Veterans are battling this condition with Art Therapy

Art therapy is a type of therapy that uses art to explore and interpret complex emotions.

Art therapy

The Combat Stress facility is a mental health charity that provides free help and advice to veterans of the United Kingdom.

Tyrwhitt House is a huge building located in Leatherhead on the outskirts of London. A stay at the facility is between two weeks to six weeks on an average.

Some of the treatments involve psychoeducation (helping patients understand their symptoms), one-to-one counselling, mindfulness training, and art therapy.

Senior art psychotherapist Jan Lobban at the facilty tells BuzzFeed: “It’s not about how good the art is, it’s about what it represents. It’s about self-expression and being able to externalise some things that might not be making sense. People learn about themselves through image-making.”

Many of the veterans describe hiding their PTSD under a mask in the hopes of keeping their trauma locked inside.

With art therapy, the mask comes off and they visualise their feelings. In doing so, they are able to process these feelings.

The lessons given to the veterans are theme-based, however, they do not know the theme beforehand because the goal is to get instantaneous and spontaneous response.

Some of the themes include 'rhythm' and 'journey'.

The veterans have 15 minutes to collect their thoughts and another 45 to get creative.  For some of the veterans, their artwork may be framed and displayed while others would rather much forget it.

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