Art Therapy with Grieving Children and Adolescents


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Visual overview of using art therapy with grieving children and adolescents by Registered Board Certified art therapist Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC.

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Art Therapy with Grieving Children and Adolescents

  1. 1. Art Therapy with Grieving Children and Adolescents Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC
  2. 2. Art Therapy Overview  Individual art therapy sessions at agencies, schools, and in home for children & teens who experienced the death of a loved one through illness, accident, suicide, or violence.  Children and teen grief support groups and workshops through art therapy
  3. 3. Art Therapy Goals Art interventions that address:  Emotional expression of grief  Normalize and validate grief reactions  Strengthen coping  Death education  Memories and Memorializing
  4. 4. Adolescent Collage Death of Grandmother
  5. 5. Memory Collage Death of Father/ Illness
  6. 6. Adolescent Collage Death of Mother
  7. 7. Adolescent Collage Death of Father
  8. 8. Death of a Parent  Shatters sense of security & stability  Worries about financial and physical security  Feels different, isolated, alone  Concerns/worries about the surviving parent  Strong reactions triggered by rites of passage, special days and events  If relationship was conflicted or abusive, grieving can become very complicated
  9. 9. Grief Paper I like to write. Funny how “I can’t wait to get there” occasionally turns into “I can’t wait to get home.” My mind sometimes feels like rocks with a I get unhappy on the sunniest days sometimes blue sky even on the cloudiest days Grief Collage Murder of Mother
  10. 10. My Grief is like… Murder of Mother
  11. 11. Grief Reactions Common Among Homicide Survivors  Feelings of vulnerability, helplessness, threat  Feelings of being out of control  Search for understanding  Need to find who is to blame, seek punishment  Intense feelings of anger, fear, powerlessness  PTSD symptoms: sleep disturbances, anger outbursts, hyper vigilance, startle response, difficulty concentrating, feelings of terror  Need to regain control and order
  12. 12. Teen Support Group Suicide Survivor - Grief Reactions
  13. 13. Teen Support Group Suicide Survivor- Feelings Mask
  14. 14. Inside/Outside Feelings Mask Death of Father/Suicide
  15. 15. Grief Reactions Common Among Suicide Survivors  Feelings of rejection & abandonment  Feelings of shame, humiliation, dishonor  Decrease in self-esteem, self worth due to feelings of inadequacy and failure  Intense anger or rage  Need to place blame  Intense guilt because of perceived preventability  Fear of genetic predisposition towards suicide  Search for understanding- Why?
  16. 16. Children’s Support Group Promoting Feeling Expression
  17. 17. Children’s Support Group Common Grief Reactions Grief Monsters
  18. 18. Children’s Support Group Coping with Feelings & Grief Reactions
  19. 19. Children’s Support Group Funerals, Memorials, & Spirituality
  20. 20. Children’s Support Group Candle Memorial Ceremony
  21. 21. Children’s Support Group Art Display
  22. 22. Memory Poem & Photo Frame
  23. 23. Memory Drawing- Sunset with Dad
  24. 24. Family Art Therapy Workshop: Stepping Stones
  25. 25. Art Therapy Workshop: Memory Rocks
  26. 26. Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC Registered Board Certified Art Therapist Certified Trauma Consultant