Healing Arts and the Military Health System



Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony Mannino performs Art Therapy as part of his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) treatment and recovery. Staff Sgt. Mannino receives art and music therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center located in Bethesda, Maryland. (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Healing arts initiatives promote creative expression through art, music, writing, dance, and other artistic modalities to help Service members and Veterans express themselves in new ways and improve their quality of life — psychologically, physically, and spiritually. Individuals with opportunities to express themselves and share their stories can often better cope with the most common symptoms of today’s conflicts: post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and depression. Art, more specifically, offers a nonverbal outlet of expression where many Service members find their art to become an extension of themselves and their thoughts. This open creativity allows them to process traumatic experiences from their past and also navigate the visible and/or invisible challenges they face every day, to foster post-traumatic growth and healing.

DoD works with organizations like the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), a directorate of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which helps Service members and their families better manage their traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health (PH) conditions. The NICoE delivers a broad range of patient- and family-centered assessments and clinical offerings, encompassing traditional medicine, advanced diagnostic techniques, and integrative medicine. Creative Arts Therapy, a NICoE Outpatient Service, is comprised of the NICoE Healing Arts Program.


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