For Veterans: Building Empathy towards Healing

I think Veterans should make plays.

A long time ago, I saw a piece on 60 minutes about Veteran’s coming home who were suffering from PTSD.  At least, I think it was 60 minutes.  If I could remember exactly, I would find the video and post it here.  The piece was focused on the lack of psychological services available at VA hospitals as well as the stigma around psychological care for veterans in general.  The piece showcased Veterans who had stories to tell and and were shocked and devastated that there were not enough people around who would listen.

I think Veterans should make plays.

After watching the piece, I searched for the veteran support organization that was referenced and sent a message via a random contact form.  Again, I don’t remember the name of the organization and I cannot find a record of what I wrote.  But, knowing myself, it went something like this:

I am a community-based theater artist.  I make theater with and for communities for the purpose of connection, healing, and social change.  It might seem strange to you that I am reaching out.  Left-wing, pacifist, artists like me aren’t often in the same rooms at active-duty military and veterans.  I have many good friends who actively protest wars and military recruiters in schools.  Perhaps we have different world views.  Different ways of honoring our identities as Americans.  And perhaps you want nothing to do with this email.  But, I have the impulse to reach out.  To help.  So, this is my attempt.  I am not a psychologist.  I cannot provide the kinds of clinical services that veterans need to heal from the intense trauma they have suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, I believe 100% that empathy is the first step in healing.  And I know for sure that what I do as a community-based theater artist builds empathy better than anything else that I have ever experienced.  Soldiers, veterans, and their families would have a place to tell their stories, shape those stories into art, and be witnessed by people who may have never listened to them before.  And I know this will help.  I know this will start them on their path to healing.  Please let me know if I can be of service.

I never heard back from anyone.  But, then again, I didn’t try very hard.  Since today is Veterans Day, I figured it would be a good time to try again.  What do you think?  Who do you think I should talk to?  Who do you think I could partner with to make this happen?

I think Veterans should make plays.


One thought on “For Veterans: Building Empathy towards Healing

  1. Lynn Johnson says:

    I really appreciated this piece posted by Joshua Kors on the Huffington Post yesterday. Very moving and very practical related to what we can all do to support veterans today and throughout the year –

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