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Using Storytelling to Heal Trauma and Bridge the Cultural Divide Between Veterans and Civilians

Article

There is a growing disconnect between the Veteran and civilian communities related to their understanding of war-related trauma, postdeployment reintegration difficulty, and the experience of Memorial Day. A therapeutic way to bridge this divide is through community storytelling. This paper describes a program development project at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center that was created to increase the connection between these communities. Using storytelling, six Veterans shared their personal experiences with a civilian audience in honor of Memorial Day. Qualitative data on the impact of the program is reported, and suggestions for future application and research are discussed.

Abstract

There is a growing disconnect between the Veteran and civilian communities related to their understanding of war-related trauma, postdeployment reintegration difficulty, and the experience of Memorial Day. A therapeutic way to bridge this divide is through community storytelling. This paper describes a program development project at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center that was created to increase the connection between these communities. Using storytelling, six Veterans shared their personal experiences with a civilian audience in honor of Memorial Day. Qualitative data on the impact of the program is reported, and suggestions for future application and research are discussed.

Full Reference

Mamon, D., McDonald, E.C., Lambert, J.F., Cameron, A.Y., 2017. Using Storytelling to Heal Trauma and Bridge the Cultural Divide Between Veterans and Civilians. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 22(8), pp.669-680.