By Wendy Kagan, via Chronogram
Featured Image Source: Otago Daily Times
This article features Bessel van der Kolk, MD who will be presenting Trauma, Body, and the Brain: Restoring the Capacity for Rhythm and Play at Hollyhock on August 14-19, 2016.
In January 2011, a 9mm bullet, fired point-blank from the gun of a mentally ill assailant, passed through the left rear of Gabrielle Giffords’s head and exited just over her left eye. The Arizona congresswoman, who had been meeting with constituents in front of a supermarket near Tucson, would survive—despite massive trauma to the left side of her brain, the regions that control vision, movement, and speech. After surgery and intensive therapy, some 10 months later Giffords could respond to TV journalist Diane Sawyer’s interview questions with mostly one-word answers—yet she could sing all the lyrics of “Tomorrow” from the Broadway show “Annie.” Struggling to find language, she would call a chair a “spoon,” but she could belt out all the words to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” It was music that helped pave a road back to speech, and it was music that—in the form of a guitar-strumming therapist by her side to help organize her movements—even supported Giffords’s steps as she relearned how to walk.
“Drama, song, writing, and other expressive activities are more effective than talk therapy.”