I am excited to write about the Vet Art Project and the Veteran’s Children websites and missions.
Children are affected by their parents’ PTSD. In fact children can develop PTSD symptoms from their parents. Today I discovered a wonderful resource called “Veterans’ Children” which provides very useful resources on PTSD and is focused on the children of PTSD sufferers. The Veterans’ Children site, with an emphasis on telling our stories and healing from our PTSD, blends nicely with the Vet Art Project . The Vet Art Project helps vets and families connect with the art world and see their stories written, told, performed, and painted. Both of these projects help us to realize that in spite of our PTSD, we have a fundamental value, we are worthwhile. We know that PTSD destroys self-worth, art and story restores our self-worth.
Part of what makes these projects so wonderful is that the lessons learned here are useful for any one’s trauma, not only military. Artwork, writing, music, dance, all contribute to telling our tales and healing our PTSD wounded souls.
The site is by Leila Levinson, author of “Gated Grief.” She is collecting stories and posting them on her site. What kind of stories? The kind that never used to get told. Stories about how someone went off to war and came back a different person. How that person went onto become a parent and how that parent’s PTSD affected them. Levinson states,
Veterans’ Children seeks to assist in the building of an historic bridge between veterans and their children, a bridge of stories.
A visit to the site encounters a professional dedication to helping all of us heal and get our stories told. Fundamental to the PTSD Spirituality site is that we all have value. Since we all have fundamental value, our stories carry that value and help us and those who hear them to heal as well.
You can learn about her book and pre-order it from the Veterans’ Children website.
Lisa Rosenthal created the Vet Art Project. Based in Chicago, it has now expanded to include workshops in Santa Fe and Seattle. Recently, the Vet Art Project coordinated with Ed Tick’s Soldier’s Heart for a PTSD Healing Retreat in Wisconsin. Lisa manages numerous workshops for veterans and family members to tell their stories and heal. I don’t know how she does it, so much energy directed to helping all of us heal.
Veterans need to share their stories beyond the therapeutic or veterans-only groups to connect to the community to heal. And community members need to hear these stories to understand their role in healing the soul wound many veterans suffer because of their combat experience, and realize their responsibility to help tend these wounds and thereby heal our communities and ourselves.
The Power of Art and Story, the Healing of Writing
Frequent readers of the PTSD Spirituality blog know that I advocate writing as healing. Any form of art work is a form of healing.
For two decades I could not articulate my own PTSD producing experiences. Then I started drawing pictures and learned how to paint. Later I engaged in classical guitar. These non-verbal art forms allowed me to express what I experienced and what I was feeling as the PTSD-Identity abused my soul and my relationships.
Eventually, my artwork gave me the confidence to start writing. Since then some of my fiction and poetry has helped my soul to heal from PTSD. And, at thre risk of hubris, it has helped other people understand their PTSD and take back control of their own souls (or so I am told).
Vets Art Project and Veterans’ Children: A Dynamic Duo of Healing
The work of Leila Levinson dovetails very nicely with that of Lisa Rosenthal’s Vets Art Project. Both of these women understand the power of PTSD to destroy us and our most cherished relationships. And they understand that telling stories and expressing ourselves in artwork can heal us.
Both of these websites, and more importantly the healing projects they represent, are worth your perusal. Two people, two projects, dedicated to helping heal our wounded souls. Good on them! Semper Pax, Dr. Z