Grief Education

The Use Of Art Therapy In Grief Support

Ashley Waite

Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit through expressive communication, thus bypassing the limitations of verbal communication.

In grief, art therapy can help with death-related grief and non-death related grief by:

1.) “Sensing and our Emotions - art therapy allows individuals who are grieving the opportunity to express their sensory and emotional experiences within the right side of the brain. Once the art is created, the individual and therapist are then able to process the art through discussion, engaging the left cognitive side of the brain. This is a full brain process of healing and meaning-making.

2.) Meaning Making: art therapy allows us to tap into our own ability to create meaning and perceive metaphorically within our own lives, which can in turn bring meaning and hope back into our lives.

3.) Existential Exploration: when we get into our own creative flow we are often able to discover new perspectives and insights through the emotional and heart-centered experience of creative self-expression.

4.) Honoring and Remembering: the art created within an art therapy session can allow individuals to share their memories more fully, to feel close to those who are no longer with us, or it can be used to let go of what once was. The art created can become a living memory that carries on or it can be a temporary remembrance of what we are leaving behind.

5.) Transformation: when someone we love dies we are changed forever, just as in other life transitions. The art created throughout art therapy sessions become vehicles documenting one’s transformation process, reflecting the changes that occur over time.”

If your interest is piqued, feel free to try the exercise below.

Souces: Becky Jacobson MA, ATR. “Art Therapy: Loss, Grief, & Transformation.” Art, Virginia-Art-Therapy, 12 Apr. 2016,

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