The transition from active duty to civilian life often presents veterans with a complex tapestry of emotional and psychological challenges. The echoes of battlefield experiences can seep into daily routines, turning the quest for peace and normalcy into an ongoing journey.

Art therapy has become effective, offering veterans a distinctive pathway to expression, healing, and self-discovery. Join us as we outline the top five benefits for veterans and their families of how a creative arts therapy program can harness the power of creativity and pave the way to a more centered and harmonious future.

Transformations Mending Fences offers this therapeutic approach alongside our specialized veterans treatment program. We focus on providing innovative treatment methods to military veterans facing mental health issues and substance abuse.

1. Creative Art Therapies Have Proven Track Records

Military Service Members with post-traumatic stress disorder using an art therapy program as a life-changing process

The most significant benefit of art therapy for veterans is that it works. This is more than just a promising therapeutic offering that might provide benefits. Studies have repeatedly shown the effectiveness of creative arts therapies, and the Department of Veterans Affairs recognized the advantages long before the therapy became widely used by the general public.

The Veterans Health Administration is clear about the effectiveness of art therapy for returning vets:

The [VA] has provided free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalized and homebound veterans for generations. The creative arts program helps injured and recuperating veterans… manage stress and substance abuse [and] cope with symptoms of PTSD and TBI, while also improving their self-esteem and overall physical and mental health.

While many new therapeutic offerings show promise, the benefits of art therapy have long been established.

Even before the mental health crisis among veterans was fully understood, the Armed Forces utilized therapeutic arts and crafts to help returning service members.

2. Creative Arts Therapists for PTSD are Instrumental for Overcoming Mental Wounds

Most people understand that PTSD is a severe problem for veterans. Unfortunately, many don’t realize just how big this problem is. Up to 20 percent of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from the condition. As of the last count, 15 percent of Vietnam vets had the same issue. Fortunately, one of the many benefits of art therapy for vets is that it targets PTSD.

While an art therapy program wasn’t created solely to deal with posttraumatic stress, many clinical outcomes improve symptoms. Consider the following results of therapy:

  • Heightened bodily awareness: Veterans with PTSD often feel disconnected and dissociated from their bodies. Increasing bodily awareness is vital.
  • Stress relief: PTSD comes with a high-stress level, which can worsen other issues like depression, anxiety and flashbacks. Reducing stress is paramount.
  • Trauma processing: PTSD stems directly from traumatic experiences. Being able to process this trauma is necessary for healing.
  • Heightened dopamine: Studies have discovered that art therapy increases dopamine. This is invaluable since PTSD drives these levels down.

Anyone can develop posttraumatic stress disorder, but the condition is an epidemic among Armed Forces members. Even if this treatment only targeted issues related to PTSD, the benefits of art therapy for veterans would still make it an essential approach. Fortunately, the advantages go far beyond a single condition.

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3. Art Therapy for Veterans Does What Conventional Addiction or Mental Health Treatment Cannot

When helping veterans with PTSD, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used treatment option. Unfortunately, it only targets two of PTSD’s three symptom clusters. This means it’s effective, but it also has its flaws. Fortunately, art therapy has proven effective at targeting the third symptom cluster of PTSD.

This is why Transformations Mending Fences offers an array of therapeutic options—having more tools to work with increases the chances of success. Contact us today to learn more about how our holistic approach can help you.

4. Art Therapy for Veterans Aid with Substance Abuse

A veteran creating art with other trauma survivors, showing that creative arts therapies aren't just for former Military members...

Overcoming substance abuse is more than just a benefit of art therapy for veterans. After all, about 10 percent of Americans report dealing with substance abuse disorder at some point. Unfortunately, the problem is even worse for vets.

Those who served have higher rates of addiction than the public, and nearly one-third of vets living with addiction also have PTSD. This makes art therapy one of the most important tools for treating veterans.

Even though it’s a complementary approach, its benefits cannot be overlooked.

5. Art Therapy Provides Insight and Externalizes Emotions

Many mental health therapies that help former service members successfully provide insight and externalize emotions. This is a major benefit of art therapy for veterans. Countless people with military backgrounds simply don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves verbally.

Fortunately, art therapy allows them to do so visually. This also facilitates verbal communication; discussions about their art can provide insight. Even if art therapy’s only benefit were helping vets express their feelings, it would be an integral part of any treatment program.

Need More Information?

Call now to be connected with one of our friendly, helpful admissions specialists.

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The Benefits of Art Therapy for Veterans at Transformation Mending Fences

The hurdles returning service members face are many, and they very often lead to dark times for our vets. These issues were far too long swept under the rug, but that’s no longer the case. If you or a loved one is facing difficulties — whether substance abuse or mental health-related — help is available. It all starts with a phone call.

Certified therapists and professionals staff Transformations Mending Fences, and we understand there’s no “one-size-fits-all solution” to mental wellness. This doesn’t mean the benefits of art therapy for veterans aren’t promising, but we’ll create a customized treatment plan that caters to your specific needs.

Whether you need art therapy for PTSD or one of the many other issues veterans face, contact us today to get on the path to physical and mental wellness.