Military Resilience Training through the Arts Open Access
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This arts-based curriculum proposal was developed in response to a white paper entitled, Arts, Health and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum: White Paper and Framing a National Plan for Action, released in October of 2013. The military's need for art is not a new concept, however -- intentionality, timeliness and relevance were key in developing this curriculum focusing predominantly on Military Resilience Training (MRT) or pre-deployment training for soldiers and their families. After the trauma of war, art therapists and healers working with soldiers/survivors have traditionally used diverse methods to generate reflective conversation, encourage healthy relationships and explore intra-personal understanding through a thematic art-making process. By using a similar framework in pre-deployment, soldiers, given a chance at reconciliation of previous trauma, can avoid compounding trauma within the war zone and practice the healing arts during their deployment. Due to the uncertainty of warfare, the soldier's individual mission requires him/her to refine his/her humanity while developing and examining individual and collective (unit) intentions. The arts are remarkably well-suited to this conscious and subconscious exploration of intention, reflection and resolution.