Transitioning from military to civilian life can take its toll not only on ex-military personnel but their families too.

Physical and/or mental trauma can negatively impact relationships between loved ones as those directly affected struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of war.

Veterans’ difficulty transitioning to civilian life can fuel anger and frustration within a household, and leave loved ones feeling increased levels of anxiety and isolation.

PTSD is one of the most common mental health issues which arise after experiencing combat and is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

Memories of combat are not stored as normal memories and so need to be processed in a different way.

Physical injuries such as loss of limbs can also affect mental health (especially if this was the reason the soldier was discharged, ending their career unexpectedly).

The realisation that physically they no longer look the same and everyday activities may become a struggle, can be too much to address mentally, leading to depression.

Soldiers’ mental health is finally becoming a focal point and innovative new techniques are emerging to help those injured or traumatised, and their loved ones.

Among them is neurologic music therapy (NMT) – the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, affective, sensory, language and motor dysfunctions.

It is not simply music therapy. It differs based on its use of the neuroscience model in which music is a hard-wired brain language, not just a social-science model for wellbeing.

Neuroscience research suggests NMT provides specific individualised, and standardised interventions for those affected by neurologic injury or disease.

As previously mentioned, with PTSD, memories are not stored as normal memories would be. NMT is a proven, effective technique to help soldiers process their experiences in combat.

This due to the fact that talking therapies can feel distressing and intrusive, but NMT for PTSD can help an individual to self-regulate through difficult emotional states and restore social relationships by fostering feelings of belonging.

In terms of physical injury, NMT, when used alongside other therapies such as physical therapy, enables goals to be achieved sooner, due to patient engagement and the way music interacts with the sensori-motor systems of the body and brain.

Music helps re-frame rehab, to take what may be repetitive & boring and make it interesting, taking the focus off something that may be physically and mentally painful. Neurologic music therapy makes rehab more engaging, personalised and relevant.

Music therapy has been found to support families going through the adoption process, helping strengthen bonds between parent and child, to whom new family members feel more like strangers than future loved ones.

Music therapy has also been found to help improve family relationships – reducing feelings of anxiety and aggression. This type of music therapy, based on the social science model of wellbeing, may not be as effective for ex-military personnel.

But based on this framework of therapy, Neurologic music therapy can effectively help build bonds once again between ex-servicemen and women and their families.

Improving the mental health of a soldier transitioning to civilian life will enhance their home life and family bonds.

Learning how to process experiences of combat will enable veterans to better cope with the emotions that come with such memories and in turn, enable them to feel a greater sense of belonging in civilian life and be more open to rebuilding relationships with loved ones.

For the families of ex-military personnel, their loved one having the access to NMT to help alleviate their mental stress as a result of combat, will undoubtedly help them feel a greater sense of comfort and happiness at home.

Relationships between family members can begin to be repaired enhancing a feeling of belonging once again, not only within the household but within civilian life too.

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