Comic Books Can Provide Therapy for Veterans
Military War Veterans and those still in service often suffer from the stress of combat (PTSD), survivor’s guilt, grief, and even brain injury. It’s not uncommon for people suffering to turn to substance abuse to cope, become depressed, or even become suicidal.
While one should always seek the help of a professional, studies have found that art can be used to help overcome some of these stress related feelings. This type of therapy is called Art Therapy.
What is Art Therapy?
The concept of using art as therapy isn’t new, though it may surprise some people to learn how impactful it can be.
As defined by VeryWellMind, “Art therapy is a therapeutic technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being” Art allows one to “explore their emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills.”
Techniques used in art therapy can include various artforms. Whether a patient is drawing, painting, sculpting, or creating a comic book - the act of expression and exploration through art will positively affect their emotions, thoughts, and habits.
Patients do not need to be skilled or have special artistic talents to benefit either. The simple act of creating and expressing one’s self is enough.
How Comic Books Are Used as Art Therapy
A relatable way to use art as therapy is through comic books. For example, the non-profit known as Veteran Comic Con offers programs for Veterans and their families to learn how to create comic books as a way to promote well-being.
Veteran and comic book artist, Anthony Dubose-McCree says “I’m a Veteran myself and whatever feelings that I might be holding in, I’m able to put it on to my characters.” For Veterans, comic books combine artistic expression through illustration, self-exploration through narrative, and community interaction through readership and comic book conventions.
According to the Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health, through the practice of art therapy, “patients with PTSD experienced at least three significant outcomes: 1) the ability to express thoughts which could not previously be verbalized, 2) improved social relationships which led to reduced social detachment, and 3) a general reduction in re-experiencing, hyper-vigilance and avoidance/ emotional numbing symptom clusters with notable improvements in experiencing less anxiety, being able to control intrusive thoughts, and feeling less emotionally numb.”
How to Get Involved in Art Therapy
Given how impactful Art Therapy can be for Veterans, it is important that it is offered to Veterans as early and conveniently as possible. Often, this means you should search for non-profit organizations that operate outside of the VA.
For example, Veteran Comic Con is a non-profit currently soliciting volunteers to help support well-being through artistic expression. Veteran Comic Con’s programs and activities are designed to be a catalyst that helps community members reach their goals and fulfill their potential.
In fact, if you are an art instructor, just want to volunteer, or if you’re a Veteran seeking Art Therapy, then you should visit www.VeteranComicCon.org and become a volunteer or member today!