Art for Heroes: A Culture Show Special The Culture Show


Art for Heroes: A Culture Show Special

Tim Samuels meets veterans of recent British conflicts as he examines the role of art therapy in the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


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Transcript


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Tonight we are looking at the unlikely story of some

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extraordinary men. Men who answered the country's call for service, but

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decades after they fought in our name, are still fighting their own

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personal battles. I hated the army so much when I got out. So there

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you were cast adrift. With nothing. -- suddenly you laugh. The military

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was my family. But it caused me quite a lot of damage. It is not

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just physical scars they bear but the physical wounds of war, combat-

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related post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, a condition which

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has existed as long as men have been asked to fight. Sleepless

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nights, inability to relax, continuous fear about the

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approaching night. I suffer with intrusive thoughts from my time in

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the Falklands. It does not go away. Invisible wounds they are trying to

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heal using art. For me, it is not a canvas, but a life. It is the most

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powerful of the therapies I have tried. Are you saying that without

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that therapy you might not be here? Positive MACRO. Definitely. But can

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the power of art really help rebuild the lives of those who have

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been damaged years after swearing an oath to Queen and country?

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swore by Almighty God that I would be faithful and bear true

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allegiance. The to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her

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heirs and successors... And that I will honestly and faithfully...

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Defender Majesty, her heirs and successors... In person, Crown and

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dignity against all enemies... well-observed and obey orders of

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Her Majesty, her heirs and successors... And of the generals

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Just as it seems inevitable that countries will always go to war, so

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it seems inescapable that there will always be haunting human

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consequences. During the First World War the condition we now know

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as post-traumatic stress disorder was labelled a lack of moral fibre.

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Or more simply, shell-shock. Often viewed as a kind of emotional

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weakness, or even cowardice, it is a disorder where the memories of

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traumatic events are frozen in the brain and can be triggered by the

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slightest thing, meaning people with PTSD still feel the same

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intense Vere, even years after the It seems one enduring constant

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among the ever changing face of war is the damaging psychological

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legacy amongst those asked to fight. The condition finally gained

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official recognition after Vietnam. 1.5 million US troops fought active

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combat during the conflict and many returned traumatised. The effects

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experienced high suicide rates and criminal convictions, many

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developed drug and alcohol problems, they began demanding answers. The

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condition that had been so easily dismissed for generations was

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finally given a medical diagnosis, post-traumatic stress disorder. The

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turning point for recognising PTSD in the UK was the Falklands war. A

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conflict where it is believed more troops have since taken their own

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lives. After the Falklands it only became gradually acknowledged

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within military psychiatric circles that this was a real issue.

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modern face of Battle related trauma, men who have served in

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Belfast, Bosnia and beyond, each What might seem like an every day

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trip to the Tate Modern in London is actually a challenging mission,

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How do you feel being in a public space? It is not too crowded. I

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know one of the lads is keeping an eye on me. D'you like it? I do. I

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feel like I want to walk up the steps. Some of it is so weird.

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These men must be mental! Is this your favourite piece? In looks very

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beautiful. It is an aspiration to me, it is like you want to go

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somewhere but it is not possible to get there. I only come here with

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Combat Stress because I feel safe with them. I would not come here on

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my own but I would like to be here a my own to have that confidence.

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Could you give that a go next time? I don't know. For the present time

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I count my blessings. They were brought to the Tate Modern for

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therapeutic reasons by a Combat Stress, a charity at the forefront

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of fighting the mental health effects of conflict. The mind tries

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to represent the material for filing so you get nightmares,

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flashbacks and intrusive memories. You become up tight, you get

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anxiety symptoms with panic attacks, irritability, anger outbursts,

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difficulty sleeping, poor concentration. In the military

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people perceive themselves as being invincible and fairly macho, for

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the vast majority it takes a long time before they ask for help. In

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fact, the average is around 13 It took Frank and Bones way it more

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than 13 years before they got help. -- Wayne Moores. I have joined them

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for my first go at fishing. -- way more. You will need one of these.

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Flick it forward and let go with your finger. Where has it gone?

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the air. I think I caught a plant! You are not going away empty-

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handed! Frank joined the Paras when he was 18 and served for eight

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years in Northern Ireland, as it turned from a peacekeeping mission

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into one of the bloodiest periods in UK history. The day he left he

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threw all his medals into the dustbin. In some ways it was closer

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than a family, then all of a sudden, there you are, cast adrift, where

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do I go? What do we do? When do you think you're PTSD kicked in?

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goes back to 1971. In Northern Ireland. That is a little bite, we

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have something interested in debate. How many years was that after you

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left the army that you were diagnosed with PTSD? Nearly 30

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years after leaving the forces. years of going around undiagnosed.

