Military spouses find healing with ‘therapeutic’ songwriting program

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Life as a military spouse can be tough. Just ask Crystal Gasser. Her husband is a bomb technician at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo.

“There’s a lot of aspects to this life to being married to someone who has such a dangerous, demanding job,” said Gasser.

Last month, Gasser experienced what she calls the healing power of music at Songwriting with Soldiers, a creative outlet to reduce stress and find peace for service members, veterans, first responders and their significant others. Songwriting with Soldiers hosts these retreats in partnership with the EOD Warrior and Boulder Crest foundations.

“I felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Gasser said. “It was very therapeutic.”

Six bomb tech spouses each shared their life story and each co-wrote a song with a professional songwriter in just two hours during the weekend. Crystal’s was titled ‘Overwhelmed’.

“They are the folks who keep the home fires burning while their warrior is away,” said Sherri Beck, Director of Programs at the EOD Warrior Foundation.

She and other organizers said the program has saved lives.

“You can’t help but have a tissue in your hand when you listen to the words [of the songs created],” Beck said.

These groups and others that focus on post-traumatic growth may soon get financial help from Congress thanks to a new law that will award grants to organizations supporting suicide prevention services.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said he is also working on getting these groups more support during this year’s budget negotiations.

“It’s a difficult budget environment, but this is a very important priority,” said Ryan.

We should know by summer if Ryan’s additional funding request advances.

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