BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) — A local nonprofit organization is using creative ways to reach veterans as they deal with PTSD and other stressors after serving.
Ryan Garrison was injured in a rocket attack in Iraq in 2006. Living with pain and PTSD, he started Valor Therapeutics in 2018. The nonprofit draws on music, art, and yoga to deal with trauma and process pain.
“We’re not trying to change all the world. But we’re just trying to fix our little corner of it,” tears up Garrison, proud of the work he’s done so far.
Living with his own scars, Garrison, the founder, is providing others with creative therapies.
“We’re trying to get them from one side to the other. For me, that’s the mentality. I’m going back and picking people up. My goal is to get to the other side of the bridge,” says Garrison.
A music therapist and program director, Ryan’s wife Julie uses notes and instruments to strike a chord.
“We just bypass talking, and we use our music to access those emotions where we don’t talk about them, but we’re playing them and seeing how that sounds with music,” describes Julie. “Our bodies are rhythmic.”
Some sounds soothe; others evoke certain emotions.
Art psychotherapist Lana Mayhew uses art as an agent of expression, describing how powerful it can be.
“Red and black in particular is stuff that I would particularly see with people who are traumatized a lot,” describes Mayhew.
Paint peels back layers of emotions, and it’s more about the process than the product.
“Paint would be one to open you up more and exude more feelings,” details Mayhew. “Whereas markers and colored pencils are more constrictive.”
For some, yoga also helps with healing.
“I went into the military to serve and give back to others,” says veteran Jessica Astorga.
She uses movement to focus on the moment.
“Yoga isn’t just about movement. It’s also about connecting the mind and the body together along with deep breathing,” says Astorga. “The deep breathing helps lower heart rate, blood pressure, things like that. It’s just calming.”
Touching on all of the senses, Valor Therapeutics gives veterans the mouthpiece they might need without using words.
These people combine their passions to reach those in need, whether it’s through music, art, or yoga.
To learn more about Valor Therapeutics, click here.