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Correct. How would your life have been different if there was

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diagnosed 30 years ago? I probably would not have got into the trouble

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I got into. I would probably be married to my first wife. The

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alcoholism, drug abuse is part and parcel of PTSD. So where would my

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life be? I do not know. When you get flashbacks, are they like

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daydreams, or like being back there? Depending on what has caused

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it, it can be back in the event. For example, the other week I

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stopped at a little cafe and I was sat there and suddenly the sash

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window across the other side came up six inches and the net curtain

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blew out and I dived for the floor, under the table. People were going

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what the hell...? To explain to them that that was -- I explained

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to them it was a sniper. That was I can see the attraction of fishing

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Bones's PTSD stems from his time on HMS Sheffield during the Falklands,

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he went undiagnosed for 17 years. 20 crewmen died during the attack.

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The heat generated by fires in the ship was so intense that

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eyewitnesses said the whole blistered and felt like snow. --

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hull. After the initial impact they asked for a volunteer, I

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volunteered, that is why I am like I am. Inside it is a mess some days.

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Complete and utter carnage. There was a photograph in the papers at

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the time of you coming off the boat saying you're war was over. Yes,

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but as you can see, my war is not over. It's like that for other guys

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as well. Alex Coker also left the Army but combat-related PTSD and

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now gets treatment at Combat Stress. He joined at 18 and was a Corporal

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in the Royal Engineers. He survived constant missile attacks in the

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first Gulf war, and was would be UN in Rwanda. What other jobs have you

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done since you left the forces? worked as a sheet metal places.

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Since he left, he has struggled with feelings of aggression and

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anxiety, for which he is now one medication to keep in check. I am

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alert all the time. If somebody claps a jump out of my skin,

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sweating and night, my head is racing all the time. What goes

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through your mind? I don't know really. It is like a constant noise

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in my head. I did nothing there was anything wrong with me, I thought I

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was like anybody else. I hated the army so much when I got out I did

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not know what to think. That is a lot of what goes on in my head, I

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am confused. Sometimes I hate it so much a have to sit down and go to

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sleep, it is too much noise going on. Alex was also a witness to the

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circus of horrors that was the peacekeeping mission in the Balkans.

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It was there, while still in the army, that his condition began to

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surface. We would do what ever we But then I could not see the point

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of it. We were there for a long time. We did loads of jobs, one

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bloke got his head blown off, the engineers were out there shovelling

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up bodies. I was in turmoil, remember going to sit outside in

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the middle of a mortar attack, thinking they were going to blow my

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head off. I was just fed up. If you knew what it would be like after,

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would you have still joined the army? I suppose so. Why do you say

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that? We all do our bit. I would have liked to have stayed in but I

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just could not stand it any longer, the utter chaos. All the military

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hospitals in the UK have been closed. Now veterans to come

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forward for help are treated within the NHS, or by charities. Outside

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the NHS, Combat Stress is the biggest provider of support. This

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is their Surrey headquarters where veterans come and stay for two week

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stints of treatment. It feels very militaristic, the flags are up, it

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is spick and span, a lot of order. But there is something going on in

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here which you would not really expect people who have served in

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This is art therapy. Used here alongside the more mainstream

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psychiatric and psychological treatments and medication.

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They employ the country's only art therapist dedicated to working with

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veterans. They have got loads of symptoms,

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they might have been trying to ignore for years. When they come

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here, they are looking for answers. They are looking for for things

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that are going to help and they're willing to try. It is not like a

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lesson, you don't need to be good at art.

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This is a recognised branch of psychotherapy which uses the art to

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bring out a flow of images which afterwards, can then be decoded and

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doing so, helping the brain to reprocess the traumatic memories..

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I pick up the art materials and it is as though the drawing starts

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making itself. It is not really me controlling the process. If I'm

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trying to draw properly gets in the way. It is surprising what it it

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actually brings out. It is amazing what's actually in there that you

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don't bloody realise. It is disorder information storing

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and retrieval that the memories aren't stored as normal memories so

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being able to express them, a little bit at a time symbolically

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and to give them sense and meaning through art therapy can help them

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to process it. To put it into words. Although some of the art created in

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therapy can seem primitive and deliberately so, whilst they are

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here, there is time and space for veterans to enjoy making more

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poppished pieces which are on display everywhere.

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-- polished pieces which are on display everywhere.

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It is good stuff, frank. Well, thanks. That's only the

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second painting I've ever done. You get some of the visitors coming

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round and saying, "I like that. I like the effect." Yeah, you get the

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shug -- shrug of the shoulders that somebody appreciates. It is It is

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nice to hear work work about your work.

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It wakes up a new sense in you if you like.

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I went to Combat Stress for five years, I can't draw. I couldn't

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paint. I thought, "That's sissy stuff." One day I decided I'll give

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it a go. I get a lot out of it. It is camming. I can -- calming. I can

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put things on paper that I couldn't actually say. I couldn't explain it,

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but I can put it on to paper so it It is called The Demise of Cornwall.

