The Bereavement Art Counseling Program

The stories on this website by Melodie, Valarie, Maggie, and Danny originated in my Bereavement Art Counseling Program.

The Program consisted of them working with me in individual art counseling sessions each week. Here in the art studio, I encouraged them to use their paintings and drawings as a way of expressing their thoughts and feelings.

They immersed themselves in their art making each week, exploring the nuances of acrylic paint and oil pastels. Devising their own special art techniques to create images allowed them to express their grief in a safe way.

Through their participation, they experienced a growing need to create their art put on paper and canvas what they were experiencing in their lives. This became a viable process, a way to get in touch with themselves.... to express emotions and feelings that were difficult to access in any other way.

Returning to the studio to enact their “grieving ritual” became a familiar and necessary routine. These were the two hours that they set aside just for themselves, focusing solely on their wants and needs. Here in a protected environment they grew to rely on their art making - knowing it was helping them move forward and through the emotional pain they were experiencing.

Out of their work in their art counseling sessions came their stories, told through the paintings and drawings that they created describing growing awareness of themselves as they grieved.

The paintings and drawings by Melody, Valarie, Maggie, and Danny here were taken from their most significant sessions. These were chosen from a larger body of their artwork created over a year or longer.

Their artwork, evoking memories, perceptions, and expressions of their grief, was shared and entrusted with me each week. Knowing that they could rely on my guidance and support emboldened them to take risks in their art making...and by so doing, move deeper - shaping, defining, and eventually transcending their grief.