chapter  3
Art As a Therapeutic Modality with TBI Populations
ByMark Sell, Gregory J. Murrey

According to the American Art Therapy Association, Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Art making is a nonverbal tool that can be used to enhance communication about emotional and internal conflicts. The common tendency of individuals to tune out what they prefer not to hear makes visual images powerful tools for treatment. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clients often have less tolerance to structure, but through art therapies they can be provided the opportunity to express themselves in an environment that is more creative, less confrontational, and more individualized. Through the therapeutic art program, four primary needs of the TBI patient are addressed as part of the holistic rehabilitation approach. Many neurobehaviorally disordered TBI patients are resistant to participating in traditional rehabilitation therapies provided through traditional modalities.