GRIEF THROUGH ART: ART THERAPY BEREAVEMENT GROUP WORKSHOPS HEALING
Malinda Ann Hill, M.A.
“Healing from grief is not the process of forgetting,
it is the process of remembering with less pain and more joy.”
In recent years, professionals in the fields of grief counseling and art therapy have done much to address the value of non-verbal therapeutic approaches, such as drawing and guided visualization, to deal with the emotional stress arising from terminal illness and grief. In fact, the number of articles about art therapy with the dying and bereaved has steadily risen in the hospice and art therapy literature over the past ten years (Birnbaum,1991; Crenshaw, 1990 Goldstein Alter & Axelrod, 1996; Levi, Gilad & Friedman-Kalmovitca, 1996).
Grieving individuals are faced with overwhelming feelings and without proper support these intense feelings can lead to low self-esteem, depression, suicidal ideation and/or physical illness (Stroebe & Stroebe, 1987; Vachon, Sheldon, Lancee, Lyall, Rogers & Freeman, 1982; Windholz, Marmar & Horowitz, 1985). It has been found that many grieving individuals respond more quickly using creative arts therapies than through traditional verbal therapy (Irwin, 1991; Junge, 1985; McIntyre, 1990; Simon 1981).
Generally, in today’s fast-paced society there is little time, space or support available for the grieving individual (Rosenblatt, 1988). During the period of grief, the physical and emotional well-being of the bereaved individual may be threatened (Carey, 1977; Clayton & Darvish, 1979; Parkes and Weiss, 1983; Osterweis, Solomon & Green, 1984; Rogers & Reich, 1988; Parkes, 1990). Health risks and psychological problems can be lessened and/or avoided if proper support and help is made available (Leick & David-Nielsen, 1990; Lieberman & Videka-Sherman, 1986; Nerken, 1993; Sanders, 1992; Rando, 1984; Reif, Patton, & Gold, 1995). Therefore, it is important to provide grieving individuals with emotionally supportive interventions in order to prevent long-term problems. Continued here…