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Materials & Methods: Practicing with the Arts

Materials & Methods: Practicing with the Arts

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Earn 1 Credit for Orientation Module toward
Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy
Offered by the Portland Institute.

Presented by

Sharon Strouse,


Art Therapist

Associate Director

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Barbara Thompson,



Russell Sage Collage

Faculty Mentor

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

USD$99 for 3-hour module

Materials and Methods are foundational elements of the expressive arts and a requirement for the Art-Assisted Grief Therapy Certification (AAGT).  This orientation module is designed to acquaint learners with the language of the arts as it pertains to the properties of art materials and their applied use in a variety of settings with specific clients.  A working knowledge of the properties and possibilities of various art materials is necessary for determining their usefulness in practice.   

Three traditional art therapy materials grouped as drawing, painting and clay are explored on a diverse assortment of surfaces or containers.  Direct personal experience with the art materials will serve as the foundation for discussion both in small groups and with the whole group.  Presentations of specific theories as they relate to each of the groupings and case studies will round out the learners’ understanding of AAGT Materials and Methods:  Practicing with the Arts.


  • Discuss the properties of various media through experiential activities and personal reflection in small breakout room exercises;

  • Examine how selected two-dimensional art materials can be used as part of gaining new perspectives, restorative retelling and the meaning making process; and

  • Apply an understanding of two-dimensional art materials to a case study from the learner’s clinical practice.

Note:  Completion of this module and return of the Responsive Journal satisfies 1 Orientation Module required for Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy.


This program contains the following video segments:

  1. The Art Studio as Safe Space:  An Opening Experiential (45 mins)
  2. Entering the Creative Imagination:  Branching Out into Diverse Media (38 mins)

  3. Go with the Flow:  The Fluidity of Paint (47 mins)

  4. Breaking with Tradition:  Giving Shape to the Clay (42 mins)


  • A PDF copy of the presentation slides​;

  • Art material groupings and list of needed art supplies for the three experiential activities;

  • Directive for three experiential activities: drawing, painting and clay;

  • Therapist Toolkit: prompts for individual and pairs processing of experiential activities; and

  • The Responsive Journal that, upon completion and return, confers 1 credit of Orientation Module leading to Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy.


Presenting Faculty

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT is a board-certified and licensed clinical professional art therapist and Associate Director for the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.  Her art therapy private practice, national presentations, trainings focus on traumatic loss, specifically with parents who have lost a child, suicide bereavement, and military family loss.  The theoretical foundations of her group and individual art therapy work are grounded in meaning reconstruction, attachment informed grief therapy, continuing bonds with the deceased and restorative retelling. She is author of Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing, ( written twelve years after the suicide of her seventeen-year-old daughter. She is co-founder of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation ( a non-profit dedicated to supporting programs that increase awareness of mental health through education and the arts.

Sharon Strouse, 

Photo - Sharon Strouse 2.jpg

Presenting Faculty

Barbara Thompson, OTD, LCSW, CAGS is a Professor at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY and a licensed clinical social worker with a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in the Expressive Arts. She founded the St. Peter’s Hospice Day Program and ALS Regional Center at St. Peter’s Hospice in Albany, NY and has published articles, book chapters and two books on use of contemplative practices and the creative arts in palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care.  Her books include Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning (2014) with Robert Neimeyer, and Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss: The Art of Dreamscaping (2019) with Nancy Gershman, both published by Routledge.  She currently maintains an active psychotherapy practice incorporating the expressive arts and teaches occupational therapy.

Barbara Thompson, 

Photo - Barbara Thompson.jpeg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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