Drumming through trauma: Music therapy with post-traumatic soldiers

Moshe Bensimon, Dorit Amir, Yuval Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Combat stress reaction is common among soldiers and can develop to a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This distressing condition embraces symptoms such as feelings of loneliness and isolation from society, intrusive memories, outbursts of anger and generalized feelings of helplessness. Drumming has been receiving considerable attention in music therapy. Only few references relate to such activity among those who suffer from PTSD, and even fewer relate to combat induced post-traumatic syndrome, none of them empirical. The current study presents music therapy group work with six soldiers diagnosed as suffering from combat or terror related PTSD. Data were collected from digital cameras which filmed the sessions, open-ended in-depth interviews, and a self-report of the therapist. Some reduction in PTSD symptoms was observed following drumming, especially increased sense of openness, togetherness, belonging, sharing, closeness, connectedness and intimacy, as well as achieving a non-intimidating access to traumatic memories, facilitating an outlet for rage and regaining a sense of self-control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Drumming
  • Group music therapy
  • PTSD
  • Soldiers
  • Trauma


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