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When I came out of the Forces, it was about what I saw in Cornwall,

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the mining and the fishing it pretty much dried up and the

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poppies which I put in, it is a little bit of a dig for me because

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most of the help that goes into the veterans is charity.

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It feels like there is a real camaraderie? There is a real

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camaraderie and lots of people who have got the same sort of thing

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wrong with them and they just get together and help each other and

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Did this start off from one of the therapy sessions? Yeah, normally it

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is weird actually, but when you turn up here, you have got no

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expectations of what is going to go on, but something might happen

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during the day and it triggers off an episode in the night. Most of my

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stuff comes from what happens when I sleep. Another piece I have done

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is a from a dream which I had on Saturday which is a hanging tree.

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High hung myself in my -- I had hung myself in my dream and I

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couldn't get that out of my head until I put that image down as a

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model. It is like taking some of the

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poison out of the emotions that drive you? Yeah, I finished the

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dream off. I drew a line under it and that was it, gone.

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Steve Woods joined the army in 1979, but left after developing PTSD. His

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went undiagnosed for 17 years. Why did you join the Army in the

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first place? Truthfully, to get away from home.

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I don't want to go into too much detail, but I had a very abusive

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childhood. How old were you when you joined? 16. 16.

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When I joined, "Are you sure you want to join the Light Infantry."

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The military was my family. When actual in fact, it caused me a lot

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of damage, you know. I'm getting help and the art is pushing me in

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the right direction. I'm really thankful for that.

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How would the art and the therapy lift you from that? It was the

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flashbacks and the thoughts that put me into that state. When I'm

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painting, I get lost in it and thoughts don't come in.

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In terms of the things which have helped you, you have been diagnosed

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and going on medication... Yeah. How significant is the art therapy?

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I think without it, there has been points in the last three years

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where I just wanted to go - well, do away with myself. I think

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without the art and the support of my wife and people like Jan, I

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wouldn't be here. It has been fundamental. It really has.

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Are you really saying without the art therapy, you might not be here?

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It might not be mainstream, but art therapy has a rich tradition rooted

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in familiar territory. I've come to the Impeer War mew -- Imperial War

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Museum to see the work of a painter whose work makes him fundamental to

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the story of art therapy. This is some of the art of the

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artist Adrian Hill, a man with a remarkable story who is seen as the

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godfather of art therapy, aged just 22 in 1917, he was sent by the

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Imperial War Museum out to capture what life was like in the First

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World War and these are some of the extraordinary, powerful, evocative

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pieces that he brought back from the Western Front. What really

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makes Adrian Hill relevant for us is that in 1938, he contracted

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tuberculosis and was sen to the san -- sent to the sanatorium and he

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screchd and -- sketched and drew and in 1939 some soldiers who were

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the first casualties where brought there and he extended his use of

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art to them to lift their spirits. He had a revelation that he could

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help those soldiers who had trauma related to war. What is really

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fascinate something that art therapy, since its birth, has been

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entwined with conflict and all of these years later we have different

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soldiers, different conflicts, but the pioneering approach of Adrian

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Hill is given respite to those suffering from their service.

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More evidence of the potential therapeutic power of art comes from

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the fringes of the Artic Circle. We've come to Northern Finland to a

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small place right up against the Swedish border to meet a guy who

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has been on an amazing journey. His life has been transformed by art

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since he left the SAS. Steve Pratt joined the Army as a

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boy soldier at the age of 14, he stayed for 17 years and fought in

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conflict zones all over the world. Hi, Steve.

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Thanks for coming. He was decorated for his service in

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the SAS, but left in 1981 when he began to develop the symptoms of

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PTSD. He moved to Finland seeking

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solitude and distance from his past. Steve has reinvented himself as an

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acclaimed practising artist who has comibt -- exhibited across Europe.

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This is the main room then? Yeah, we start over here really. This is

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his latest exhibition. His work seems to draw heavily from

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his military background. This really shows the size of the

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problem in my head. If you look at the size of this painting and the

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figures in this painting, what's going on in this painting was in my

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head and it really frightens me. It is the actual canvas that you

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use, goes through a violent process? Yeah. So that is being

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chainsawed? That's because I have been to pieces and I was really mad.

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If you are full of rage and hate, you can express those things, but

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when you express them on a canvas, they become an expression in

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painting so you are actually, they change and then you can see them

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for what they are and then you can be, you know, separated from that.

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I started working in Northern Ireland, you know, in an

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intelligence gathering role. It was a very different kind of war war to

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what they have now, it wasn't lots of bombs flying around. It was a

:26:33.:26:39.

lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty. One of my

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colleagues was abducted, tortured, killed, body never found and I was,

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you know, going out then to talk to people who might know about this

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and that was a bit of a problem well, quite a big problem for me.

