Date of Award

Summer 9-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Theresa M. Benson, PhD



Working through grief is imperative for continued positive mental health, this is especially true in children and adolescents where the grief response is due to the death of a parent. Accordingly, this thesis is focused on the bereaved infant, child or adolescent when processing, coming to terms with, and internalizing the loss of the parent through the use of art therapy. Art therapy is a very effective form of therapy for the bereaved child, and that processing grief through the use of art therapy facilitates the child’s adaptation and resilience to this type of loss for better outcomes later in life. A review of literature shows that when working with bereaved children, art therapists may use the theories developed for adults as markers for keeping focused and oriented (Neimeyer, 1998), these vital resources are the beginnings of childhood grief research in art therapy and are discussed following the introduction. The history of these grief models and theories with adults eventually acknowledge that children do in fact grieve differently than adults. The beginnings of the therapeutic relationship between the art therapist and child grieving due to loss of a parent is introduced. Findings show that art therapy during this time of grief will improve outcomes later in life.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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