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Among the many health benefits of art therapies for our nation’s Veteran’s are an alleviation of PTSD and TBI symptoms, improvements in overall wellness, better moods, improved outlook on life, stress reduction, more healthy interpersonal relationships, and reduced anxiety.

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Visual Arts


Dance V
Empowerment-Focused Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma Recovery

Researchers in 2022 examined how dance therapy helped in healing trauma. They found that participants were able to build new psychophysical capacities through expanding expressive freedom, strengthening self-esteem and developing new emotional resources.

Yoga for Veterans with PTSD

In 2020 a study was conducted to examine the impact of yoga intervention on cognitive functioning, PTSD symptoms and the biological stress response in Veterans. Statistically significant improvements were observed on PTSD, depression, sleep, quality of life and subjective neurocognitive complaints.

Pilot Data on Effects of Community Dance for Veterans with PTSD and Their Family Members

Researchers conducted a study in 2019 to test the effects of a community dance program to treat symptoms of PTSD. They found improvements in wellness scores for all participants and concluded there is promise in treating some of the most persistent symptoms of PTSD in Veterans and their families with dance programs.

Dance/Movement Therapy & Warrior Wellness

In 2019, Dr. Allison Winters Fisher from Saybrook University analyzed the effectiveness of dance/movement therapy-based mind-body wellness programs that is part of a larger integrative program for military service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her results indicate potential increases in mind-body awareness for patients, as well as a possible shift in movement flow.

Telehealth-Based Creative Arts Therapy: Transforming Mental Health and Rehabilitation Care for Rural Veterans

A group of University of Florida (Gainesville) researchers studied the results of telehealth dance therapy for Veterans living in rural areas and therefore far from medical centers. They found that dance/movement therapy supports participants’ mediation of physical sensations, emotional regulation, cognitive functioning and social interactions. Veterans reported improved experiences in each of these domains when completing homework between sessions.


Music/Singing V
Implementing Music Therapy Through Telehealth: Considerations for Military Populations

Researchers in 2022 examined how music therapy through telehealth could impact military members. They found that participants positively responded to music therapy and reported decreases in pai, anxiety and depression.

Treatment Description and Case Series Report of a Phased Music Therapy Group to Support Veteran Reintegration

In 2021, researchers at Creative Forces examined how music therapy helped Veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life. They found that this therapy has shown efficacy in resilience-building by raising awareness of personal struggles, providing opportunities for participants to step outside of their comfort oznes through structure risk-taking, and allowing clients to take priced in their creativity.

Group Music Intervention Using Percussion Instruments to Reduce Anxiety Among Elderly Male Veterans with Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers in Taiwan completed a study in 2021 aimed at assessing the impact of a group music intervention on anxiety and depression of elderly male Veterans with dementia. Their results found a significant reduction in anxiety levels following the 12-week music session and concluded that participating in a group music intervention reduced anxiety symptoms for elderly male Veterans with dementia.

Songs Created by Military Service Members in Music Therapy: A Retrospective Analysis

In a 2019 study researchers conducted the first study examining the effects of songwriting in a military population. They concluded that songwriting enabled service members to share their thoughts, emotions, fears and hopes with family, friends and other providers, often for the first time, and as such played an important role in their personal growth and recovery process.

Music Therapy Applied to Complex Blast Injury in Interdisciplinary Care

Researchers from Harvard University and Drexel University in 2018 conducted a trial with Veterans and music therapy. They found that music therapy optimized the rehabilitation of a service member through assisting the recovery process on a continuum from clinic to community. They also found that music therapy with traditional disciplines can enhance treatment outcomes in functional domains of motor, speech, cognition, social integration and quality of life for military populations; music therapists can help ease discomfort and difficulty associated with rehabilitation activities; music therapy assists treatment processes from clinic to community, making it highly valued by the patient and family; and music therapy provides a platform to prevent social isolation by promoting community integration through music performance.


Theater V
The Theatre as Therapy for Military Veterans? Exploring the Mechanisms Which Impact Psychosocial Well-Being and Social Connections During Theatre-Based Programmes

In 2021, researchers in the United Kingdom released the results of a study that provided unique insight into the benefits of theatre-based programmes on the psychosocial well-being of military Veterans. Results showed that these programs were beneficial.

A Trauma-Informed Analysis of Monologues Constructed by Military Veterans in a Theater-Based Treatment Program

A study in 2020 involved the analysis of ten trauma monologues written by military members. Based on their work, the researchers concluded that creative arts therapies can be extremely beneficial in treating the effects of trauma in military populations.

A Pilot Study on Playback Theatre as a Therapeutic Aid

Researchers in 2020 studied the impact of playback theatre performances on levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD. Their results showed that both anxiety and PTSD symptoms significantly decreased.

Thawing Out: Therapy Through Theatre with Canadian Military Veterans

Researchers in Canada conducted a study in 2019 in which military Veterans, with the support of artists, community members and counselors, performed what it means to transition back to civilian life after serving their country. They had unexpectedly found that the several of the Veterans’ engagement with art-making and performing extended their own therapy, leading to significant personal changes.

Examining the Effects of Role Play Practice in Enhancing Clinical Skills to Assess and Manage Suicide Risk

Because of the high risk of suicide among Veterans, researchers in 2019 examined the effects of role playing on behavioral control surrounding suicide risk assessment behaviors. They found that this training endorsed positive attitudes, social norms and perceived behavioral control in suicide risk assessment, especially in assessing/determining the severity of risk, establishing rapport, documenting risk assessment information and developing a treatment plan.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts V
A Case Analysis of Service-Member Trauma Processing Related to Art Therapy Within a Military-Intensive Outpatient Program

Researchers in 2023 investigated the effectiveness of art therapy to treat military trauma as part of a comprehensive integrative treatment program. Their results showed that an art therapy program enabled military service personal to identify and articulate the complexity of their lingering trauma symptoms, fostering improvement in their communication with other treatment providers and loved ones, which in turn led to improvements in their overall quality of life.

Long-Term Art Therapy Clinical Interventions with Military Service Members with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress

Comparative treatment methods were compared in 2021 to observe if art therapy aided in treating Veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD. The researchers found that those participating in the art therapy program were especially helped with frustration tolerance, grief and loss, emotion regulation, personal insight, resiliency and trauma processing.

A Case Analysis of Service-Member Trauma Processing Related to Art Therapy Within a Military-Intensive Outpatient Program

In 2020, researchers from the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state conducted a study using mask making to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The results suggest that art therapy and written narrative, combined with standardized self-report assessments, may improve PTSD treatment.

Artopia: Creative Healing with Veterans

A 2020 collaborative study between the University of Texas Arlington’s Art and the Veterans Assistance Program examined how art therapy could benefit Veterans’ mood states and psychological distress. Findings indicated an overall significant positive mood state increase before and after art therapy. Moreover, Veteran participants perceived benefits of engaging in art therapy were positive.

Quantitatively Improved Treatment Outcomes for Combat-Associated PTSD with Adjunctive Art Therapy

In 2019, Dr. Kathleen Decker and other researchers conducted a study with Veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the inclusion of art therapy in their treatment. They found that the Veterans who received the art therapy had statistically significantly greater reduction in PTSD and depression compared to the control group.

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