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That's where I started to feel the weight of the job I was doing, you

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know. Then it was just like something snapped inside me and I

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thought, "I can't do this anymore." When I left my military service, I

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was told at my final medical that, "I will give you a year before you

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kill yourself.". How irresponsible can you get?

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To say that to somebody in distress? That sentence rang in my

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ears for the next 19 years. After leaving the Army, Steve suffered

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from severe depression. He was prescribed medication, but it was

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after starting a fine art degree, he found the feelings start to

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dissipate. Art enabled me to move on and to

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continue continue move on. It has been the only way I could achieve

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closure. I wouldn't have been able to achieve it by thinking about it

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because by thinking about it, you just spin around the problem. Art

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enables unconscious activity to come out on to a canvas and then to

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look back and say, "That's how it was." Not, "That is is how it is

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now. "I feel I am in a better place now

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and in a place where I can possibly help others.

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Convinced that creativity helped him deal with past traumas, Steve

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made a decision. He is coming back to the country he once served, but

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fled from. I have enrolled at Goldsmith's

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doing the MA art scibg owe therapy so you can -- psychotherapy so you

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can work with people using psychotherapy. I see that as a

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purpose in my life. I have got to use this to enable other people to

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see the journey and help them move Art therapy has been around for

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decades and therapists report impressive anecdotal evidence.

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Something seems to be going on, but there is little little scientific

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research into what is going on in the brain. I have come to Chicago

:29:24.:29:28.

to meet one of the few guys in the world who can shed light on what

:29:28.:29:33.

the potential potential neurological impact might be.

:29:33.:29:36.

As Director of Clinical neuroscience at one of America's

:29:36.:29:41.

largest ved large veterans hospitals, Dr Lukasz Konopka worked

:29:41.:29:48.

with Vietnam vets suffering with PTSD. He is one of the few nure

:29:48.:29:54.

roll gists who have -- nure roll gists to have done research into

:29:54.:30:04.
:30:04.:30:07.

art therapy and its impact on the Kenny Show or happens when somebody

:30:07.:30:14.

suffers trauma? This structure is important, it is involved in memory

:30:14.:30:19.

consultation. If there is chronic stress the volume of this

:30:19.:30:22.

hippocampus increases, this is what you would expect to see in somebody

:30:22.:30:29.

suffering from PTSD. With the decrease in hippocampus, one's

:30:29.:30:36.

function is decreased because it is involved in memories. What role

:30:36.:30:42.

does art therapy have been somebody -- in treating somebody with PTSD?

:30:42.:30:47.

It is essential because it taps into the very primitive networks of

:30:47.:30:56.

the brain. Brain function changed through art therapy could be long-

:30:56.:31:01.

lasting, so by being able to alter brain function we can establish new

:31:01.:31:07.

pathways, and buy it doing that you allow the patient to begin to live

:31:07.:31:11.

a different life. Are you saying prolonged use of art therapy can

:31:11.:31:16.

actually result in the brain being rewired? I am absolutely convinced

:31:16.:31:26.
:31:26.:31:27.

It was remarkable to hear what Lukasz Konopka had to say, art

:31:27.:31:32.

therapy is not just about painting, for him, it is an integral part of

:31:32.:31:35.

the healing process for people who really need all the help they can

:31:35.:31:42.

get. Whatever is happening on a new a logical level, the art does seem

:31:42.:31:46.

to unleash brawl and private memories. Memories which the

:31:46.:31:50.

veterans are willing to share with each other, and for the first ever

:31:50.:31:55.

time for a therapy session, with the camera. The first part today, I

:31:55.:32:01.

was going to suggest the theme of the invisible wound. Then, after

:32:01.:32:05.

one hour, we will gather together and come back into this space to

:32:05.:32:15.
:32:15.:32:25.

Invisible wounds. The analogy is wandering down the road in the dark

:32:25.:32:32.

at night, a red light hit me, hit the wall, I see a shadow on the

:32:32.:32:39.

wall. I see the shadow of what I was when I was a soldier, and we

:32:39.:32:45.

have a swift connection, that is those two red lines. It is me

:32:45.:32:49.

saying what is the matter, you don't feel well? The other one says

:32:49.:32:56.

