Art Therapy in the Military

650 Words3 Pages
More and more American service members are returning home from their combat tours with an illness that can be life altering. Many feel “the nation has an obligation to do everything possible to improve care for [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] PTSD” (Collie, Bakos, Malchiodi, and Spiegel 158). PTSD is a condition that is affecting many service members across all branches of service. Many different types of medicines or coping mechanisms have been found. One such mechanism is art, more specifically, art therapy. One artist identified as being a pioneer of art therapy was Edward Adamson, thus he has been called the father of art therapy in Britain. Art class by many is considered as a waste of time. To my fellow service members, art class is a way to deal with both the physical and psychological scars suffered during combat. Their sacrifices give those students thinking art is a waste of time the freedom to think that way. Adamson partnered with another artist named Adrian Hill, who began teaching drawing and painting to injured Soldiers returning from combat in 1938, before art therapy was coined as being “art therapy”. While art therapy has been used for treatment of combat vets, combat vets have had a long history of using art therapy as a means of self-expression or rehabilitation. During WWII, most camps had little to no building materials for improving the condition of the barracks’. Soldiers began thinking of ways to improve the living conditions and make them more comfortable. Soldiers began, enhancing the interior by creating something out of nothing, they made chairs and tables out of whatever they could find such as scrap wood. They also created garden by planting flowers’, and vegetables’ and when not available they used rocks. Thus, making something aesthetically appealing was adopted. Art therapy has come along since Edward Adamson introduced it in the
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