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Art Therapy In Grief Care

Working alongside our bereavement counselors, the integrative medicine team can provide support to those who are grieving. Recently, I have had the opportunity to provide art therapy sessions to two clients working through the loss of a spouse. Mr. H found great joy in sending photos from his everyday life to the woman he loved. He would stop along the roadside on the way to work to snap a photo of wildflowers or a beautiful sky. As he works through his grief, his photography has become a touchstone to her. Art therapy has provided some opportunities to shift this small habit to encourage mindfulness and expression of emotions.

A recent homework assignment was to make a list of feelings and then look for landscapes or images that could represent those feelings. Mrs. M and her husband were both artists, so a visual landscape comes naturally to her. In her art therapy sessions she has been working with the rich imagery of dreams. Mrs. M has been doing dream work for a long time, and a change in dreams is a common experience in grief. She has been working with words and images to interact with her dreams and gain some understanding about what they might mean. It has been a privilege to walk alongside these clients and to support the work they are doing with their BCN grief counselors.

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