FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- Soon after stepping into her role as Second Lady, Karen Pence announced her policy platform, “Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART.” This is not only her professional platform, but a palpable passion of the second lady. Her dedicated focus was clearly evidenced as she paid a visit to the Intrepid Spirit One Center at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. Pence sat down for a short visit with a few of the center’s staff members. Art therapist, Jessica Herman; music therapist, Megan Wong; and clinic director Dr. Nicole Moreti were in attendance.
March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month and the group discussion turned to how the Healing Arts therapy program could assist service members suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families as a unit. Healing Arts therapy seems to provide an outlet for therapeutic expression when verbal communication skills are hindered.
March is also National Youth Arts Month. Along this line Mrs. Pence asked, “in order for children to be seen individually how is that accomplished? Art therapist, Jessica Herman responded that “usually a parent requests it.”
The second lady was even able to sit down with a family that is actively enrolled in the center’s Art Therapy program. The Goodrich family, joined by Pence and therapist Herman, all sat down to color a Mandala-type work. This particular tool is one frequently used by art therapists. In addition to art therapy, daughter Lucy is also in yoga therapy which is another treatment option offered at the Intrepid Spirit One center.
When asked point blank what she thought about the Intrepid Spirit One’s operation she emphatically replied, “It’s phenomenal…it is so amazing to see such integration by the staff, they’re all working together to offer the best treatment options.” Additionally, she added, “I like that they treat the whole family. When someone serves the whole family serves, spouses serve, and children serve.”
As she concluded the visit Second Lady Pence shared with the staff of Intrepid Spirit One that she would continue to help elevate the profession of Healing Arts therapy. Saying that, “this is not arts and crafts, it is a treatment option to help our country’s heroes and their families heal through art.”