Group Uses Art Therapy to Work Through Grief
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The loss of a loved one causes pain and sadness. On Saturday, children who have lost a parent or grandparent received help dealing with their grief. They used fun and interesting tools to do it.
FOX 4 talked to a bereavement counselor on Saturday who said when people lose someone or something they love, it can put them on an emotional roller coaster. So, from crying to coloring, some students took their pain to paper to express their feelings.
It’s called art therapy and with a little glue, scissors, paper and paint, children and young adults worked through the pain of losing a loved one. Alex and Andrew Robertory lost their mother Paula six months ago to Ovarian Cancer.
“It’s been hard for the family so I’ve just been trying to keep it inside,” said Robertory.
On Saturday, their mother’s 47th birthday, Alex and Andrew made memory boxes with their mom in mind. Pete Robertory says he’s trying to help his sons cope with their mom’s death by keeping them busy.
“They are really not coming out with a lot of questions,” he said. “We were very open with them as her disease progressed so they were very aware of what the possibilities might be.”
Robertory says his boys are seeing a counselor when they feel the need but art therapist Noel Kearns says opening up to a stranger and sharing your deep personal feelings can be difficult and uncomfortable.
“Most people do not want to do that so that’s why in art therapy it makes it a lot easier,” therapist Noel Kearns said. “The focus is on the art it’s not on you and so the art being a reflection of what’s going on inside to talk about that third item in the room its a lot more comfortable for people.”
Kearns said she asks open-ended and non-threatening questions to get the kids to talk about their project and what they’re feeling. Bringing those feelings to the surface can be a challenge as well according to bereavement coordinator Sandy Franzwa. She says some teens don’t know how to share what they’re feeling.
“They tend to hold things in, rely on their friends for support so it’s a great way to release things,” Franzwa said.
Alex Robertory says he hasn’t really felt like drawing, but he wants to get back into it.
“I haven’t been drawing very much since she passed away and she always wanted me to do that so, I’m trying to keep drawing more and more,” Robertory said.
Alex and Andrew seemed to really enjoy the art therapy. Each of the kids can put a picture of their mom in the memory boxes they made and other personal items related to their mom.