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Psychotherapeutic processes in recovery from military and pre-military trauma in veterans: The effects of theatre as a mental health treatment

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Despite advances in the treatment of PTSD and related problems in military veterans, these problems persist and often become debilitating for veterans and devastating for their families. It is thus necessary for health researchers to examine alternatives to mainstream psychiatric approaches for veterans, including arts-based approaches that can demonstrate psychological healing. In this article, we outline some of the psychotherapeutic benefits of the DE-CRUIT programme. This programme integrates the use of theatre with empirically proven elements of cognitive processing therapy, narrative therapy and breathing-based relaxation techniques to treat the effects of both military and non-military trauma in veterans. We describe these benefits through the illustrative case of a veteran who experienced recurrent trauma in childhood and in his military service. We outline recommendations for the expansion of research on arts-based treatments for veterans across mental health settings and community settings.

Keywords: Shakespeare; mental health; military; psychotherapy; theatre; trauma; veterans

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: New York University

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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