Memories of War Become Beautiful with Art Therapy

Robert Bradley lived through horrible events during the Yugoslav wars, and they left him scarring and suffering mentally. Thanks to art therapy, Bradley was able to find some relief for the painful memories that plagued him. Discover how art became both an outlet and a profession for him.

Rejection of a Dying Man

It was 1998, and Robert Bradley was on the radio pleading with a military operations centre for an airlift. The ride wasn’t for himself – it was for a badly wounded civilian. Since the dying man wasn’t military, no help came, and Bradley put the man in a vehicle and headed for a hospital. But the nearest hospital was about 40 minutes away, and by the time the pair arrived, it was too late for the civilian. He died shortly afterward.

PTSD and Art Therapy

This is just one of the many painful memories that return to haunt Robert Bradley over and over. He served in the military for 28 years; and after leaving, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2012. To cope with his PTSD, he took up painting and sculpture.

The act of creating art proved therapeutic for Bradley. He says it provides a great distraction from his reality when he paints or sculpts – when he focuses on what he is doing, he is no longer stressed about anything, he goes into a nice and and produces something that expresses how he feels.

A Promising Career

Art therapy isn’t always about skill; but in Bradley’s case, there was noticeable talent. His use of colour and perspective is unique. Even the paintings showing destruction in former Yugoslavia have a special depth and warmth to them. They show the humanity of the people trapped in those difficult circumstances.

Now in his fifties, Bradley studies at the Ottawa School of Art. He has an exhibition at the Fritzi Gallery in Ottawa. The collection, called “V is for Veteran,” consists of various prints, sculptures, and paintings. There are pieces of shrapnel from German beaches, displayed as art pieces. One sculpture, called “Untitled,” represents the pain Bradley still feels when he remembers that Bosnian citizen he failed to save. The sculpture combines chunks of shrapnel with a head and a hand formed of pure white alabaster.

PTSD and Mental Health in Singapore

People around the world suffer similar post-traumatic symptoms like Robert Bradley. Sometimes they stem from wartime experiences, and other times they occur after a traumatic event, a natural disaster, abuse, or an accident. The results can be long-lasting and debilitating. Fortunately, with treatment like art therapy and EMDR, patients can learn to cope with their PTSD and minimise its effect on their lives.

Art Therapy in Singapore

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore, art therapy is one of the treatments including several others we use to help people with post-traumatic stress. It’s helpful for men and women who have served with the police or the military, and it’s beneficial for children or young adults who have been abused or suffered an accident. Even the elderly can benefit from art therapy in Singapore, reclaiming some of their confidence and calm in spite of worsening dementia. To find out more about art therapy sessions, contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic today, and we’ll schedule a visit with an experienced therapist from our clinic.

Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic