Live Online Training

From Corona Confusion to
Artful Profusion 

A Group Case Study of An Art-Assisted Grief Therapy During the Pandemic

Earn Credit for 1 Case Study Module toward
Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy
or Certification in Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses
Offered by the Portland Institute.

JUNE 7, 2022

9am-12pm, PDT

Presented by

Sharon Strouse,


Associate Director

Sarah Vollmann,



Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD


Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

USD$99 for 3-hour module

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered the world into an unprecedented period of distress, with mental health and trauma related reactions to death and non-death losses.  Global concerns over controlling the virus are joined with rising awareness and pain about racial and social injustices and fears about climate change, melding with a range of personal and relational losses on the part of many.

Art therapy is uniquely positioned to meet individual and community needs during this time.  Art making is a self-care and self-compassion practice, helping mourners give shape to unspeakable experiences.  Art-assisted therapy offers multiple benefits including introspection, self-awareness, and acceptance of strengths and limitations while affirming one's ability to respond with increased agency over emotions. When practiced in a group across time, it provides both validation of members’ experiences and witnessing of their journey toward resilience.

The collective adversity of this time led a group of faculty from the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition to form a virtual art therapy peer-support group in the opening months of the COVID crisis.  The year-long group delved into a range of art modalities including pencil, pastels, acrylics, watercolor, poetry, collage, story quilting, altered books and memory boxes.  They shared their creations in weekly meetings.

This didactic and experiential workshop will highlight the importance of a peer-support group for clinicians who face many of the same losses as their clients.  Presenting faculty will share their personal use of art therapy and the virtual group process for expression, exploration, containment and transformation of their own unique losses of people, places and possibilities through the first year of the pandemic.  Individual and group trajectories will be illustrated through two grief models: meaning reconstruction to make sense of an altered life narrative, and restorative retelling to reopen, revisit and retell stories born of old wounds.  Case studies will be enhanced with evocative images created in the group.  Learners will then have the opportunity to create a collage and an acrostic poem in response to their own pandemic experience, and to discuss lessons learned about the value of the arts and the group format in navigating a turbulent sea of grief in uncertain times.


  • Identify art therapy-based meaning reconstruction through the use of various media and the distinctive advantages of each;

  • Explain the use of art therapy techniques that foster restorative retelling and integration of perturbing or traumatic experiences; and

  • Summarize how art therapy group and individual interventions can assist in the treatment of death and non-death losses across the life span.

Note:  Attendance of the live online training session confers credit of 1 Case Study Module required for Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy or Certification in Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses.


  • A PDF copy of the presentation slides;

  • List of needed and suggested art supplies for the experiential; and

  • Therapist Toolkit: Recommended guidelines for orientating clients to the work and questions to prompt processing of it after, either in therapy or in the client’s journal.



  • 9am-12pm, PDT: Portland, OR, which corresponds to 12-3pm in New York, 5-8pm in London, and 6-9pm in Amsterdam.


The Zoom meeting link and the module materials will be emailed to all registrants in due course.


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

Sarah Vollmann, MPS, ATR-BC, LICSW is a registered, board-certified art therapist and a licensed independent clinical social worker.  She is a practicum faculty member of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition and she maintains a private practice with a specialization in grief and traumatic loss. She is also the Lead Counselor at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School. As a member of the Artful Grief team of art therapists Sarah works with military families facing suicide bereavement and traumatic loss. She is an adjunct professor in the graduate art therapy program at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design. Her international art therapy concentration includes work with The Red Pencil in Kenya. Sarah has published articles and book chapters on grief and loss, and she presents both nationally and internationally on art therapy, grief, and bereavement.

Sarah Vollmann,


Photo - Sarah Vollmann.jpg

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, maintains an active consulting and coaching practice, and also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.  Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Routledge’s series on Techniques of Grief Therapy, and serves as Editor of Death Studies. The author of over 500 articles and chapters and a popular workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process.  In recognition of his contributions, he has been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD

Speaker Photo 36.jpg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Sharon.