Journal Title or Book Title
International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Open Access © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Active-dutymilitary service members have a significant risk of sustaining physical and psychological trauma resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Within an interdisciplinary treatment approach at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, servicemembers participated in mask making during art therapy sessions. This study presents an analysis of the mask-making experiences of service members (n = 370) with persistent symptoms from combatand mission-related TBI, PTSD, and other concurrent mood issues. Data sources included mask images and therapist notes collected over a five-year period. The data were coded and analyzed using grounded theory methods. Findings indicated that mask making offered visual representations of the self related to individual personhood, relationships, community, and society. Imagery themes referenced the injury, relational supports/losses, identity transitions/questions, cultural metaphors, existential reflections, and conflicted sense of self. These visual insights provided an increased understanding of the experiences of service members, facilitating their recovery.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Walker, Melissa S.; Kaimal, Girija; Gonzaga, Adel M.L.; Myers-Coffman, Katherine PhD, MT-BC; and DeGraba, Thomas J., "Active-duty military service members’ visual representations of PTSD and TBI in masks" (2017). Faculty Works: Music Therapy. 19.