Art therapy is a way of using art to help people process their emotions and deal with trauma. It's been especially helpful for veterans who may have trouble expressing themselves verbally. By creating art, they can work through their feelings and start to heal.
The Department of Veterans Affairs started the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in 1989. This festival lets veterans show off their artwork in a national competition. It's a great way for them to feel good about themselves and gain confidence. Thousands of veterans have taken part in the festival over the years and many have found that it's helped them with their mental health.
There are also art therapy programs just for veterans. One of these is the Military Healing Arts program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. They use different types of art, like painting and photography, to help veterans express themselves and work through their emotions. Research has shown that art therapy can be really helpful for veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions. A study from 2018 found that veterans who did art therapy had fewer symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Another study found that art therapy can also help veterans improve their social skills and relationships.
In short, art therapy is a great way for veterans to deal with the emotional effects of war. Programs like the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival and the Military Healing Arts program are helping veterans express themselves and start to heal. With more research and support, art therapy can keep helping veterans get the help they need.
We will be posting more about how art therapy has been proven to help veterans, military members, as well as civilians who have been impacted by combat, trauma, and tragedy in the coming weeks as the new website gets developed.
Do you have a knack for writing and an interest in all things military or veteran-related? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your stories and we will feature it!
Jaeson "Doc" Parsons
- "National Veterans Creative Arts Festival." U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed 11 March 2023, https://www.va.gov/NVCAF/.
- "Military Healing Arts Program." Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, accessed 11 March 2023, https://www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil/Research-and-Education/Centers-and-Programs/Military-Healing-Arts-Program/.
- Kaimal, Girija, Kendra Ray, and Megan Muniz Johnson. "Evidence-based art therapy practice: A review of the literature." International Journal of Art Therapy, vol. 23, no. 2, 2018, pp. 58-68.
- Price, Margaret, et al. "Art therapy with military populations: A scoping review." Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, vol. 37, no. 4, 2020, pp. 313-325.
- Schouten, Karen A., et al. "Art therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials." Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 31, no. 4, 2018, pp. 490-500.