This study examines whether art therapy could benefit UK veterans with mental health difficulties.
Art therapy has been suggested to support veterans who may not benefit from verbal therapeutic approaches. Little is known about the perspectives of UK veterans with mental health difficulties on engaging in art therapy. This study aimed to explore the acceptability of art therapy for this group, employing a mixed-methods design. The sample was drawn from clients of treatment programmes provided by a national veteran mental health charity. It comprised 547 veterans with a range of mental health difficulties who had attended an art therapy group session. The veterans in the sample rated the usefulness of art therapy positively, with a mean score of 4.43 using a Likert scale where the maximum score was five. Veterans positively endorsed the likelihood they would apply the knowledge gained, with a mean score of 4.15 using the same scale. Content analysis was used to explore text comments. The themes were: experience of sharing with others, exploring difficult feelings and environmental aspects. In conclusion, this study provides an initial indication that art therapy may be an acceptable treatment approach for UK veterans with mental health difficulties. Further research should explore its impact on veterans' mental health
Emily Palmer, Kate Hill, Janice Lobban & Dominic Murphy (2017): Veterans' perspectives on the acceptability of art therapy: a mixed-methods study, International Journal of Art Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/17454832.2016.1277250