Celebrating the “infinite potential of art” to help heal wounded warriors, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson, MD, spoke in support of art therapy at the 2015 Wounded Warrior Healing Arts Recognition “Show of Strength” event.
Nine service members received certificates of recognition for artistic achievement. In an interview with health.mil, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care and Policy James Rodriguez said healing-arts therapy was a key part of their recovery and rehabilitation. “Art therapy is a lifeline,” Rodriguez said. He cited research showing that participating in the arts can reduce stress hormones even for those who are used to hypervigilance. Moreover, art can help them express complex feelings they might have repressed.
“It is safe to say we are all just beginning to understand how engagement in the arts can change lives of military members affected by traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress syndrome and other conditions,” Woodson said. “We know [the arts] can be an extremely powerful tool in assisting with recovery.”
The art therapy program, which includes music and writing in addition to the visual arts, is part of the Military Healing Arts partnership between the DoD and the National Endowment for the Arts.