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P-2  Using art therapy to explore bereavement and develop personal understanding
  1. Laureen Hemming1,
  2. Hannah Cridford1,2 and
  3. Finn Collier1
  1. 1Peace Hospice Care, Watford, UK
  2. 2Hospice of St Francis, Berkhamsted, UK


The Starlight Centre at the Peace Hospice Care has a focus on supporting people through their end –of-life experience and aims to enhance a person’s full potential through rehabilitation programmes and promoting wellbeing. It also supports people through the provision of counselling; both pre- and post-bereavement. The team is multi-professional and the clients have a host of needs, come from diverse backgrounds and are of varying ages.

Two streams; that of art psychotherapy and bereavement counselling combined to set up a closed group where participants could, through art work, build new relationships and share and explore the impact of lost relationships. It was hoped that there would be a potential for relationships formed to continue beyond the life of the formal group. Worden’s four tasks of grieving were used to inform the aims and objectives for the group.

The pilot group was small (three clients, one dropped out just before the start of that group and another could not commit to the six sessions) and were recruited following an assessment which included drawing a picture of a bridge. The focus was less on artistic skills but more on the meaning of the imagery used, the feelings evoked by the imagery and the opportunity to verbally express and share their thoughts and feelings.

At the end of the six sessions, clients reviewed their work and analysed their journey in an hour long session with a ‘bereavement’ counsellor.

The group was managed throughout by the art psychotherapist and the bereavement counsellor.

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