Since the earliest days of humanity, art has been used as a way for us to express thoughts and ideas, as well as reproducing scenery, events, and even people themselves. In the 20th century though, the perception of art expanded beyond expression and into a method of treatment. In England, artist Adrian Hill first began to align how art could be used for therapeutic purposes. What makes art therapy unique from other forms of treatment and therapy, is that it can create a new way for patients to communicate their feelings and experiences as it pertains to the trauma they may have endured.
For service members, offering an alternative way to communicate can be a key to helping address the mental conditions they’ve been afflicted with as a result of their service. Stigmas about mental health are abundant, especially in the military world. That makes it crucial to find new methods of treatment that can open the lines of communication between practitioner and patient in a new, less imposing way. The process of creating art often eliminates the need for verbal/written communication all together. Invisible wounds of war such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) coupled with mental health stigmas can sometimes make it difficult for our military heroes, or anyone afflicted with these injuries, to properly communicate how they’re feeling. Applying the techniques of art therapy can supersede the challenges of communicating verbally that might be present after a traumatic experience/event and teaches the brain to create new solutions to the communication challenges being faced.
Art therapy programs can be tailored to open new doors in order to develop and transform the understanding and reaction to a traumatic event. Several studies now show definitively that art therapy has been successful in helping service members combat TBI & PTS. That’s why it’s a part of the interdisciplinary method of treatments at many of our Intrepid Spirit Centers.
With Intrepid Spirit Centers on their side, our military heroes are not only getting the treatment they need against the war within, they’re winning it. More than 90% of patients treated in the centers are able to continue on Active Duty and enjoy a productive life. With 8 centers completed and 2 more planned, art therapy is helping heal our heroes in new and innovative ways. Help us break ground on our next Intrepid Spirit Center with a donation today.
Source: Herman, Jessica. “Create, Destroy, Transform… Resiliency Through Art Therapy”. 2019
Posted on February 18 2019 in Blog