Jake Abbott works with the Seattle-based non-profit organization, , which offers creative therapy for bereaved children. He was interviewed by Dr. Gloria Horsley and says his organization publishes books that help with art therapy. Blending narrative, art and cognitive based therapy was the driving force behind five books that help children handle trauma. Bullying, divorce and, of course, death are all traumatic events. Finding hope after loss is challenging for everyone, including children. One tip Abbott offers is identifying partnerships and resources that specialize in child therapy.

Art with Heart builds partnerships with local hospitals, focusing on everything from doodling to more expansive art prompts. Each of the books feature a curriculum guide, a leadership companion for adult caregivers, for teachers or social workers to optimize the experience. It comes with best practices, prompts and lessons plans. Getting a child to the new normal is the goal.

Finding Support

The Art with Heart books are one of many tools caregivers may use to help a bereaved child. The books can be shipped internationally and have global appeal. Other options may include art therapy classes, working with a professional, or using play therapy. Children often grieve in different ways than adults, and this can be worrisome for the adults. However, know that children often are grieving in their own way and offering alternatives such as art therapy can help.

Grief takes time, sometimes a lifetime, and each person needs to learn their own best method for healing. While this organization targets children, virtually anyone can benefit from art therapy. Try out some prompts yourself, with your child, or ask if they’d be interested in this unique way of sharing and creating.

 

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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