I wish I could have the confidence and the ability you had then. I am

:32:56.:33:03.

a shadow of myself, I hide in the shadows of my home. I wish I did

:33:03.:33:12.

not have these invisible wounds, I could be like him. I used to look

:33:12.:33:22.
:33:22.:33:25.

after these guys, and now they look Does that strike a chord with

:33:25.:33:35.
:33:35.:33:36.

others? Yes. Thank you. Through the imagery they give me a sense of

:33:36.:33:39.

what it might be like but I do not think anybody could understand

:33:39.:33:44.

unless they had been there, that is why they so respect being together

:33:44.:33:50.

because they know the other person understands. It was very much when

:33:50.:33:56.

one and it said about -- Jan said about a won't, I felt a tightening

:33:56.:34:04.

in my chest and I felt straps being pulled tightly, sort of a pain, and

:34:04.:34:08.

you do not know what you want to tear the straps of, or hold on to

:34:08.:34:15.

it. Whether to hold on to it and keeping deep inside, because it is

:34:15.:34:21.

yours, you do not want anybody else to know. You want to rip it off but

:34:21.:34:30.

it is protected. You're not getting out. I had two it failed marriages,

:34:30.:34:37.

endless failed relationships and it was getting worse and worse. In the

:34:37.:34:47.
:34:47.:34:47.

end, I was at a stage where I tried to commit suicide. All those people

:34:47.:34:54.

that see are so big ex soldiers and think look at that fat man! Wasting

:34:54.:34:59.

away on a pension. He is not wasting away, he is fighting like

:34:59.:35:09.
:35:09.:35:14.

It is not a mainstream form of therapy, certainly at the moment,

:35:14.:35:18.

and I guess some would be sceptical, but you do not look like the sort

:35:18.:35:24.

of bunch of people that are easily taken for a ride. You were

:35:24.:35:28.

definitively say there is something in this? At silly. You guess. It do

:35:28.:35:32.

you feel it almost connects to a part of the brain that other

:35:32.:35:39.

therapies do not touch? Absolutely. You're all nodding. This is a

:35:39.:35:44.

primary one, it gets things... is the one that opens the doors.

:35:44.:35:49.

You yes, very quickly. It pulls things out so fast and deep that

:35:49.:35:55.

I'd think it is the most powerful therapy I have tried. Having seen a

:35:55.:36:02.

session I am blown away by how powerful it can be as an instrument

:36:02.:36:12.
:36:12.:36:12.

to unlock some pretty deep, hidden emotions. I was struck by how much

:36:12.:36:16.

people's lives are still so impacted by conflicts which have

:36:16.:36:20.

happened in some cases decades ago, and they are still carrying of --

:36:20.:36:30.
:36:30.:36:37.

carrying that suffering around. It Combat stress has seen its caseload

:36:37.:36:44.

got 70 per cent in the past five years, and now helps 4500 veterans

:36:44.:36:49.

a year, but there is a big waiting list. One thing which has come to

:36:49.:36:54.

light whilst filming is the defence review which will see troops over

:36:54.:36:58.

the next decade demobilised, many of whom will have seen a frontline

:36:58.:37:03.

action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and will have been exposed to trauma.

:37:03.:37:06.

With combats stress already creaking under the strain of

:37:06.:37:09.

waiting lists, I just wonder whether we will be able to provide

:37:09.:37:15.

the level of help and support that many of these people need. Some

:37:15.:37:21.

people close to the Armed Forces are naturally concerned about this.

:37:21.:37:25.

As a result of the Post 9/11 walls, there is a huge consequence, people

:37:25.:37:32.

have had limbs blown off, blinded, people with brain injuries, but by

:37:32.:37:38.

far the biggest problem we will have is the tidal wave of those

:37:38.:37:42.

with mental scars, unseen scars, which will increasingly manifest

:37:42.:37:46.

themselves. We have to be sympathetic and help those people

:37:46.:37:53.

deal with them because we owe them that. In terms of who is out in

:37:53.:37:56.

Afghanistan now, we have a nursing team of three out there looking

:37:56.:38:05.

after a population of up to 10,000 people. Is that enough? Yes, it is.

:38:05.:38:11.

Not everybody who sees a traumatic event is going to get ill. So the

:38:11.:38:17.

main burden of mental health problems arising from Operations is

:38:17.:38:22.

going to be after the operation. With the cuts coming, thousands

:38:22.:38:27.

will leave the forces, will that make it harder to try to look after

:38:27.:38:32.

their psychological well-being? is likely to be limited to those

:38:32.:38:39.

who have been in combat. And we know how to follow people up. And

:38:39.:38:46.

routine medicals members of the Armed Forces undergo now contain

:38:46.:38:50.

Ayres -- contains assessment of mental health, that is important at

:38:50.:38:54.

discharge where we are trying to pick people up. There is such a

:38:54.:38:58.

human consequence when troops are committed, there is such a

:38:58.:39:02.

responsibility for them, their families and the repercussions be

:39:02.:39:06.

on that. I have long campaigned on mental health issues and we must

:39:06.:39:12.

recognise that while we treat the visible injuries off a wall, --

:39:12.:39:16.

injuries from war, I think the invisible wounds are less well

:39:16.:39:24.

treated. It would be great to find money for servicemen and women but

:39:24.:39:27.

defence is not a vote-winner and because we live in a democracy

:39:27.:39:33.

politicians focus on the things that will win them popular support.

:39:33.:39:36.

