psychotherapy veterans

Art therapy and Psychotherapy with Canadian Veterans

By Talia Singer

Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs Canada (2015) included psychotherapy services as a part of their benefit grid. Canadian Veterans living in Ontario may now access mental health services by a registered psychotherapist. This new expansion of mental health services is part of greater recognition of psychotherapy as an evidence based treatment modality for mental health and wellbeing.

Veterans are also increasingly seeking alternative and complementary health care options to help deal with the aftermath of war (Kroesen, Baldwin, Brooks, & Bell, 2002). Veterans who received eight or more sessions of psychotherapy were found to have lessened symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression (Mott, Hundt, Sansgiry, Mignogna & Cully, 2014).

Finding a provider that is approved by Blue Cross is the first step to seeking psychotherapy support.

Art Therapy with Veterans

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which can be beneficial to people of all ages, including adults who have emotional, cognitive, and /or physical disabilities. For Veterans who are receiving psychiatric care, art therapy can be an effective form of treatment, either as an adjunct to other therapies or as a form of individual psychotherapy.  Art can provide emotional relief, expression of feelings, relaxation techniques and improved self-esteem.  Stimulating the mind through the arts can repair the mind-body connection that has been lost to trauma.

Finally, any form of psychotherapy artistic or otherwise is a non-judgmental forum to grieve, let go and find some peace of mind.

References

American Art Therapy Association (n.d.). Art therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans. Retrieved from: http://www.arttherapy.org/upload/file/RMveteransPTSD.pdf

Department of Veterans Affairs Canada. (2015). Benefit Grid. Retrieved from: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/treatment-benefits/poc/poc_search/details/240230?prov=ON

Kroesen, K., Baldwin, C. M., Brooks, A. J., & Bell, I. R. (2002). US military veterans’ perceptions of the conventional medical care system and their use of complementary and alternative medicine. Family Practice19(1), 57-64.

Mott, J. M., Hundt, N. E., Sansgiry, S., Mignogna, J., & Cully, J. A. (2014). Changes in psychotherapy utilization among veterans with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Psychiatric Services.

Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N. P., Desarnaud, F., Makotkine, I., Lehrner, A. L., Koch, E., … & Bierer, L. M. (2013). Epigenetic biomarkers as predictors and correlates of symptom improvement following psychotherapy in combat veterans with PTSD. Frontiers in psychiatry4.

Talia Singer, RN, RP, MS is a psychiatric nurse, art therapist and registered psychotherapist working at Acutoronto Wellness Clinic. She is an approved Blue Cross mental health care provider. Contact Acutoronto to book an appointment today at (416) 486-5222.