Awakening...at the Refuge

The art of Self discovery...Creativity, Healing and Spirituality

Presentations and Experiential Workshops

Artful Grief:  Open Art Studio

 

One or two day conference presentation or workshop / CEU

 

 

 

Presentation Description:

 

Artful Grief: Open Art Studio serves two functions: 

 

First: As an educational resource. Specific art therapy techniques are presented, that are appropriate for use with clients who have experienced traumatic loss. There are case presentations, articles, displays of client art work and opportunities for hands on exploration of: Collage, Handmade Books/ “Restorative Retelling” of Grief Stories, Talking Sticks and Doll Making/ The Fabric of our Lives: Continuing Bonds Experience.

 

 

 

Second:  As a richly appointed "art making" sanctuary. All are welcome, from novices curious about grief and the expressive arts to seasoned “artists” longing to relax into a creative process, for pure delight and self soothing. Attendees are invited to spend a few minutes or a few hours…No talent required, only the willingness to be with what is in your heart, for “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

 

     As part of the Artful Grief: Open Art Studio experience, Sharon will share her own journey of healing through the creative process of collage making. A few of the collages she created will be on display as she answers questions about the images that arose from her loss.

 

 

 

     There will be a designated “Exhibition Space" where attendees may display their art work. These images will serve as examples of inner work, will stimulate conversation and highlight our shared human condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Artful Grief:  Complicated Grief, Collage and Trauma Theory

 

5 hour master class presentation / CEU

 

Co-Presenter:  Peggy Kolodny, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT

 

 

 

Presentation Description:

 

Artful Grief is a collage workshop focusing on images, created by an art therapist in response to the suicide of her seventeen year old daughter, as visual representations of complicated grief and complex trauma. It is an extensive experiential collage workshop for trauma focused therapists, who are often hesitant to treat grief; through didactic and mindful art experiential approaches. The neurobiological effects of complicated grief will be briefly reviewed with van der Kolk, Fisher and Perry’s trauma theories.  This case study is grounded in the grief and bereavement work of Neimeyer's Meaning Reconstruction Model, Worden's Task Model of Bereavement, Stroebe & Schut’s Dual Process Model and Shear’s work with Complicated Grief. Trauma and grief work supports the effectiveness of nonverbal creative interventions to address the somatic impact on mind/body.

 

 

 

Program Abstract:

 

We will explore our personal and professional experiences of complicated grief through collage making as a vehicle to piece together, process and integrate bereavement and trauma focused modalities for trauma informed and/or grief therapists.  Collage offers boundaried emotional safety in its use of found magazine imagery.

 

 

 

Three Learning Objectives:

 

1.      Participants will be able to describe three ways the creative process of collage can help the bereaved “revision narratives” of loss and create meaning.

 

 

 

2.      Participants will be able to identify four features of Complicated Grief as a form of Complex Trauma.

 

 

 

3.      Participants will be able to explain four ways that trauma and grief work support the effectiveness of creative interventions in addressing somatic and neurobiological impact on clients.

 

 

 

 

 

Artful Grief:  Grief, Loss and the Expressive Arts

 

3 hour presentation / CEU

 

 

 

Presentation Description:

 

      Artful Grief is a visual diary and case study of complicated grief by an art therapist, in the aftermath of her daughter's suicide.  This decade long journey is documented through the creative process of collage making. Sharon makes sense of her daughter's violent death, forges a new identity and returns to life.

 

     Ten of Sharon's spontaneous collages are presented within Neimeyer’s framework of Meaning Reconstruction, where three key elements are highlighted: The Practical: How did it happen, The Relational: Who am I and The Existential: Why did it happen. Worden’s Task Model of Bereavement and Stroebe and Schut’s Dual Process Model will also be addressed along with excerpts from Sharon's journals, which offer insight into the healing potential of the creative process.

 

 

 

     Although Artful Grief focuses on a creative process in response to a death by suicide it is applicable to those suffering through other traumatic life experiences.

 

 

 

      Participants will have the opportunity to experience the transformational process of image making by creating their own collages along with sharing and processing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of the teaching methods to be used:

 

Power Point Presentation with a discussion and Q&A

 

Experiential – Collage making opportunity for all participants

 

Process – Discussion and Q&A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Learning Objectives:

 

1.      Participants will identify three elements that support Meaning Reconstruction within bereavement as expressed through collage making: The Practical: How did it happen, The Relational: Who am I and The Existential: Why did it happened.

 

 

 

2.      Participants will recognize Worden’s: Task Model of Bereavement and Strobe and Schut’s: Dual Process Model, two current conceptualizations of the grief response, expressed and enlivened in an expressive arts modality.