Looking after servicemen and women is not one of them. The direct

:39:36.:39:42.

funding would be helpful. More direct funding. It would be nice to

:39:42.:39:46.

have an automatic service for veterans that does not rely on

:39:46.:39:56.
:39:56.:39:59.

Unlike Britain, the US has hospitals across the country

:39:59.:40:03.

dedicated to treating veterans. This is the main one in the centre

:40:03.:40:09.

of Chicago. These veterans are using art therapy in much the same

:40:09.:40:15.

way our men do back home. Years and years I did not know what was wrong.

:40:15.:40:22.

I thought I was just crazy. uncontrollable rage, nightmares, I

:40:22.:40:31.

did not know what it was. RC Hardy has been using art therapy for four

:40:31.:40:36.

Muntz, he is an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran with PTSD. There

:40:36.:40:43.

are nights I do not sleep at all. Sometimes I get frightened, I Wyke

:40:43.:40:48.

-- I wake up frightened for no reason. His art work expresses

:40:48.:40:51.

emotions and experiences which seemed timeless and universal too

:40:51.:41:01.

many a veteran of conflict. This indicates what goes on with a young

:41:01.:41:06.

person who goes to war, or combat, and you see people with skin blown

:41:06.:41:15.

away, their face off, you know. Cut one time I dug up dead bodies in

:41:15.:41:22.

Vietnam. -- at one time. This bothers him, he dreams of it, it is

:41:22.:41:29.

in his mind forever. Inside the mask you can see... Drugs,

:41:29.:41:36.

cigarettes... Drugs, dope, everything that is in there,

:41:36.:41:41.

everything they used to hide behind if they're not taking medication.

:41:41.:41:45.

How much of a fight with you put up if I said I was going to take away

:41:45.:41:50.

your brushes and you cannot paint? I can't paint no more? I would put

:41:50.:41:56.

up a big fight. You were telling me I can't express myself. I express

:41:56.:42:00.

myself through my art. You telling me I can't express myself? It is

:42:00.:42:05.

like taking away my freedom of speech. What if you can't talk any

:42:05.:42:15.
:42:15.:42:15.

more? I would try to fight to! -- you. It was the terrible human

:42:15.:42:19.

fall-out from America's time in Vietnam which led to PTSD being

:42:19.:42:24.

diagnosed. It also fuelled a new symbiosis between art and the

:42:24.:42:29.

experience of war, creating something quite special. In

:42:29.:42:32.

downtown Chicago there is a building I have heard about for

:42:32.:42:42.
:42:42.:42:55.

ages at which I just have to go and This is the National Veterans Art

:42:55.:42:59.

Museum in Chicago, originally founded by some Vietnam veterans.

:42:59.:43:03.

What makes this place unique is that every piece here has been

:43:03.:43:08.

created by somebody who has witnessed war. Although established

:43:08.:43:14.

my Vietnam veterans, the museum now includes works reflecting a more

:43:14.:43:19.

recent American conflict. This piece is called Sand Angel, it was

:43:19.:43:28.

made by an American serviceman who was out Iraq in the first Gulf war.

:43:28.:43:32.

He came across an injured Iraqi serviceman who was dying and his

:43:32.:43:37.

arms were flailing out. What makes this piece so haunting is that it

:43:37.:43:42.

is not a piece of make believe, you know that the artist was a soldier

:43:42.:43:45.

who had this image a running through his head for years, from

:43:45.:43:50.

something he had actually seen, which he felt compelled to get out.

:43:50.:43:59.

This is the result. One of the founders of the museum is the a

:43:59.:44:02.

numb veteran Joe Fornelli, he was a crew chief on a Huey helicopter,

:44:02.:44:08.

one of the most dangerous jobs in the war. In the field he felt

:44:08.:44:12.

compelled to capture the chaos around him using whatever he could

:44:12.:44:18.

lay his hands on. He created this delicate image using split bamboo

:44:18.:44:22.

and dried coffee. Maybe subconsciously I was making notes

:44:23.:44:29.

because I did want people to know what I witnessed. I did it with my

:44:29.:44:35.

hard work. What role do you think art can have been helping somebody

:44:35.:44:45.
:44:45.:44:47.

who has been in conflict to heal It opens up things that are closed

:44:47.:44:53.

and should not be closed off inside these individuals. There are the

:44:53.:45:00.

people like them. That helps. -- other people. Another artist on

:45:00.:45:06.

display is Bill Crist. A fellow Vietnam veteran. I love this museum.

:45:06.:45:16.
:45:16.:45:16.

I know I am not alone. I used to think I was the lone ranger out

:45:16.:45:22.

there. I couldn't talk about anything, you know. Bill was con

:45:22.:45:28.

conscripted into the infantry and developed severe PTST after the

:45:28.:45:31.

conflict. You come home and everything is

:45:31.:45:34.

going to be fine, it is not that way.

:45:34.:45:41.

