Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Vivien Marcow Speiser
Children and adolescents who have experienced the death of a family member are faced with the emotional journey of grieving their loss, which may be accompanied with existential concerns about life and death in general. Bereavement programs serve to connect children with others who know what losing a family member is like. Art therapy can be used in these bereavement groups to express and give shape to the emotions and memories the participants have. It is a non-verbal way to reflect and find meaning that can come from post-traumatic growth. This capstone thesis project explores an art therapy method for bereaved children and adolescents that draws upon theories in existential therapy. This method was incorporated into bereavement programming for 15 individuals age 4-18 and the results are discussed in this capstone. “Grief never ends… But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love." -Author Unknown
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Johnson, Catherine, "Existential Art Therapy in Children’s Bereavement Groups: Development of a Method" (2019). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 170.
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