Art Gives a Lifeline to Veterans Coping with Trauma

recent article in the Los Angeles Times highlighted the growing relationship between trauma, art, and healing, particularly in the context of military veterans. For one veteran, Sgt. Mike Dowling, creative writing was a profound vehicle healing. "Writing that book was a cathartic experience," said Dowling, speaking to the LA times. "Once I got it down on paper, it felt OK to talk about what had been deeply repressed, painful feelings. I found that through writing, I could actually channel some of the energy of certain memories and images into artistic reflections that were empowering."

According to the article, “Art therapy has long been a component of school counseling departments, acute care hospitals and nursing homes. But now it's also being tapped by veterans' agencies and clinics for its value as a constructive expression of states of mind both extreme and inescapable.”

For those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, art is often one of the only ways to explore deep feelings of pain in a way that is expressive and liberating. For one expert, Tess Banko, executive director of the UCLA Veteran Family Wellness Center and a Marine Corps veteran, the key is the role that art plays in promoting love. "It is important to know that someone loves you — even it is only you — and that is where artistic expression can really make a difference."

Read the full article here.

Published: May 28, 2018