Using Art in Grief Expression: Art Techniques From the “Inside Out” Teri Echtenkamp, MS Ted E. Bear Hollow Omaha, NE [email protected] 18th Annual NAGC Symposium June 20, 2014 Objectives Identify important tenets of adolescent grief group work using art techniques List and practice art techniques to utilize in adolescent grief groups Participate in sharing of ideas and experiences with colleagues Meet and Greet Dyad and Tryad Sharing A fact about your journey here this morning A quirky fact about yourself Your favorite artist, painting, or museum One helpful and one unhelpful grief experience What do you hope to gain from this training? A Metaphor by Milton Erickson (Frey, 1984) You might be interest in knowing that there once was a horse that ran away from his home. A boy, not knowing where the horse was from, mounted the horse and allowed the horse to lead him, being careful, however, not to allow the horse to go into a ditch or a barbed wire fence. Eventually, the horse turned up a lane to a farm. The owners came running from their house, very surprised and happy to see their horse. They asked the boy how he ever discovered where the horse belonged. The boy said he just let the horse lead, while he gently guided him away from excessive danger. Eleven Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved (Wolfelt, 2001) Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain. Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out. Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect. Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head. Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles. Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading or being led. Companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling up every moment with words. Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward. Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic. Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them. Companioning is about compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise Adolescent Grief Worden’s (1996) four tasks Accepting reality of the loss Experiencing the pain of grief Adjusting to an environment without the deceased Emotionally repositioning the deceased in order to move ahead with life Wolfelt’s (2001) six tasks Acknowledge the reality of the death Move toward the pain Remember the deceased Develop a new self-identity Search for meaning Let others support you now and in the future Adolescent Group Work Group Healing Attributes (Malekoff,1997; Murthy & Smith, 2005) Providing a supportive and cohesive environment Creating a sense of community Encouraging development of in-depth relationships Reducing isolation Rediscovering feelings of hope Encouraging peer support Educating on healthy coping skills Providing a safe environment for discussion and release of unexpressed emotions Offering structure, limits, and consistency Opportunity to practice new roles and responsibilities Creative Expression Play, art, activity, music, ritual Malchiodi (2005) affirms the talking cure can be enhanced by utilizing “expressive action that engages emotions in a direct and physical way-an ability to generate creative energy as a healing force for mind, body, and spirit” (p. ix) Veach and Gladding (2007) purport creative group expression “centers on stimulating affect within the adolescents while simultaneously offering them cognitive insight and behavioral observation” (p. 72) Usefulness of Group Art Therapy In Grief: Contributing Factors (Hill, n.d.) Hastens Grief Process and Promotes Coping Skills Remember and Commemorate the Deceased Creation of Healing Rituals Helps to Organize and Regain Sense of Containment Promotes Exploration and Expression of Feelings Facilitates Cathartic Effect and Kinesthetic Release Encourages Communication and Discussion Encourages Self Awareness, Growth and Healing Pleasurable and Relaxing Activity Art is Symbolic Final Product and Permanence Goals/Purpose of Art Activity Important to identify the grief needs of the group/individual, first. Then choose an appropriate art activity to companion with those needs. Suggested goals/purpose/objectives Rapport and relationship building Explore personal beliefs around death Increase sense of self or self understanding Containment, boundary work Making new connections Problem solving Recognition, understanding, and/or appropriate expression of feeling Increase sense of empowerment/validate strength Identify personal changes Enriching social skills/social supports Blessing to Start An Activity Candle Fairy burning bright, Come and share with us your light. May we always learn to share With the children everywhere. Candle Fairy burning bright, Come and share with us your light. -Dearborn, 1999 Invitation to Companion Together: Let’s Explore “Inside out” Brain Art The River (Buchalter, 2004) Hands-Inside/Out (Dollinger, Kazmierczak, & Storkerson, 2011) A Cloud (Buchalter, 2004) The Rosebush (Oaklander, 1978) J. Doe Mandala Feeling Maps (Malchiodi, 2006) The Moon Balloon (Drescher, 2005) http://www.expressivetherapist.com/group-activities.html Holding the Space for Others (Rogers, 2007) Don’t interpret, evaluate, or diagnose In the context of grief, art is designed as a tool to allow expression of grief, healing the wounds of loss. The primary work is done in the nonverbal expression not in the verbal processing IT’S OKAY TO PASS!! Listen and observe Non directive Tell me your title. “I wonder”, “Tell me more about”, “I’m curious about” “What might it be like to live in this art?” “Are you in there?” “What happened next…?” “What happened before this?” “What might be the most important thing about this art?” “I wonder what this…would say to this…?” “Is there anything else you would like to share?” Respectful Approaches to Talking About the Art (Berlingo, 2011) Active observation Reflect back only what you see with the art No decoding of symbols Your interpretation is just that-yours! Let the artist unfold their art story. Describe what you see Stay objective After the artist identifies items, stay within the metaphor “I wonder what this tree would say to the bird?” Sublimation through art “What do you see?” “I see this brown area” NOT “I see the ground here” Dialog with art “I see these lines at the top” “You have many colors and shapes” “Try to curb your own inclinations to change, brighten, or smooth over content that may seem angry or violent or negative — art is a safe playground. Art provides an opportunity for working with of the darker side of being human.” Withholding opinions No criticism or praise! Facilitating Discovery (Mitchell, 2014) Refer to handouts “How to respond to the client’s art in a way that facilitates discovery” “It’s about the PROCESS, not the PRODUCT: Some basics on how to talk about the artwork that our child makes in