 

 

 

3.      Participants will understand, from principle to practice, how magazine words and images used in the construction of collage, reflect an experience of loss, invite presence and provide a safe structure/ container for exploring what is impossible to articulate.

 

 

 

The Fabric of our Lives…human and sublime / Doll Making

 

Half day or full day master class / CEU

 

Co-presenter:  Sarah Vollmann, MPS, ATR-BC, LICSW

 

 

 

Presentation Description:

 

This didactic and experiential workshop will introduce doll making as a transformative art therapy technique, effective in the treatment of traumatic loss. This creative and imaginative approach to grief therapy is anchored in grief and bereavement theory:  The Constructivist Theory of Meaning Making where grief narratives and identity reconstruction engage an essential question, “Who am I,” in the effort toward sense making and benefit finding (Thompson & Neimeyer, 2014) and Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy, (Kosminsky & Jordan, 2016) where the doll making process and concrete, transitional object support an exploration of relationship and the continuing bond with the deceased.  Case studies will demonstrate the efficacy of this art therapy modality (Stance, 2014; Strouse, 2013) where the bereaved engage a non-verbal process that targets sensory-emotive-cognitive processing areas of the brain that are needed for psychological transformation,” (Hass-Cohen, 2015) resulting in a pliable human form, symbolic of themselves or a lost love. In this workshop form gives way to formlessness, which gives way to form again and the fabric of our lives are deconstructed and reconstructed in service to healing.  The body is a “mirror where the secret world of the soul comes to expression.  The body is a sacred threshold; and it deserves to be respected, minded, and understood.  (Participants will experience) that place where the inner life and intimacy of souls longing to find an outer mirror, is met…a place where we are seen and felt and touched.”   (O’Donohue, 1997)

 

 

 

Program Abstract:

 

This didactic, experiential workshop introduces doll making as a transformative art therapy technique, effective in the treatment of traumatic loss. Anchored in grief and bereavement theory we explore doll making through the lens of: The Constructivist Theory of Meaning Making, a vehicle for narrative and identity reconstruction, sense making, benefit finding and Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy, where creative process and concrete, transitional object support exploration of the continuing bond.  Case studies demonstrate the efficacy of this art therapy modality as the bereaved engage a non-verbal process that “targets sensory-emotive-cognitive processing areas of the brain that are needed for psychological transformation.”

 

 

 

Three Learning Objectives:

 

1.      To discuss art based theoretical foundations that support the use of creative and expressive interventions with the bereaved.

 

 

 

2.      To examine doll making, an imaginative process that addresses the shattered “self,” within the framework of the Constructivist Theory of Meaning Making, identity reconstruction, sense making and benefit finding.

 

 

 

3.      To understand doll making through the lens of Attachment-informed Grief Therapy, where the process and tangible object are in service to the continuing bond with the deceased.

 

 

 

Creative and Imaginative “Restorative Retelling” of our Grief Stories

 

Half day or full day master class / CEU

 

Co-presenter:  Rebekah Near, LCAT, CAGS

 

 

 

Presentation Description:

 

Everybody has a grief story and it is easy to get “stuck” in that story, unable to see past the tragedy of one’s grief.  This didactic and experiential workshop on “restorative retelling,” will introduce a variety of transformative creative therapies techniques, effective in the treatment of traumatic loss and complicated grief.  This creative and imaginative approach to grief therapy will merge creative arts based theory and practices with the grief and bereavement theory’s of Neimeyer, Rynearson and Shear. These “non-verbal creative processes, that target sensory-emotive-cognitive processing areas of the brain,  needed for psychological transformation,” (Hass-Cohen, 2015) will find form in the Constructivist Theory of Meaning Making where sense making and benefit findings are enhanced by guided grief narratives (Neimeyer, 2012, Thompson and Neimeyer, 2014) and “self distancing” writing.  (Kross & Ayduk, 2011)  The creative concepts of “Restorative Retelling,” essential to Rynearson (2011) and Shear’s Models (2011) are highlighted as creative techniques ease the way and provide structure and coherence to dualistic, disabling and senseless experiences of traumatic loss.  “In creative moments it is the strength of the arts that help convert the grief story into a story with renewed life and vital energy.” (Near, 2012)  In this workshop the form of the story gives way to formlessness, which gives way to form again.  (Strouse, 2013) The stories we tell ourselves will be deconstructed and reconstructed in this art based experiential with ample opportunity for discussion of theoretical concepts and their application to actual therapeutic work with complicated clients.

