Last week, we told you about the Veterans Writing Project, which offers free workshops and seminars to help veterans and their families write about their military-related experiences. But that nationwide program is not the only game in town. Other groups, too, encourage veterans to write out their war experiences. Listed in a recent New York Times article were also Warrior Writers and a local one, the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group. If you know of others, leave us a comment below and we’ll post them.
For the article, the reporter asked one of the veterans who had written a memoir why this type of autobiography is so important. He told the reporter, “We write to bear witness.” This seems especially true for vets of recent wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “The traditional therapies and approaches to PTSD are not getting the job done,” Travis L. Martin, editor of The Journal of Military Experience, told the reporter. “Vets are looking for alternative ways to heal, and they are latching onto writing as a way to do it.”
The article makes the point that writing is therapeutic no matter what type of trauma the writer has experienced. “Expressive writing is used in clinical settings to help patients examine anxieties and abuse that are otherwise unspeakable,” the article goes on to say. “Exposure therapy— retelling a traumatic event over and over until it loses its hold over a patient—often uses writing to extinguish the emotional and physical reaction to trauma.”
If you’re a veteran, we at Write My Memoirs hope you find our site to be a helpful tool that enables you to work through your memories.