PTSD & Art Therapy
Information about art therapy for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and trauma, how military families and other people with PTSD use art therapy, how it can help with trauma, etc.
The following is a press release about a great program – Operation Oak Tree – that utilizes art therapy and the creative arts to help military families. Looking for related articles about the arts and military? You can read more about art therapy for PTSD.
Table of Contents:
- Press Release: Operation Oak Tree and ITA’s presentation to White House Officials
- About Operation Oak Tree
- Pre-Mobilization Programming for Military Families
- Programming for Families of a Deployed Service Member
- Reintegration Programming for Military Families
- Programming for Families of Fallen Military Service Personnel
Photo courtesy of The Big Picture
“Art therapy can engage the creative potential of individuals — especially those suffering from PTSD. Art therapy is considered a mind-body intervention that can influence physiological and psychological symptoms. The experience of expressing oneself creatively can reawaken positive emotions and address symptoms of emotional numbing in individuals with PTSD.” – Josée Leclerc, a professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies
Highlights of the study:
- 10% of Canadian soldiers exposed to war zones develop chronic PTSD
- Participants were 28-56 years of age
- Participants suffered from various problems including chronic pain, isolation depression, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, anxiety, etc.
- Themes included tolerance vs anger, grief and loss, new beginnings, etc.
- Art therapy helped soldiers evoke positive emotions
- Art therapy helped soliders externalize emotions and learn about symptoms
- Art therapy aided discussion and feelings of empathy with other veterans
- Art Therapy provides an alternative form of expression suited for those suffering from PTSD.
In an interesting bit of news, the U.S. Department of Defense is looking into using comic books as a form of art therapy. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has sent a call for proposals looking for “Online Graphic Novel/Sequential Art Authoring Tools for Therapeutic Storytelling.”
This is similar to what Mark Hogancamp did in MARWENCOL to help him recover from traumatic brain injury. DARPA is looking for someone, or a group of someones, to create the software and tools to help others achieve the same type of success. Continue reading »
One of the producers of the movie MARWENCOL sent us the following information about the new documentary. It’s about Mark Hogancamp and his recovery from traumatic brain injury through his own unique form of art therapy. It looks like a terrific movie and we’re looking forward to watching it. You can learn more about the movie below… Continue reading »
This isn’t directly related to art therapy, but it’s still very interesting news for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A study of veterans that began 6 years ago has caused a stir with its recent findings that MDMA, the active ingredient found in ecstasy, can be used to effectively treat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) began this study of MDMA and PTSD about 6 years ago in 2004. It was the first clinical trial of a psychedelic drug in 35 years.
One person was constantly angry, had haunting nightmares, and he withdrew and became isolated. He was daignosed with PTSD. He grew desperate after months of therapy, and eventually became part of the test. He swallowed a tablet, and after a few sessions assisted by ecstasy, his PTSD symptoms were “completely eliminated.”
This could be a huge breakthrough considering the seriousness and challenges that come with PTSD. Below is an article from TimesOnline.co.uk about how ecstasy (MDMA) changed Donna’s life after she was raped years before. Continue reading »
Every once in a while a truly inspiring and touching story comes along. I’d like to share one of these stories with you today. It’s a story about art therapy helping indigenous women in Australia overcome trauma. It brought tears to my eyes once before, and I was ecstatic to follow up and share with you this wonderful story again.
The following is an exclusive look into the wonderful work that Lee George is doing in Australia (want to make a difference? check out some art therapy schools in Australia) to help indigenous women overcome so much trauma. She is proof that one person can make a big difference. I’m honored to share her story and hope it is as inspiring for you as it is me. An image gallery and slide presentation are below as well. Enjoy… Continue reading »
It’s always great to see new progress when it comes to helping those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One of the more recent developments comes from the Army. A new Post Traumatic Stress Disorder program at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany arose when they realized many soldiers needed therapy more than once or twice a week.
Beginning in March of 2009, the new PTSD program is an 8-week day treatment program referred to as “evolution” at the LRMC. The program includes a variety of evidence-based treatments and while art therapy is included in these treatments, there are many additional disciplines that play a role as well. Continue reading »
Recent Research Efforts Identify Treatments with Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Recent research involving children and adolescents with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) indicates that art therapy may be a promising treatment. PTSD is an emotional disorder that may be caused by a one-time traumatic event, such as natural or man-made disaster, or by repeated traumatic experiences such as physical abuse, community violence, or maltreatment. Children and adolescents Continue reading »