05. January 2012 · Comments Off on Can Art Heal? · Categories: Read Online

I do not doubt that it can.

Lt Col Ron Capps has no doubt that writing about his wartime experiences saved his life – and now he has the chance to help provide the scientific proof.

Over 25 years in the army and a career in the foreign service, he witnessed five different wars. He served in Rwanda, Kosovo and Afghanistan, where he was treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

He went to Iraq, and later in Darfur, Sudan, he attempted suicide.

“My medications weren’t working and I was self-medicating with whatever I could find lying around,” he says.

“I was having a lot of problems and one of the things I found that really helped me was writing. I wrote my way home.”

Anatomy of the brain

Ms Walker says making art lifts a burden from the vets’ shoulders
Now Lt Col Capps is running creative writing workshops at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), a new military medical facility at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, that offers holistic healing for brain trauma and other invisible wounds of war.

And for the first time, neurologists there will attempt to discover how creative writing and other arts therapies physically affect the brain.

“We have in this facility the technology to look in great detail at the anatomy of the brain and the function of the brain,” says NICoE Director Dr James Kelly.

“No other location in the country has all this in one place.”

Dr Kelly’s team is now creating a series of tests to monitor the brain’s metabolism and magnetic impulses as patients are exposed to writing, painting and music.


Do note that it’s about the participation in the arts rather than the observation (although I’m sure going to a concert or a gallery can also provide healing moments) they are talking about.

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