Military Family Services
Operation Oak Tree is ITA's programming for military children and families throughout the cycle of deployment. Its mission is to empower individual expression in order to foster personal growth, deepen interpersonal roots between and among family members, strengthen coping strategies so that families may more easily weather challenges inherent in each season of the cycle, and to make it easy for families to branch out into their communities for support.
When providing therapeutic opportunities through artistic mediums, participants are able to explore feelings through the safety of a contained experience. Drama, art and music therapy provide a means of nonverbal expression which then can be viewed, heard or enacted, providing an external representation of internal thoughts and emotions. This artistic representation can then be processed verbally with therapists in order to explore personal reactions and facilitate insight into each individual’s own experience.
Creative arts therapists monitor this process carefully, attending to expressive content as it emerges and frequently containing it within a metaphor. Art can then become a process one can explore with without revealing too much personally. Instead, personal experiences are attributed to the art medium through a dramatic character, a drawing or a musical composition.