Outcomes of Art Therapy Treatment for Military Service Members with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-traumatic Stress at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

  • Melissa S. WalkerEmail author
Part of the Springer Series on Bio- and Neurosystems book series (SSBN, volume 10)


Recent conflicts of war have resulted in what are being referred to as the “invisible wounds of war.” Complex, comorbid conditions in military service members (SMs) and veterans, including TBI and PTSD, have prompted clinicians and researchers to explore treatments which address this population’s unique needs, including personalized care in which the SM can meaningfully engage. Since 2010, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) has designed and implemented an interdisciplinary care model which incorporates the creative art therapies for SMs with TBI/PTSD and other associated psychological health conditions. Art therapy programming and research outcomes were presented at the 2017 International Conference on Mobile-Brain Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity conference held in Valencia, Spain. Key findings when examining art therapy for SMs with TBI/PTSD include the need for individualized care for this unique population, including treatment which allows for safe expression of traumatic and emotional content, the fostering of a sense of belonging within community, as well as the use of art therapy as an assessment tool. Future need for prospective, controlled, multi-site research in art therapy has been implicated and is outlined in the Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network’s Clinical Research: A Strategic Framework and Five-Year Agenda (2018–2022).


Art therapy Military Veterans Service members Traumatic brain injury Post-traumatic stress 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Walter Reed National Military Medical CenterBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, National Endowment for the ArtsWashington, D.C.USA

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