Using Photography to Explore Themes with Readjusting Veterans

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Cox, Breanna
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
After completing their service, the United States military population become veterans, and most of them use a variety of coping skills, some being abnormal, to transition into civilians. The goal of the study discussed in this paper was to guide veterans on a photographic journey that would potentially reduce their stress. Participants were four veterans from Veteran's Club Inc., who were asked to use a camera or a smartphone to take photographs focusing on a transition, a habit, and something that brings them calm. The veteran participants were encouraged to be mindful of their images and their responses. Data were collected in a Google Survey in the form of participant reflections. The study revealed four themes: (a) reflection on the transition process; (b) hope and gratitude; (c) mindfulness; and (d) benefits of the creative process. This study is important for the field of art therapy since its focus is on photography and veterans who had separated from the military in the last five years. Future studies focusing on veterans and photography therapy are recommended.