Today, Second Lady Karen Pence visited the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Springs, Maryland to view the artwork titled, “Battle Signs: Using Art Therapy to Process TBI and PTS Injuries and Trauma.” The Vice President’s mother, Nancy Pence-Fritsch and her husband, Basil Fritsch accompanied Mrs. Pence on the visit.
They viewed artworks produced by Wounded Warriors as part of an art therapy program at Intrepid Spirit One (ISO) at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. The ISO at Fort Belvoir supports active-duty service members in rehabilitative treatment for traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions through interdisciplinary treatment. The art exhibit provides a look at how military service members are processing loss of friends and identity, guilt, grief, and a number of other struggles war and combat have placed on them. During the visit, Mrs. Pence had the opportunity to speak with the military service members who created the artwork and an art therapist who worked with them.
“The art therapy program at the Intrepid Spirit One at Fort Belvoir serves an important role in the healing process for the men and women who fight for our country, “ said Mrs. Pence. “I enjoyed the opportunity to view the artwork and speak with the creators of the work. During my visit, the military service members shared stories of how they have been able to cope with their pain by working with an art therapist and creating art in an art therapy program. I commend the National Museum of Health and Medicine for giving people the chance to learn more about art therapy through the art exhibit.”
“Hosting this powerful exhibition about art therapy in the military allows the National Museum of Health and Medicine to advance our mission of illuminating the nature of military medical care and research,” said Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., NMHM director. “We offer not only an opportunity for service members, their families, friends, and the public to enhance their appreciation of these complex processes; we also provide a unique scientific and historical context for that understanding. It is an honor to share that message with Mrs. Pence and her family.”
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Photos of today’s visit are below. Photo credit: Office of the Second Lady
About Art Therapy
Second Lady Karen Pence chose one initiative to champion, and it is art therapy. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art therapy is facilitated by professional art therapists who are experts in human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.