The news and research behind mask-making for veterans with PTSD/TBI

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UPDATE!! Recently, this research has been identified as #6 on T&F! Wow, way to go to Art Therapist Melissa Walker and the research team!

Main-stream news and magazine articles

National Geographic –

Why is this therapeutic approach so effective?

MW: Someone who has experienced trauma has a block that keeps them from verbalizing what they’ve been through. There is a shutdown in the [convolution of] Broca-the part of the brain responsible for speech and language. The mask gives them a way to explain themselves. The concrete image of the mask unleashes words. It reintegrates the left and right hemispheres. Now they can discuss their feelings with their social worker or psychiatrist.

** Here is the Art Therapist Melissa Walker in a TED talk presentation. It is worth the watch!!

She gives the story of an active-duty member while deployed, who experienced a large mortar attack and saw a bloody face. This vision of a “Bloody face in bunker” (BFIB) haunted him for seven years. That is until Art Therapy came along! See the research study below to see the clinical process of the veteran making a mask, and letting go of his vision.

** The RESEARCH study!!

— Art Therapy interventions for active duty military service members with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury

— Art therapy for PTSD and TBI: A senior active duty military service member’s therapeutic journey

Active-duty military service members’ visual representations of PTSD and TBI in masks

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