San Diego Veterans find Therapy through Drumming - VA San Diego Healthcare System
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VA San Diego Healthcare System


San Diego Veterans find Therapy through Drumming

group photo of veterans while playing drums

Veterans gather in a circle on Wednesdays at the San Diego VA Medical Center to relieve stress through drumming.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Drumbeats echo from San Diego VA Medical Center's Multipurpose Room every Wednesday afternoon as Veterans of various ages and backgrounds gather to drum. Guided through different exercises by a teacher, the positive energy of the class is reflected through the smiles on participant's faces. It's an amazing experience that relieves stress and brings joy to those involved.

"I am dealing with mental health issues, and the providers recommended group therapy," said Navy Veteran Ronny Ingram. "I was reluctant to share anything with a group, so I talked with the Recreational Therapist. She told me about the drumming therapy session on Wednesdays. I loved music, so I gave it a shot, and after the first session, I'm hooked."

All enrolled Veterans are invited to participate. The main goal, according to instructor Cory Woodrow, is building camaraderie, cohesion, pain management, and breathing expression. "Each person is showing individual experiences upon entry, and there's this transition throughout a few sessions where they may start closed off but progress to laughing, and smiles, and interactions with other group members a few sessions later," said Woodrow.

Army Veteran Colleen De Grasse said, "I have a condition where the pain is intense, and these sessions help me feel so much better; everything just melts away."  The class takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Multipurpose Room.

For more information on how to participate, contact Recreation Therapist Ellen Berman at (858) 552-7410.


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