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Soothing the Torn Edges of Grief & Loss with Expressive Arts

Soothing the Torn Edges of Grief & Loss with Expressive 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

Evie Lindemann, ATR-BC, ATCS, LMFT

Associate Professor Emerita

Albertus Magnus College

USD$99 for 3-hour module

'So you mustn’t be frightened…

If a sadness arises in front of you larger than any you have ever seen…

You must realise that something is happening to you,

that life has not forgotten you,

that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.”  

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

Embodying the principles and practices of the Expressive Arts Therapies with grief work occurs through imagination and deep play.  When experiences of grief and loss tear the fabric of personal identity, it requires both an active and reflective approach to hold these powerful experiences and allow them the respect and time needed to touch the depth of pain.   Simultaneously the client’s journey is guided toward a sense of re-ordering, through the creative process, while maintaining an awareness of unfinished business that flows toward restorative retelling.  This engagement creates a healing sanctuary, a holding space for the material that arises.

This didactic and experiential module provides an overview of the philosophical foundations, principles and practices of Expressive Arts Therapy and how using the arts can enhance grief counselling through art-assisted activities across the realms of visual art making, expressive writing / poetry, and somatic awareness with individuals and groups.  Fundamental to this AAGT Orientation Module is the notion of Poiesis, a creative process that gives meaning, not through mastery of pain but rather through surrender, embracing our capacity for opening to and shaping what life gives us.

The architecture of a session invites the clinician to engage in unknowing and mystery, and tolerating the uncertainty that arises when one is deeply present.  Specific phases include clarifying the life situation, stepping away from it to enter into art-making, aesthetic engagement with the artwork itself (analysis) and a bridging back with current life concerns.  The clinician’s role is to relinquish the quest for control and trust that something of value will arise.  This is an invitation for entering the realm where imagination operates and embodies the healing presence in the space.  A sense of mystery and unknowing predominate.  This hands on, deep dive into meaning reconstruction through the expressive arts therapies is followed by processing in pairs and group discussion.  This will involve the use of quieting strategies, listening to an oral story, expressive writing, and art making.


  • Describe the value of decentering at the beginning of a therapy session and give examples of specific decentering activities with clients;

  • Discuss what the decentering process require of the clinician in order to enter into the present moment with a client;

  • Apply the concept of Poiesis in making and shaping experiences of grief and loss through the art making process; and

  • Summarise how an arts-based approach can help clients to finish unfinished business, establish nourishing continuing bonds and create meaning in their loss through artistic and poetic means.

Note:  Completion of this program 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. Body Mapping:  Grounding with Self and Others (39 mins)
  2. The Power of Poiesis:  Principles of Expressive Arts Therapy (49 mins)

  3. Tools for Transformation:  Living into Mystery (31 mins)

  4. Hand Drawing:  Arriving at the Beginning (55 mins)


  • A PDF copy of the presentation slides;

  • Fundamental principles of the expressive arts; and

  • Detailed instructions for the "drawing of your hand" and dialogue with the image; and

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


  • Good quality colored pencils, such as Prismacolor brand

  • A lead pencil

  • A set of good quality oil pastels, such as Portfolio brand or vanGogh

  • A few sheets of 11x14 inch white drawing paper

  • A blank journal book or some sheets of white copier paper

  • Glue stick and scissors

  • An old map that can be torn up


Presenting Faculty

Evie Lindemann, ATR-BC, ATCS, LMFT is a board-certified, licensed art therapist, art therapy credentialed supervisor, licensed marriage and family therapist and certified archetypal pattern analyst.   Evie is associate professor emerita at the Albertus Magnus College: Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling, and the Yale University: Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute of Bioethics, where she presented multicultural issues at the end of life. She has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Israel, and India and implemented humanitarian art therapy projects in India, Jamaica, and the US. She is active in hospice care, offers courses on mortality, the use of visual arts to facilitate the inward journey, and works with combat veterans and complex trauma.  Evie has exhibited nationally and internationally, as a printmaking artist.

Evie Lindemann, 

Photo - Evie Lindemann.jpg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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