Jan. 25, 2018
London, ON – A new Guitar Program is striking a chord with Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clients at St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Parkwood Institute. Through this program the soothing power of music is helping to calm their minds and reduce emotional stress.
Orchestrated by music therapists Emily DeBekker and Jill Kennedy, the aspiring musicians meet weekly for guitar lessons. For Sam Carr, 85, the program is helping him relax and put his mind at ease. Sam served in the Korean War in 1951. When he became ill in 1959, his weight plummeted to 84 pounds. He didn’t realize he was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After retiring from the military in 1983, Sam did little except watch TV. It wasn’t until 2007 when he was diagnosed with PTSD at St. Joseph’s OSI Clinic that he started getting his life back on track.
The Guitar Program is one component of the OSI Clinic’s Myself Program, which is for veterans like Sam who often isolate themselves because of their operational stress injury. “The Myself Program helps clients open up, gain confidence, socialize and explore a broad range of new opportunities,” says Jane Gallimore, a registered nurse with the OSI Clinic.
“This Guitar Program has brought more meaning and pleasure to their lives, and it is wonderful to see the pride they feel as their skills develop,” says Dr. Jason Carr, a psychologist with the OSI clinic.
Erick Faulkner, 50, seized the opportunity to learn to play the guitar. After joining the military at 17, Erick served in Somalia and Korea, but it was when he was a peacekeeper in Cyprus that symptoms of PTSD began to emerge. “I went through years of denial, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares,” says Erick, who began coming to the OSI Clinic in 2013. “I’m enjoying the guitar lessons because they get me out of the house, help me to focus, bring me into the moment and really help with my concentration and memory,” he says.
Representatives from the Operational Stress Injury Clinic, music therapists, and Sam and Erick will be available for interviews about the Guitar Program:
When: Friday, January 26, 2018 from 11:00 – 12:30.