therapy” http://www.innercanvas.com/artfix/ On line creative workshop for healers Guidelines for Doing Good Grief Work Kevin Henry http://www.wpahs.org/frh/donor/documents/GuidelinesforDoingGoodGrief_000.pdf Be faithful to your healing task – don’t run away or arrange too many distractions; trust yourself to be able to do your grief work well. Allow and honor your feelings – your healing will be found at the heart of the whole huge unspeakably intense and disorderly jumble of them all. Be willing to give expression to your feelings – recall that as Mr. Rogers said, “Anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable.” Take particularly good care of yourself – grief is messy, confusing, and exhausting, and you need and deserve your own best comfort, support and patience as you move through it. Seek the help of other people – the support of a few, trusted others can add energy, strength and insight. Be forgiving of those who don’t understand – others may need your help to understand what you’re experiencing and what you need, and may themselves be paralyzed by their powerlessness to diminish your pain. Stay in touch with your strengths and your integrity – look to your deep and subtle gifts as you redefine yourself, and be sensitive to the fact that an attitude of victimization will just compound and complicate your distress. Guidelines for Doing Good Grief Work (con’t) Kevin Henry http://www.wpahs.org/frh/donor/documents/GuidelinesforDoingGoodGrief_000.pdf Understand that your grief will have its own unique timing, rhythms and cycles – working as best you can with “just right now,” rather than “what it should be” will help you reclaim your grounding and wholeness. Realize your own power in the face of trauma – an “I can” attitude to compliment your flexibility can alert you to your real and invaluable internal resources and deepen your sense of resilience, helping you to remember your power and personal choice can never be taken from you. Recall with compassion that grief is a universal human experience – while honoring your own unique process. Know that loss is part of the shared mystery of all of our lives, and that you are not now, or ever alone. Be curious about what can be learned – facing the seemingly impossible can be a source of deep healing and transformation; be prepared, in fact, to discover some remarkably good things about yourself. Look for opportunities to carry forth a fitting legacy – realize that death does not end a relationship, and that what you treasure in your loved one can be supported, nurtured, and celebrated such that your bond is continued in countless creative ways. Be willing to experience the reconciliation that is your healing – be mindful that, though you don’t control life, you can work through this unimaginably tremendous challenge and continue to learn, and to flourish, and to love living again. Peace of Mind, Joy and Fulfillment Barbara Karnes https://bkbooks.com/ Know self, then can help others (Kuebler-Ross) Recognize own fears, preconceptions, culture, childhood. Examine the patterns we’ve created, so we can clean house periodically. Change or release what we have outgrown. Everyone has hurts, fears, secrets, wounds, scars-that is life. Deal with it instead of burying. Keep own house as tidy as possible so have energy to help others. Balance. Know how to say no. Don’t overextend. Can’t carry people’s physical or emotional pain. Laugh and play in life, find joy. Avoid the “gerbil wheel of living”. What is life about? What do you want from living? Gratitude and Purpose. What was good about today? What have I traded a day of my life for? Meta-sharing Your Experience Ripple Effects Personal What was the experience like for you? What did you learn about yourself, others? What was helpful, not helpful? Professional How could you use art expression in your own practice? What did I learn today I can use with individuals, small groups, consulting with professionals and/or parents? Identify a small, concrete step to implement. Blessing to End An Activity May the Circle be open, But unbroken. May the love of the Goddess Be ever in our hearts. Merry meet and merry part And merry meet again. -Dearborn, 1999 References Berlingo, J. (2011). http://www.jenberlingo.com/tag/talking-about-art/ Buchatler, S. (2004). A practical art therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers Dearborn, S. (1999). A child’s book of blessings. New York: Scholastic. Drescher, J. (2005). The moon balloon: A journey of hope and discovery for children and families. Waltham, MA: Arvest Press. Dollinger, S. J., Kazmierczak, E., & Storkerson, P. K.. (2011). Creativity and selfexploration in projective drawings of abused women: Evaluating the inside meoutside me workshop. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 6, 202-219. Fitzsimmons, Michael (2006). Water flows over me (CD). http://www.dancingmanmusic.com/ Hill, M. (n.d.) Healing grief through art: A literature review of art therapy bereavement group workshops. Drawn Together. Retrieved April 9, 2014 from http://www.agoodgroup.com/drawntogether/healing.htm Kymissis, P., Christenson, E., Swanson, A. J., Orlowski, B. (1996). Group treatment of adolescent inpatients: A pilot study using a structured therapy approach. Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy, 6, 45-52. Lohr, C. K. (2001). J. Doe the artists-The project; Omaha, NE: Colonial Press. Malchiodi, C. A. (2006). Art therapy sourcebook; New York: McGraw-Hill References (con’t) Malchiodi, C. A. (2005). Expressive therapies: history, theory, and practice. In Malchiodi, C. A. (Ed.), Expressive therapies (pp. 1-15). New York: Guilford Press Malekoff, A. (1997). Group work with adolescents: Principles and practice. New York: Guildford Press. Mitchell, L. (April 3, 2014). The Secrets to Using Art as a Healing Process. Workshop. Omaha, NE Murthy, R. & Smith, L. (2005). Grieving, sharing and healing: A Guide for facilitating early adolescent bereavement groups. Champaign, IL: Research Press. Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to our children: a gestalt therapy approach to children and adolescents. Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal Press. Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to our children: a gestalt therapy approach to children and adolescents. Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal Press. Rogers, J.E. (2007). The art of grief: The use of expressive arts in a grief support group. NY: Routledge. Samite. (1999). Stars to Share (CD). Veach, L. J., & Gladding, S. T. (2007). Using creative group techniques in high schools. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 32, 71-81. Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart for teens. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press. Worden, J. W. (1996). Children and grief. New York: Guilford Press.