A Killeen clinic geared to help veterans and family members is looking at a less traditional approach to therapy by providing a free once-a-month class to the community.
A revolving group of five people gathered Thursday evening to learn about meditation techniques and poetry writing exercises at Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors, 1103 W. Stan Schlueter Loop.
The group, which included military veterans, also got a chance to read their latest works. Some poems are about everyday life, while others explore life away from the battlefield, sometimes in offbeat and surprising ways.
Casey Fogle, a life skills and outreach coordinator at Endeavors and the event organizer, said poetry and meditation can help veterans and their families speak through their trauma and also help them find acceptance.
“Everyone has this story to tell that they think or they feel is only them.” Fogle said. “When someone else around them has the courage to open up, it empowers the first person that feels so alone (to) say ‘me too.’ Whether it is family members or veterans, we want them to know there is huge strength in sharing.”
Attendees were also given a brief class in meditative breathing as well as looking at ways to find inspiration for their writing, such as through photography or reading.
Tracey Greene, commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart Centex Chapter 1876, said programs like this help her to share through a creative outlet.
“Coming to a class like this that focuses on meditation and writing, I can actually calm down from any point of anxiety because, when I am having bad thoughts, I can slow that down with breathing instead of running and talking to my therapist,” Greene said.
Greene was awarded a Purple Heart after being injured in Afghanistan from a suicide bomber that detonated, causing an explosion that threw her more than 100 feet. Greene said writing poetry helps her deal with the loss of comrades from the attack.
“It’s easier to put it out there with poetry without looking like you are crazy.” Greene said. “A lot of people think that you are crazy after you go through a traumatic issue. Often you can see the outside injuries but not the inside ones. So to make your body stop going haywire, we write it out, because we want people to see that it is OK.”
For more on the clinic and its programs, go to endeavors.org.