Art therapy helps veterans heal through creativity

Home of the Brave

(NewsNation) — Art therapy is helping veterans connect with themselves and their community after their service.

Many of our nation’s veterans have found their voice through art. During this year’s National Veterans Creative Arts Competition, veterans are able to showcase a variety of art forms from dance to music to painting and more.

The annual showcase supports veterans as they find their voices through creative expression.

Freda Sergi, a recreational therapist at Central Virginia VA Health Care System, explained that it’s the competition’s 42nd year, and many VAs hold smaller, local competitions before finalists move on to the national round.

“It’s an opportunity for our veterans to work all year on their craft,” Sergi said. “This is a chance for them to come together and network and share their craft.”

But Sergi emphasized that the competitions aren’t necessarily about winning, but rather the journey veterans experience when focusing on their craft and then coming together for the year.

“The biggest thing I hear from my veterans is finding a purpose. And with recreation therapy, and then the arts therapies — that’s one way they can find that, finding a little bit more about who they are and what they’re about, and just expressing their thoughts, emotions, experiences,” Sergi explained.

She said it’s beautiful to see all the veterans come together and share their stories through their arts.

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