An Art Therapist’s Shared Grief Experience at a Children’s Bereavement Art Therapy Group: An Art-Based Heuristic Study

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Taylor, Deanna
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
As a wounded healer, an art therapist may be confident that exposure to art therapy would heal their own pain as it had done for clients (Bardot, 2008). This heuristic researcher focused this art-based study on her own experiences while grieving the untimely death of her daughter, during an internship at a children’s bereavement art therapy program. She created many art pieces that held great meaning as she transitioned on her journey through grief. The study followed Moustakas’ (1990) six steps of heuristic research, reflective narrative, and artwork creation. Emphasis was placed on knowledge of art-based interventions for grief. The researcher noted five themes relating to grief including: (a) powerlessness, (b) physical symptoms, (c) psychological symptoms, (d) grief, and (e) art. The researcher discussed these themes and the implications they may have. This study will add to the literature on the effectiveness of art therapy with adults suffering from grief. Finally, by emerging into the art therapy directives used in a bereavement program, the researcher experienced healing benefits.