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Expressive Arts for Grieving Children

Expressive Arts for Grieving Children

July 31, 2014 / by Administrator

"The support that the Expressive Arts program has provided Miles in dealing with the loss of his big brother and hero, Ruben, has been phenomenal. The staff and volunteers have created an environment for him to express his feelings and see that he is not alone. He looks forward to Tuesday’s meeting which is something he has not done with other forms of therapy. The programs are very caring and hands-on, and have allowed Miles to progress to a point that I know he would not have reached without them."

- Jason Appleby, Groton CT

The care, programs, and services that Center for Hospice Care provides go far beyond quality hospice care for our patients.  We consider the entire family to be our “unit of care.”  For this reason, we are dedicated to supporting the family prior to and after the death of their loved one with a range of bereavement counseling services that provide emotional support and practical tools for coping with grief – including our Expressive Arts program for grieving children and teens. 

In the wake of the death of their loved one, children experience intense and complex emotions.  Often their pain goes unrecognized in school and social settings, making them the “forgotten grievers.”   The adults in their life may also be dealing with profound grief, and as a consequence may be uncertain how to give their children the support and care they need.  

The mission of our Expressive Arts program is to help children in their mourning process by providing physical, emotional, and cognitive outlets to express themselves.   The program is open to any child in Southeast Connecticut who has experienced the loss of a loved one, whether or not the loved one was in our hospice program.   We provide these programs free-of-charge, funding them through philanthropy. 

Our Expressive Arts program – which is the only program of its kind in Southeast Connecticut – provides children an emotionally-safe and non-judgmental environment in which to use creative outlets to express and manage their emotions, while building coping skills.  Our Registered Art Therapist, Linda Bradley, facilitates the program. She is assisted by trained volunteer artists and teachers.

The art forms and themes used in the program include: 

  • Drawing, painting, collage, and scrapbooking focused on the creation of memory books and memory boxes 
  • Music, songwriting, percussion, and movement
  • Creative story writing, reading, and telling
  • Expressive movement, drama, and improvisation
  • Play therapy
  • Simple culinary arts 

In addition to providing the means of expressing grief and other deep emotions, these activities help the children to feel less isolated.  In the Expressive Arts program children meet and get to know other children who are experiencing similar emotions associated with the loss of a loved one.

Our Expressive Arts program serves children, ages 5 - 12 and teens 13 - 17.  Weekly sessions last for 1.75 hours.  The program’s Spring and Fall modules consist of 6 sessions each and run concurrent with school semesters.  Children can be registered at any time, and they can remain in the program for as long as they need the support it provides.

To learn more about the program or to register a child, please call or e-mail our Art Therapist Linda Bradley at lbradley@hospicesect.org or 860-848-5699.

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