Hunterdon Hospice Youth Art Bereavement Program: Healing Children Through Art

Child Art with HandsAcik / Getty | iStock Extended
January 4, 2015 | Advance Media

The Hospice Youth Art Bereavement Program is sensitive to the differences of a child’s response to death and loss. The creative arts therapy model focuses on teaching children healthy coping skills and how to deal with their grief. Since art therapy does not necessarily rely on verbal communication, a child who is shy or not able to articulate their feelings can work through their grief by using art.

[su_pullquote]So often, in our society, those who are suffering after the loss have very little support.[/su_pullquote]

Children are assigned to groups based on their developmental age. Being with peers who have had similar experiences normalizes the grief process. Through this interaction children learn to empathize with others, which can give them insight into their own pain. Listening and observing other children’s expressions of grief may also help them openly express their own feelings.

While children are involved in the art program, parents are encouraged to attend a special bereavement support group to help them cope with their grief. In addition, the group helps parents learn about their child’s perception of loss, as well as interventions for coping with their own grief.

So often, in our society, those who are suffering after the loss have very little support. This program helps children by providing art therapy projects and by giving them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.

Continue reading here.