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Art Therapy for PTSD

A programme on BBC2 on Friday 11th November 2011 provided a very interesting look at the benefits of Art Therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Working in a firm which specialises in military compensation claims, we see only too frequently the devastating effects that PTSD can have on individuals and their families. Here, art therapy was investigated as an alternative way of counselling veterans returning from war.

The programme focussed on the way veterans can express themselves through art and sculpture. The veterans interviewed in the programme explained the benefits of this, with one in particular saying that art therapy had helped him deal with his experiences in a more positive way than any other kind of therapy he had tried. Through art, the veterans are able to express their thoughts and dreams. The images produced are sometimes graphic, sometimes thoughtful, but always thought provoking.

The programme visited an Art Exhibition in Chicago, USA which specifically showcases the work of veterans who have served in wars since Vietnam. The veterans, some still visibly distressed by talking about war, spoke of the importance of having an outlet to express themselves and the positive influence of creating art on their lives.

With diagnosed instances of PTSD likely to continue rising as long as we have soldiers deployed, it is so important to deal with these “invisible wounds”.

We must consider new ways of helping these veterans come to terms, and deal with, the experiences they have had. PTSD is a devastating illness and one which we cannot overlook. There are some who simply find it too disturbing to talk about their experiences. Giving concrete form to their thoughts can provide the outlet that is so desperately needed.

These soldiers lay their lives on the line to fight for their country; we must do everything we can to look after them when they return home.

We owe these soldiers, and we must never forget that

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