We've blogged recently about the potential for art therapy to treat combat trauma and PTSD -- not instead of other types of therapy, but in addition to them -- here and here. One very good article from about a year ago is worth including in the discussion. The article, by Jackie Spinner, was published April 15, 2007 in the Washington Post, and it's called "War's Pain, Softened with a Brush Stroke" and linked here. (Spinner herself is the author of, Tell Them I Didn't Cry: A Young Journalist's Story of Joy, Loss and Survival in Iraq, linked here.) The article talks about how combat veterans have been helped by art therapy, in finding ways to express what's happened to them that brings them a modicum of peace and transformation. It also talks about the great downturn in the availability of art therapy for PTSD, after its heyday in the 1970s, with the Vietnam war -- which is a shame, because to those it helps, it's really been quite beneficial. A very few combat veterans are able to take art therapy classes through the VA; but far fewer than in past years, primarily because of budget cuts. Apparently just like in the public schools, art is one of the first items to be cut when budgets are trimmed. If you read the article, though, you'll gain an appreciation for just what it provides -- and wish more veterans had the opportunity to experience it. As one injured veteran said, speaking for many, "Art relaxes me..."