Creative Insight: Art Therapy for PTSD

~Michelle Saleeba

A sensitive and insightful documentary, produced by Paul McNamara of Channel 4 News in the UK, exploring the benefits service personnel experience from using Art Therapy as a formal intervention for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is important to acknowledge that PTSD isn't only related to experiences of combat or service. The prevalence of PTSD in the general Australian population is estimated to be between 5 and 10% over the lifespan (see, Phoenix Australia). And according to research conducted by Karestan Koenan, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, far more women than men will experience PTSD.

Research continues into the best forms of treatment for PTSD. 'Best treatment' may be dependent on the type and severity of trauma exposure, and other factors unique to the individual, highlighting the importance of individualised care. Art therapy is an intervention that has been used in various forms for a long time and has a strong association with the treatment of PTSD in veteran populations. But it appears to offer benefit for treating and managing PTSD symptoms regardless of the type of trauma exposure, exactly how it works is not yet clear.

Creative Insights participant Girija Kaimal (and colleagues) in an observational study with military personnel cite that art therapy is benefici