Veteran Participation in Operation Song: Exploring Songwriting as a Therapeutic Intervention

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Lauber, Danielle Elizabeth
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Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis uses a qualitative, phenomenological approach to answer the question, “What is the experience of Operation Song?” where Operation Song is a voluntary songwriting program for United States military veterans that anecdotally yields therapeutic benefits. Participants offer insight that describes the textural and structural description of the Operation Song experience, as well as the overall essence as being a catalyst to invoke personal change for participants. Through the influences of trusted social support, songwriting, uniquely skilled songwriters, a setting that prompted authenticity, and unexpected emotions, participants were able to describe the experience of Operation Song. By looking at existing veteran-based treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, this thesis offers songwriting as a proposed supplement to current biopsychosocial programs for the majority of veterans. Findings increase awareness of current treatment mechanisms for PTSD and support the suggestion that songwriting may be considered in standard treatment protocols for military veterans with PTSD and their families.