It is not that way at all. His works were created using art

:45:41.:45:46.

therapy during time spent in a psychiatric ward. They depict the

:45:46.:45:53.

memories which still haunt him. was unconscious, that's how

:45:54.:45:59.

powerful that explosion was. I told the people in charge, I will draw

:45:59.:46:02.

these because a picture is worth 1,000 words and I won't have to

:46:02.:46:09.

talk about it anymore. Wrong. The more I drew, the more I talked.

:46:09.:46:19.

Avr got out the the -- after I I out of the infantry, I became a

:46:19.:46:24.

medic. The tail rot ar was going full speed and it went into his

:46:24.:46:31.

head and ripped the top of his head off. His brains were all over the

:46:31.:46:37.

ground. I am ashamed to say I was crying and throwing up at the same

:46:37.:46:41.

time. That was an extremely traumatic experience for me. Very

:46:41.:46:49.

traumatic. The art is where the power is and

:46:49.:46:56.

the art is what created the museum. Is it worth more than life? I think

:46:56.:47:02.

what we all want, the survivors want, we all want to make sure that

:47:02.:47:12.
:47:12.:47:14.

the ones that didn't make it... Are always remembered.

:47:14.:47:17.

One of the most striking exhibits here, perhaps the centrepiece of

:47:17.:47:23.

the whole museum, is this. It is a monument to every American soldier

:47:23.:47:32.

who died in Vietnam and it is a replica of of every single soldier

:47:32.:47:36.

who died starting in that corner in 1957 and working its way in

:47:36.:47:42.

chronological order to that way corner to 1975.

:47:42.:47:51.

On each dog tag, the name of a service person who died in Vietnam,

:47:51.:47:55.

over 58,000. An incredible amount of effort has gone into making this.

:47:55.:47:59.

It has taken two years to individually punch each dog tag.

:47:59.:48:04.

What is truly extraordinary is what each one represents.

:48:04.:48:10.

I just thought of something - that memorial was never really a part of

:48:10.:48:16.

this exhibit or design in the beginning, but they are the ones

:48:16.:48:25.

that didn't make it. I just thought of it now.

:48:25.:48:35.
:48:35.:48:43.

It is incredibly powerful. Yeah. Yeah. We all know somebody on that.

:48:43.:48:49.

Looking around at this stuff, on the one hand, I am in awe of it and

:48:49.:48:55.

on the other han other hand I am jealous, thinking we should have

:48:55.:49:04.

something like this in the UK. You know, what, it is natural. If

:49:04.:49:09.

somebody planted the seed and nurtured in. It is natural that

:49:09.:49:12.

this should happen to me. It does seem natural and such a

:49:13.:49:17.

positive and public way to channel experiences which most of us would

:49:17.:49:21.

find unimaginable. Surely our guys back home deserve a similar

:49:21.:49:31.
:49:31.:49:34.

platform. A public exhibition might be a good start. But would our

:49:34.:49:37.

veterans be up for an exhibition? Something which could bring their

:49:37.:49:42.

stories to a wider public and encourage other ex-soldiers not to

:49:42.:49:47.

suffer in silence and what form should it take? We have we have got

:49:47.:49:52.

this idea that it would be great to push this on to a wider stage and

:49:52.:49:56.

have an exhibition or something to bring it to the wider public.

:49:56.:50:00.

It is important to get that message across to the decision makers that

:50:00.:50:04.

send us to war. I am at the stage now where I would

:50:04.:50:07.

like to push it forward. To let other people see what I'm doing.

:50:07.:50:13.

It would be interesting to compare some of the work we've done.

:50:13.:50:17.

A mixture of the art and art therapy and create a balance so

:50:17.:50:27.
:50:27.:50:27.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 64 seconds

:50:27.:51:32.

Steve Pratt has been measuring up the gallery. He has met with bomber

:51:32.:51:39.

macro at Combat Stress to select some work to display. -- Jan.

:51:39.:51:46.

Speech bubbles. What is going on? Our guys have been hard at it.

:51:46.:51:50.

glad I achieved it but I do not think I will do this again in a

:51:50.:51:56.

hurry. It takes you to a dark place where you do not want to go. I have

:51:56.:52:01.

not done anything at home for a long time. It was nice to get back

:52:01.:52:11.

into something. It was a painful exercise to work this are but very

:52:11.:52:19.

valuable. I feel it is really helping me. Sometimes I cry when I

:52:19.:52:25.

am doing it, having a good paint. Some weird stuff comes out but it

:52:25.:52:32.

is all good. It is all hell for. Hopefully we can get more people

:52:32.:52:37.

who can understand because they will be a lot of lads coming back

:52:37.:52:47.
:52:47.:52:49.

he will need help. Hell of a lot of them. Steve Pratt is also creating

:52:49.:52:53.

a challenging new work which incorporates past memories. He is

:52:53.:53:00.

using some interesting techniques. A star from the point of view of a

:53:00.:53:10.
:53:10.:53:10.

traumatic destruction -- I start. Then some kind of rebuilding. That

:53:11.:53:20.
:53:21.:53:36.

destruction is also we creation and . We decided to call the exhibition

:53:36.:53:45.

