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Creative Forces: Healing the Invisible Wounds of War

The Anatomy of an Aha Moment

Scroll down to hear clinicians and former patients discuss how creative arts therapies can enable meaning-making, positive reframing, and the ability to experience “the flow state."

Meaning-making & Positive Reframing

Watch this video to hear insights from veterans and creative arts therapists on how creative arts therapies can enable meaning-making, positive reframing, and verbal processing.

Top: "What am I Supposed to See/Who am I supposed to Be?"
Left: "Me and My Monkey" written lyrics
Right: "Untitled"

Flow State

Hear how creative arts therapies can provide a platform for improved focus and gratification associated with achieving the “flow state.”

Top: "Ocean Bird," Anonymous
Bottom: "Patriotism Blooms"

album cover with mask
"The Walk" Album cover

The Walk

The song embodies metaphors of healing, resilience and hope made possible by navigating the early, middle and late stages of treatment.

What am I Supposed to See/Who am I supposed to Be?

This piece was created by a veteran who engaged in art therapy, music therapy, and dance/movement therapy throughout his path to recovery. This performance at Arena Stage for the Capitol Summit in 2018 celebrates how the creative arts therapies collectively supported his healing process—in the clinic and beyond, as he continues arts engagement in his community. The lyrics relay the songwriter’s thoughts on his identity, which shifted due to sustaining a traumatic brain injury. The thoughts about injury and recovery are provided from the perspectives of how he sees himself and also how others view him.

Related Research

Meaning-making & Positive Reframing

Learn how creative arts therapies can enable recovery from traumatic experiences through meaning-making, positive reframing, and verbal processing

Flow State

Reports from the Creative Forces Research Summit at the National Academies of Science, including Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s presentation on how achieving “flow” through arts-interventions can provide a “secret to happiness” and Bessel van der Kolk’s observations on how “creative arts therapies can help unwire people from war by through promoting new identity and bringing back imagination and creativity.”