The Art of Grief
The Use of Expressive Arts in a Grief Support Group
Edited by J. Earl Rogers
Routledge – 2007 – 224 pages
Art and other expressive therapies are increasingly used in grief counseling, not only among children and adolescents, but throughout the developmental spectrum. Creative activities are commonly used in group and individual psychotherapy programs, but it is only relatively recently that these expressive modalities have been employed within the context of clinical grief work in structured settings. These forms of nonverbal communication are often more natural ways to express thoughts and feelings that are difficult to discuss, particularly when it comes to issues surrounding grief and loss. Packed with pictures and instructional detail, this book includes an eight-session curriculum for use with grief support groups as well as alternative modalities of grief art therapy.
"I think the primary audience is those who offer support groups which would include hospice, funeral homes, clergy, mental health professionals, non profit grief support group programs, etc. A secondary group might be the school personnel they offer grief support groups. If the work was a text, I could see it as a supplement to a course in grief work or group work in counseling. I found the appeal to this book is a fresh presentation of use of the creative arts in grief support work. I like the separation of chapters into music, sand work, creative drama, art, etc. I agree with the assumption of broadening the intellectual model of working with grief and using other parts of our psyche to access our grief process. I think there is a place for this book and that it could have a long shelf life as its presentation suggests it will be a broad and approachable work. I think it is written from an original approach and that it could be cutting edge in bringing a strong sense of the impact of these create art forms into grief work. I would like to see more information on children and teen support groups and am interested in how he will develop that chapter. I thought the outline of the book looked great and look forward to seeing it more developed. I recommend the book be signed because I think it is a special topic not often approached. Dr. Rogers has a user friendly approach that I hope would prevail throughout the text." - Linda Goldman, MS, LCPC, author, Raising Our Children to Be Resilient
"I agree with the potential markets outlined by the author, i.e. professionals involved in death education and counseling. I would recommend that the book be written for people who have experience in the field of grief counseling and education. If someone is presenting themselves as the "leader" of a "grief group", then they need to have some training and experience. The book’s voice needs to be geared toward its intended audience. I think that a book of this sort is needed and would provide a useful resource once the intended audience is clarified. While the manuscript is in very rough form, its overall conception is good. I think that this proposal is in very rough form and needs revisions. Hence, I would select item "b" at this time. With revisions as discussed above, I believe that this would be a valuable book." - Barbara Thompson, OTR/L, LCSW, Associate Professor, The Sage College, USA
"Earl’s book is an excellent new direction in bereavement care that will enrich and comfort many. This book identifies an available, adaptable, and affordable process for individual journeying that taps the rich resources of story and feelings within, and at the pace of that given individual. Their approach to bereavement care, to life and death, transcend all age groups, belief systems and cultures to lead people to story, hope and healing. The author, and the many contributors, have identified their theme, content and market. The proposed content looks good. It is important to keep the structure and flow simple enough that someone isn’t inclined to back away because it may appear too complicated. There is an energy to justify this important field and provide interesting history, as addressed in the introduction. Keep the content organized, practical and accessible. This book needs to be published." - Rev. Richard Gilbert, Ph.D., BCC, CT, Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Center
The Use of Expressive Arts in a Grief Group. Introduction. Leading Grief Support Groups. Basics of Grief and Loss. Children and Teens. How to Use This Book. The Grief Support Group Curriculum. Albert, The Storytellers: Oral History and Writing Yourself Well. The Written Story: Creative Writing, Journalism and Poetry. Sandtray: An Accessible Strategy for Grief Process. The Body of Grief. The Art of Collage. Burgess, The Music. Chandler, Drama and Theater. Rogers, Grief and the Sacred Art of Ritual. Alternative Art Forms, Programs and Stories of Healing Art. Koff-Chapin, McIntyre, Koeleman, The Painters. Baker, Phillips, The Writers. Mier, The Programs. Thomae, McNamee, Arts in Hospice. Baughman, Kiser, Programs for Teens and Children. Feldman, Rogers, Alternative Art Forms. Walsh, Moore, Wayman, Allport, Stories of Art, Grief and Healing. Rogers, Mispireta, Conclusion
J. Earl Rogers, JD, Psy.D., CT, is Director of Clinical Services, Comox Valley Hospice, where he also practices as a certified thanatologist and end of life counselor. Dr. Rogers also maintains a private counseling practice in Courtenay, British Columbia. He has served on the board of directors of ADEC, and is an active member of the ACA and several prominent US and Canadian hospice associations.