal setting exercises are also incorporated each day.
To date, retreats have been held in Nashville (at the farm of Amy Grant and Vince Gill) and Cleveland. Future retreats are planned for Atlanta, Maryland, and Denver.