On November 5th, graduate students at Caldwell University volunteered with The Art Therapy Project in New York City to counsel military veterans.
The director of The Art Therapy Project is Samantha Commarato, Caldwell University fine arts alumna. Commarato said that as of right now, the project works with military veterans who are survivors of trauma. She also stated that the Caldwell students, “were really prepared…the clients felt comfortable with them and appreciated them being there.”
Veterans who attended were given Altoid tins that they would decorate. The tins represented his or her safe space. The veterans could then put items inside the tins that would represent their experiences and feelings. The idea behind the tins was that the tins would act as a small item of comfort that they could use to reflect on a positive or comfortable experience.
Caldwell art therapy master’s student Melanie Peters said that volunteering with veterans was a very strong experience. “Working with the veterans was a rewarding experience because I was able to give back to those who have given so much for myself, my family, and our country.”
Eve Cannon, also a Caldwell art therapy graduate student, said working with the veterans was an excellent way to put the practices they have studied to use. “It was also a special time to connect with our peers in a different environment and do some art making together.”
The Art Therapy Project looks to prove that art can be used as a tool to assist clients with expressing themselves in a healthy and positive manner.