The most important part of any medical recovery after a traumatic brain injury happens during the immediate days, weeks and months following the accident. However, what happens after someone has stabilized and is now dealing with the permanent effects of disability, emotional challenges, cognitive difficulties and memory challenges? Is there still room for improvement?
According to many people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, art therapy can be very helpful. In fact, many military veterans with brain injuries are currently benefiting from different kinds of art therapy programs.
How military veterans are benefiting from art therapy
At the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, doctors are working with service members to offer them various types of art therapy while treating their traumatic brain injuries. The art therapy program at Walter Reed begins with the painting of masks. The therapist tells the patient that they can express and symbolize whatever they want regarding who they are and what they've gone through with their masks.
The patients receive encouragement to do whatever they like and not worry about the "quality" of their art, but more about the things they wish to express and the stories they wish to tell. According to an art therapist at Walter Reed, the patients usually get to work immediately. She said that even the skeptical ones find it relaxing and they are surprised at how much they can open up about who they are because the masks give them "a visual voice to their invisible pain or their invisible wounds."
The art therapy program at Walter Reed is part of a larger program in which military veterans stay at the facility to receive medicinal therapies, physical therapy and other types of therapy. The mask-painting session lasts two hours and it's one of the first things patients do when they arrive. They'll get to keep their mask and continue seeing it throughout their stay at the facility.
What kind of therapies could benefit your traumatic brain injury?
Sculpting, mask making and painting are just a few of the artistic outlets medical specialists use to assist brain injury victims with sleep and migraines, physical ailments and emotional support. Specialists note that everyone can benefit from the evolution of progress patients make as they become more comfortable with alternative forms of therapy.
Aside from art therapy, there are many other kinds of treatments for traumatic brain injury that accident victims can benefit from. However, these therapies may be cost-prohibitive for patients to afford on their own. One way to pay for these and other traumatic brain injury therapies may involve pursuing a lawsuit to hold those at fault for the accident and injuries financially responsible for their negligence.