There’s Something Happening Here: The Positive Impact of Collaborative Songwriting on Veterans Suffering from PTSD


  • Mary Judd SongwritingWith:Soldiers



SongwritingWith:Soldiers (SW:S) is a non profit, coaching-based program that uses collaborative songwriting to build creativity, connections and strengths in order to help improve people’s lives. The results have been positively life changing, even lifesaving, for many. The focus of a recent small pilot study by Harvard Mass General researchers on the impact of SW:S’s collaborative songwriting intervention (CSI) on veterans found the CSI sessions to reduce PTSD (-33%) and Depressive symptoms (-25%), potentially sparking further positive change and movement forward. In full SW:S weekend retreats, 8-12 veterans are paired with highly skilled professional songwriters to turn their military experiences into songs. When not writing songs, the participants attend creative writing workshops, meditation or yoga sessions and other activities to foster further connections and post traumatic growth. More than 400 veterans and family members have attended SW:S events; more than 400 songs have been written, countless lives changed. Feedback from retreat participants reveals post-retreat increases in feelings of hope and optimism (77%), increased creative pursuits (83%), connections with others (78%) and a 100% endorsement for other veterans to attend. Efforts are under wayto expand the study and eventually broaden it to include additional components of the positive psychology, coaching-based program.

Author Biography

Mary Judd, SongwritingWith:Soldiers

Co-Founder of SongwritingWith:Soldiers



Article published online: 1. Shane III, Leo. VA: Suicide rate for younger veterans increased by more than 10 percent. Military Times. 2018 Available at: September 26, 2018.

Book: 1. Fredrickson, Barbara, author. Love 2.0 : Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection. New York :Plume, 2014.

Journal article, 6 authors or less: Melville, Nance A. Songwriting May Hit the Right Therapeutic Note in PTSD - Medscape - Apr 03, 2019.

Book: 1. Niemiec, Ryan, author. Character Strengths Interventions: A Field-Guide for Practitioners. Boston: Hogrefe, 2018.





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