Invisible Wounds. The work on display features art made join

:53:45.:53:54.

therapy sessions, specially created pieces by our guys.

:53:54.:54:04.

Artwork that we brought back from America. And a series by Steve

:54:04.:54:14.
:54:14.:54:27.

This is a hell of a piece of work. It looks really good with the light

:54:27.:54:34.

What does the piece symbolise? That's how a lot of us feel a lot

:54:34.:54:44.
:54:44.:54:44.

of the time. The distance, I wanted to bring in from us into reality

:54:44.:54:49.

and and how we feel smaller than everyone else and insignificant. I

:54:49.:54:55.

was a bit apprehensive about how it was going to turn out. It does look

:54:55.:54:59.

good. Is that a smile from you? little bit, yeah.

:54:59.:55:08.

I feel something has been achieved tonight. So if people look at this,

:55:08.:55:13.

what do you want them to take away from it? If you are willing to

:55:13.:55:18.

allow others to help you then even though it seems that there is no

:55:18.:55:24.

future for you at the time, life can transform.

:55:24.:55:32.

This is by a chap called Bones. is superb. The rest of the guys

:55:32.:55:41.

have worked superb. You can be sur surrounded by millions of people,

:55:42.:55:47.

but you can still be alone. That's what this painting is about.

:55:47.:55:54.

It is every bit as valid an injury as a visible wound

:55:54.:55:57.

It is a fine piece of work this. Thank you.

:55:57.:56:02.

Are you proud of it? I feel I'm giving part of me away, if you know

:56:02.:56:07.

what I mean. I'm giving part of my secret. This is what the people

:56:07.:56:12.

don't see. This is a representation of the brain. I'm pleased to have

:56:12.:56:21.

done it and I'm pleased it is here. There are exhibitions that contend

:56:21.:56:28.

with so much meaning. It caught the imagination of everybody who has

:56:28.:56:32.

been here. There has been artists here and people from the MoD here.

:56:32.:56:38.

It as been awe inspiring. It has been a shock, but a really positive

:56:38.:56:46.

coming together of people and works. This is a piece which has come out

:56:46.:56:48.

of an art therapy session. That's right.

:56:48.:56:54.

You have taken the content and turned it into a fine piece of work.

:56:54.:56:57.

It has taken a long time to do this one. The more I looked at the

:56:58.:57:02.

drawings and the more I looked at it as the painting was was

:57:02.:57:08.

developing, it started to bring me down a bit. I finished the picture

:57:08.:57:12.

and I'm happy with it. I'm only doing it because someone else might

:57:12.:57:18.

get some help from it and think, "I tried art therapy.". Everyone,

:57:18.:57:23.

thank you very much for coming. It is an excellent turnout. A

:57:23.:57:26.

fantastic turnout. Thank you once again really to the guys who have

:57:26.:57:31.

put this exhibition together. Incredible, powerful, emotional,

:57:31.:57:38.

bloody good pieces of work which I hope you're proud of.

:57:38.:57:43.

What's the overarching thing that you want somebody who has not

:57:43.:57:49.

served and comes in and sees this? Just because they see see someone

:57:50.:57:56.

and it looks hunky-dory, this is what is going on underneath their

:57:56.:58:02.

skin. This is horrific. It brought Combat Stress into the public eye.

:58:02.:58:05.

Job done. You have done yourselves proud. You

:58:05.:58:09.

have done everyone proud and you have sent a strong, positive

:58:09.:58:19.
:58:19.:58:48.

message. So if if we can give a I guess I found the veterans aren't

:58:48.:58:50.

both shocking, but inspirational to know the individual journeys of

:58:50.:58:53.

people who have all given so much for the country and hope that their

:58:53.:58:55.

paintings means that some of the people coming back from Iraq and

:58:55.:58:57.

Afghanistan don't go through five, ten, 15, 20 years before getting

:58:57.:59:00.

help and go through what some of these guys have been through

:59:00.:59:02.

An examination of the role of art therapy in the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tim Samuels meets veterans of recent British conflicts in the Falklands, the Persian Gulf and Northern Ireland, who reveal their personal battle with PTSD as a result of their military career. They are now using an unlikely weapon to help fight the psychological wounds of war - art.

Visiting art therapy sessions, Samuels discovers how drawing, sculpting and painting are helping the veterans manage the symptoms of PTSD. Dr Lukas Konopka, a professor of neurology in Chicago, has investigated the effects of art therapy on the brain in the treatment of PTSD. The results provide strong evidence of art's potential to heal.


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