Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services


Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Creative Arts Therapies

Creative arts therapies are part of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Recreation Therapy Service and are direct-care programs that include the following disciplines: Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, and Music Therapy,

Creative Arts Therapists

Creative arts therapists are nationally certified clinical professionals who use arts modalities and creative processes to promote wellness and rehabilitation through unique personal interactions.

Each creative arts therapy discipline has its own set of professional standards and requisite qualifications. Creative arts therapists are highly skilled, credentialed professionals having completed extensive coursework and clinical training.

Treatment Planning

Qualified creative arts therapists develop treatment goals, provide interventions, document progress, and participate as members of the interdisciplinary team.

Therapists plan and carry out treatment programs that are directed to such goals as sensory integration; ambulation; community reentry; and reality orientation while providing a sense of achievement and progress and channeling energies into acceptable forms of behavior.


Research supports the effectiveness of creative arts therapies interventions in many areas, including overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement. Creative arts therapies further help patients to increase motivation to become engaged in treatment, provide emotional support for Veterans and their families, and create an outlet for expression of feelings.

Research results and clinical experiences attest to the postitive outcomes that can result from creative arts therapies, and especailly for those who are resistive to other treatment approaches.

Blowing Glass


Care Standards

Creative arts therapist adheres to standards of care that promote optimal outcomes for patients. Creative arts therapists utilize a wide range of techniques of clinical interventions in applying the healing potential and influence of the arts on behavior and quality of life.

Creative arts therapies are listed in Joint Commission standards, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and the National Institutes of Health National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. These therapies are recognized as viable treatment options.

Populations Served

Creative arts therapists create non-threatening group and individualized artistic experiences for individuals of all ages who confront life challenges related to physical and mental health conditions, on a daily basis.  Creative arts therapists provide and promote creative self-expression that is personally driven and individually focused.

Therapeutic Interventions

Creative arts therapists use the techniques, tools, and materials of their unique discipline for therapeutic purposes that promote creative self-expression in order to treat chronic pain, facilitate relaxation, facilitated physical rehabilitation, encourage communication and socialization, and to facilitate cognitive retraining for Veterans with neurocognitive disorders or traumatic brain injury.  In the treatment of substance abuse, art-based techniques provide unique opportunities to help Veterans break through barriers to the recovery process.

For Veterans with physical disabilities, the creative arts therapists design arts experiences to increase motivation and promote rehabilitative goals.

Creative Arts Festival

Each year, VA sponsors the National Creative Arts Festival for U.S. military Veterans who are served at VA medical centers nationwide.

This program enhances the physical, social, and emotional well-being of veterans who participate. The event is co-sponsored by VA, Veteran Service Organizations, and civic groups.

Creative Arts Therapy Organizations

The following are links to creative arts therapy organizations: