Lebanon VA Medical Center Seeing Lens (Photography) Art Therapy Program

What we do is we use an interdisciplinary treatment approach so it’s myself social work and psychology who have all come together to do this program using the technical photo taking and processing the technical photo taking skills and then processing those based on recovery The Veteran said that kinda changed his life right? Yeah Yeah I mean we’ve had Veterans You know one Veteran who was like this is been life changing for me we had Veterans who have never successfully participated in a group therapy session for more than a couple of sessions who were there all 10 weeks we had Veterans who struggle with even connecting or socializing and it became this you know if one person couldn’t get the shot somebody else was always there to jump in and say hey, you know make this adjustment make this adjustment so it became this really kind of cohesive group and I think for a lot of the Veterans they’ve never had that experience. Things that we talked about That was really amazing was it felt like as soon as the Veteran got behind the lens it was life changing The Veterans have been fantastic, they’ve been really follow instructions and they take the knowledge from one class and then apply to the next and that’s kind of rare sometimes with the students. The Veterans have been very good at taking on the information and and then producing work. We’ve been really surprised at how wonderful their work. has turned out in each each session we’ve had each Veteran has taken a great photo and I was I was worried about would that take place? Would we be able to get the Veterans to take great photos in the early stages of the sessions and that proved not to be the case they were great from the very get go. And they’ve been wonderful to work with and they’ve got so much out of it The Veterans the Veteran group we just had were very good in terms of having a kind of artistic aesthetic so although that at the time they thought well how artistic am I? they really discovered that they did really had an intuition for taking photos and they over the course of 10 weeks really develop that they could edit their photos and say this one ‘s better than that one and so on and the other thing that was surprising is that we I taught them the full array of the digital camera meaning we looked at both the automatic functionality of the camera we went all the way to manual so that they were working with aperture shutter speed ISO all the technical aspects of the camera and by the end, they had real confidence with working with that and over 10 week period to get to the stage where they’re working with some confidence with all the manual capabilities of of the DSLR that was quite an achievement is having students from LVC in art therapy specialization we had students working on the data sets that we accumulated through the course and in the future will also have students involved with the project We have LVC students working other art therapy based projects at Lebanon VA right now So that’s been a wonderful partnership between VA and Lebanon Valley College I think I think the project has been supported across the board we have the American Legion family has donated books for each Veteran who attends the course and that’s been that’s been wonderful. They’ve been able to have that to take away to continue

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