I was privileged to be invited to attend this summit about expressive therapies with the military, held at NIH at the end of February. We heard about how helpful the arts therapies are with the military populations in all kinds of settings, including art therapy, music therapy, and poetry therapy. There was agreement that these therapies need to be at the forefront of service members' treatment, but the largest obstacle is implementation.
Third National Summit: Advancing Research in the Arts for Health and Well-being Across the Military Continuum
(on left) Melissa Walker, MA, ATR, Art Therapist/Healing Arts Program Coordinator at National Intrepid Center of Excellence, with the cover of National Geographic Magazine’s February, 2015 issue, featuring her work (and pictured with Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, AATA President-Elect).
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 1:50pm
March 11, 2015 /3BL Media/ - American Art Therapy Association delegates and art therapists who work with military service members proudly represented the art therapy profession at this recent event in Washington, DC. The National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military advances the arts in healthcare for veterans, service members, their families, and caregivers. The Summit is sponsored by Americans for the Arts and hosted by the NIH National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The day-long program examined the critical research needs impacting veterans, military service members, and their families in promoting health and well-being from pre-deployment to reintegration.
Centered on the evidence base addressing efficacy of the creative arts therapies in treating service members and veterans, presentations emphasized topics delineated in the NIAHM White Paper and Blueprint for Action. Dr. Donna Betts, ATR-BC, AATA President-Elect and George Washington University art therapy professor, co-conducted an engaging break-out session on “Arts-Based Research and Innovative Tools across Military/Veterans Settings.” This panel and discussion presented innovative programs designed to support military service members and veterans. Betts discussed her research with The Warrior Stories Platform, a Department of Defense DARPA-funded project that incorporates graphic novel authoring in computer format, integrated into art therapy clinical treatment planning for veterans with PTSD. Discussion focused on how such projects can inform practice and research and support collaborations across military treatment facilities and VA clinical settings.
Cynthia Woodruff, AATA’s Executive Director, was proud to be in the company of art therapists dedicated to serving our military service members, including Melissa Walker (NICoE), Jackie Biggs (Fort Belvoir), Rosemarie Rogers (VA Hudson Valley), Laura Spinelli (VA Connecticut Healthcare), and Rebekah Wiggins (Charles George VA Medical Center). The AATA successfully represented the profession of art therapy at this important event, which clearly signifies increasing public awareness of credentialed and board-certified art therapists as uniquely equipped to treat the mental health needs of our service members.
About the American Art Therapy Association
The American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA) is an organization of professionals dedicated to the belief that making art is healing and life enhancing. Its mission is to serve its members and the general public by providing standards of professional competence and developing and promoting knowledge in, and of, the field of art therapy.
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