Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

Clinical Therapy

Photo over the shoulder of a soldier drawing

In clinical settings, creative arts therapists provide art and music therapy, as well as creative writing instruction, for military patients and veterans who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions. As part of Creative Forces, creative arts therapy is one of more than 20 different types of therapy offered as part of a patient-centered clinical care model. Art Therapy isn’t a “nice to have” capability in this model of care, it is a “NEED to HAVE” service.

The NEA funds creative arts therapists, equipment, and supplies at 11 clinical sites across the nation, and a telehealth program for patients in rural and remote areas. Military partners provide space for the clinical therapy to take place and patient referrals.

Creative Forces creative arts therapists provide services to 100 to 300 new patients each year, and have serviced nearly 1,000 patients since 2011 at NICoE Walter Reed and Ft. Belvoir, the first two Creative Forces clinical partners.

Map of the United States with stars positioned where clinical sites are located


Creative arts therapies are non-invasive, non-medication-based, and low-cost.  These treatments have wide-ranging impact:

Physical: Physical: Improved cognition and memory, brain function, impulse control and concentration, sleep, and promotes physical rehabilitation

Emotional: Reduced depression and anxiety, improved communication and interpersonal skills, and help confronting difficult emotions like frustration, grief, and anger

Econimic: Less time spent time in a hospital and a low-cost treatment option