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Military Health System

Creative Arts Therapies

Creative Arts Therapies are an integral part of the treatment process at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE). Watch the videos below to learn more about art therapy, music therapy and dance therapy.

Art Therapy

Art therapists are master’s-level behavioral health professionals who are trained to use art as a vehicle for non-verbal thoughts, emotions, and experiences. At the NICoE, service members have freedom of self-expression and use a wide range of media such as painting, sculpting, drawing, wood-burning, collaging, and creative writing. Trauma survivors struggle to put their experience into words, and art therapy can enable them to find their voice. By working with imagery, the emotional brain, and the physical body, art therapy helps to integrate and restore a sense of control over these painful memories.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is the clinical use of music-based interventions to accomplish therapeutic and rehabilitative goals which extend to skills, behaviors, and relationships beyond the musical context. The NICoE program offers service members various opportunities for exploring connections with themselves and with others through the music they listen to or create. Songs can be a meaningful space for processing a traumatic memory or sensory experience, and playing an instrument may provide engaging ways to exercise the post-injury brain.

Dance and Movement Therapy

Dance and Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical parts of a person in order to improve health and well-being. This brings the body into the treatment process to address behavioral health and rehabilitative goals.

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Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/23/2022
Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Adrienne Stamper, an art therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), provides a window into the process of healing through art therapy. Art therapists are master’s-level behavioral health professionals who are trained to use art as a vehicle for non-verbal thoughts, emotions, and experiences. At NICoE, the service members have freedom of self-expression and use a wide range of media such as painting, sculpting, drawing, wood-burning, collaging, and creative writing. Stamper explains the scientific basis for why traumatic survivors struggle to put their experience into words, and how art therapy can enable them to find their voice. By working with imagery, the emotional brain, and the physical body, art therapy helps to integrate and restore a sense of control over these painful memories. Stamper walks us through the studio, sharing stories of service members who found healing through art therapy, and shows us the faces of the invisible wounds of war.

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The National Intrepid Center of Excellence | Creative Arts Therapies

Dance and Movement Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/16/2022
Dance and Movement Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Liz Freeman, lead dance/movement therapist; and Kristine Keliiki, dance/movement therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), discuss the many ways they use dance movement therapy (DMT) to help patients at the NICoE. DMT is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical parts of a person in order to improve health and well-being. This brings the body into the treatment process to address behavioral health and rehabilitative goals. Freeman and Keliiki also discuss the history of DMT, citing its birth through a dance for communication program in the Federal Psychiatric Hospital St. Elizabeth’s in the 1940s. March 13 to 19 is Creative Arts Therapies Week. To celebrate, the NICoE created videos highlighting a day in the life of some of our creative art therapies at the NICoE. This video is part of a multipart series.

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The National Intrepid Center of Excellence | Creative Arts Therapies

Music Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/16/2022
Music Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Nate McLaughlan is a board-certified music therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE). In this video, he discusses the many way music therapy can help patients at the NICoE. He explains that music therapy uses music-based experiences to address identified symptoms and goals with a music therapist who is trained to use elements of music to promote physical, mental, and social health. McLaughlan also describes the different approaches he takes with NICoE patients. They vary from introducing someone to playing an instrument for the first time, revisiting an instrument, figuring out listening strategies, organizing an intentional playlist, and writing music. The music therapy program at the NICoE helps service members and their loved ones connect with themselves and others through music listening, discussion, and making. A unique part of the NICoE music therapy program is each cohort of service members experience interventions as a group, helping ease them into this journey together. March 13 to 19 is Creative Arts Therapies Week. To celebrate, the NICoE created videos highlighting a day in the life of some of our creative art therapies at the NICoE. This video is part of a multipart series.

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The National Intrepid Center of Excellence | Creative Arts Therapies
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Last Updated: May 12, 2022
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