 

 

 

 

 

Program Abstract:

 

This didactic, experiential workshop on “restorative retelling,” introduces a variety of transformative creative therapies techniques, effective in the treatment of traumatic loss and complicated grief.  Non-verbal creative processes will find form in the Constructivist Theory of Meaning Making, sense making and benefit findings, guided by grief narratives and “self distancing” writing.  “Restorative Retelling,” essential to Rynearson and Shear’s Models are highlighted by art making that provide structure and coherence to dualistic, disabling experiences of loss.  Stories are deconstructed and reconstructed in this art based experiential with ample opportunity for theoretical discussions and their application to therapeutic work with complicated clients.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Learning Objectives:

 

1.      To discuss art based theoretical foundations that support the use of creative and expressive interventions with the bereaved.

 

 

 

2.      To understand art based “Restorative Retelling” through the lens of the Constructivist Theory of meaning making, sense making and benefit finding.

 

 

 

3.      To examine specific art therapy techniques well suited to facilitate “Restorative Retelling,” essential to Rynearson’s and Shear’s grief and bereavement models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTFUL GRIEF EXPERIENTIAL WORKSHOPS

 

 

 

Collage…integrating the torn pieces

 

90 minute, 3 hour or all day workshop or conference experience

 

 

 

Collage was first used in China around 200 BC.  It derives its name from the French verb coller, to glue.  It is a technique of composing works of art by pasting paper onto any surface. It is a healing technique I embraced in the aftermath of my daughter Kristin’s suicide in 2001.  It became the foundation for my book Artful Grief:  A diary of healing (Strouse, 2013) and the mainstay of my professional work in the field of grief and bereavement.

 

Collage…integrating the torn pieces, is a visual diary and case study of traumatic grief.  It includes personal collage images, created in the aftermath of my daughter Kristin’s suicide in 2001, as well as collages created by the bereaved I work with.  The art work on display will enliven and make visible several grief theories and models: Neimeyer’s Meaning Reconstruction Model, Worden’s Task Model of Bereavement and, Stroebe & Schut’s Dual Process Model of Coping.  Additionally, the workshop offers hands on opportunities for creating two and three dimensional collages as well as processing.

 

          

 

Handmade Watercolor Books:  Tiny pages that speak volumes

 

90 minute to half day experiential workshop

 

 

 

Handmade Books: Tiny pages that speak volumes, offers the opportunity for reflective writing during a creative process that supports sense making.  During our time together we will…write, loosen, let go, layer, soften, dissolve, flow, tear, deconstruct, fold, tie together, hold and embrace…our stories.  We are story tellers and have been for millennia.  Our knowledge, wisdom and passion have been carved onto the walls of caves, written on tablets, hides, parchment, paper and more recently, created sitting at our computers.  Our stories are personal and visceral, and when we find a safe place for them to be heard and seen there is healing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing/ Medicine/ Prayer and/or Talking Sticks

 

90 minute to half day experiential workshop

 

 

 

Healing Sticks, Medicine Sticks, Prayer Sticks and/or Talking Sticks come out of Aboriginal and Native American traditions.  They are important to those crossing the “desert” while on their grief journeys. These long narrow ceremonial objects, crafted from tree branches, and measuring the distance between your elbow and fingertips, are decorated with paint, feathers, beads, twine, leather and various found objects. They empower us, they are symbolic and embody our prayers or petitions, they clarify intentions, strengthen inner resources and embolden our voice through freedom of expression.  They are tangible objects of hope and healing as we move through the waste land toward growth and new life. Join us and craft your personal “Healing, Medicine, Prayer and/or Talking Stick”… of HOPE.

 

 

 

              

 

Mask Making

 

90 minute to half day experiential workshop

 

 

 

Masks and mask making are ancient and powerful tools, used in the process of healing and the journey toward wholeness.  Evidence of their use can be found on the walls of caves as far back as 12,000 years ago.  You will harness your innate gifts of imagination and your ability to create, and like your ancestors, use the magic of mask making to explore various aspects of your persona, find new ways to communicate hidden thoughts, feelings and memories, reclaim joy and open locked doors.  Masks reveal, conceal, and forever memorialize all at the same time. The mask making process is an opportunity for healing and transformation. 

 

 

 

Casting material will be used to create an authentic mask of your face.  Vaseline will be applied to your face and then wet casting material will be overlaid. This will set and dry for a time and then be removed from your face.  You will work in pairs throughout the creative process and share your experience at the end of the workshop. Your mask will dry completely overnight and you will be able to decorate it the following day.