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Healing Wounds Through Shared Experiences

The toll of war extends far beyond the battlefield, leaving many Veterans struggling after they return home. Among these struggles, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stands out as a common and serious condition, affecting countless individuals who have served our country. When dealing with trauma, stories of resilience and hope are motivating, especially those that showcase the power of unconventional therapies and shared experiences from Veterans. 

One inspirational story that stands out is from journalist Bob Woodruff, who sustained a traumatic brain injury while covering the war in Iraq. This injury strengthened his mission of service and advocacy for Veterans. Through the establishment of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Woodruff aims to provide Veterans, service members, and their families with the support they need to navigate the challenges of post-service life successfully.

Recently, Woodruff released a National Geographic documentary “Operation Arctic Cure” that chronicles the journey of a group of American war Veterans on an expedition to Baffin Island to view Mount Thor. 

The premise of the expedition was not just the adventure, but to explore the benefits a challenging experience may have on people experiencing stress-related disorders. Before embarking on the journey, Woodruff consulted with psychologists who highlighted the positive effects such experiences could have on individuals coping with this specific trauma.

Throughout the trek, Veterans confronted physical and emotional obstacles, yet they found strength in solidarity. They formed deep bonds through their shared struggles and mutual support. 

As the expedition drew to a close, Woodruff and his team observed improvements in the Veterans’ overall health. Measures of stress, including hormone levels and sleep quality, showed significant improvements after the expedition.

The success of “Operation Arctic Cure” illustrates the importance of community and teamwork and how shared experiences can help Veterans with combat stress. It also raises a broader question about the role unconventional therapies have in addressing PTSD among Veterans. To read more about “Operation Artic Cure,” visit Psychology Today.

Here at the Summit County VSC, we embrace unconventional therapy through the power of music. Our Guitars for Vets chapter has brought together over 40 Veterans of all different skill levels who have dedicated themselves to learning how to play guitar. Week after week, these Veterans show up to not only learn a skill, but to bond with other Veterans and eventually graduate from the program, earning a free guitar and gaining a community for life. To learn more about joining our Guitars for Vets chapter, email


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