Can Writing Actually Help Veterans Process Wartime Trauma?

One of the core pillars of the Veteran Artist Residencies nonprofit mission is that the writing process will help veteran writers process their wartime traumas and strong emotions. (And that this process can produce amazing art.) While this might be intuitive to many, others might require some convincing.

How do I know that your program is actually helping veterans if I decide to donate?

Fair enough.

I wanted to know more about this topic myself. So in this post, I'll discuss:

  • What the scientific evidence suggests
  • How my personal experience supports this evidence (Part 1 of 2)

What Does the Research Say?

According to a study by Pamela B Deters and Lillian M Range, persons with PTSD noticed a reduction in symptoms after two weeks of writing 15 minutes daily, four days a week. Symptoms can range from avoidance, intrusive thoughts, negative thoughts and moods, to physical reactions.

Some participants in this study wrote specifically about traumatic events. Another group wrote about mundane things like what they ate for lunch. Interestingly, what they wrote about made no difference.

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N. B. Hankes

N. B. Hankes

Founder and best selling author of "Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail."
Humboldt County, California