Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grief Group Work

As mentioned previously, my graduate school journey has both professional and personal therapeutic components. Among the personal has been participating in a loss and bereavement workshop and group through a local Hospice. (It also happens to be led by an art therapist, so this is a double bonus.) Today was the last day of the holiday support group I was attending.

Each week we began the group by selecting colored glass stones and saying something about what it represented or acknowledging something about our process. I wanted to do something special with my glass to memorialize the experience and remember what I was thinking each week when I took a stone.

I spent Sunday night doing this...

The last three stones were added today: the green and the two larger stones. The large stones were made at the end of our last group. They are clear with images/words in the background. One was my own and another was from another group member. Interestingly, they both say "growth," which is what I have received from my whole loss ordeal, as terrible as it has been.

The banner across the chest (and title) is "It Only Hurts Because You Loved." That was my mantra after losing my mother, which has been the hardest for me, and reading Grieving Mindfully by Sameet M. Kumar, PH.D. Luckily, I'm a proud owner of this one, because I need to read it again now that I have a little more space. One of the things I learned from this book is that grief is only possible because we are capable of large amounts of love. The deeper the love, the more intense the sorrow. For me, this concept made grief pain more endurable, because it was a reflection of how much each of the family members I lost meant to me. I felt like I had a responsibility to carry and nurture where it hurt and acknowledge also the positive traits I want to foster from each person I loved and lost.

Currently, this 8x10 canvas sits above my desk and one of my inherited quilted pieces of my mother's. It needs some placement adjusting, but this works for now.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Something Embarrassing from My Ipod

One of my idols of group leadership is 9-year-old Willow Smith (daughter of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith). Okay, she is 9 and not really educated in group dynamics or theory. In fact, if she got dropped in the middle of my internship, things would probably go quite poorly for the group and Miss Smith. However, there's just something about this video that makes me say, "Yeah, I want to be that!" when I think about an ideal group experience. So far, people haven't come into groups bored and colorless and been transformed into dancing, clapping, happy, hair-whipping people, but this is my intent. I want this.