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Written by Lynn Goya
Hoping that expanded services will improve the quality of life of veterans that they serve, the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center recently added an art therapy program that should help hospitalized veterans work through their feelings.
The new program was developed by an artist who works at the center and may set precedent as one of the few art therapy programs in the country available through approximately 150 VA hospitals. The artist, Susan Brookreson, drew on her skills as an artist and teacher to customize the program for veterans. She used art therapy programs developed for students of all ages and abilities to as a basis for the veteran’s art therapy program.
The program was first reported on by the Martinsburg Journal and says that Brookreson puts the art on the walls so that fellow veterans can enjoy and comment upon each other’s works.
“I had used my arts therapy coursework in my education and teaching, but when I was asked if I would like to do some therapeutic art here as a volunteer, I thought that was great and it really has been an amazing journey,” Brookreson told the journal.
The facility’s medical director, Ann Brown, also lauded the program saying that she has seen a positive response from the veterans. “This is part of our Plane Tree Journey, which is about understanding that there is more than just medical care in keeping people healthy or helping them get well. Health care is more than just taking someone’s blood pressure, it is trying to understand the whole person,” she said.