Coping, Grieving and Healing Through Art

BY  AMBER RILEY

Staff Writer Art

Therapist and author Sharon Strouse hosted an Art Therapy Workshop at the Center for the Arts in Ocean City on Saturday, Oct. 31, helping those in the area find comfort from the trauma of losing a loved one through art.

“(The event) was a collage workshop but it was grounded in a personal story of losing my daughter to suicide,” Strouse said.

With limited space and free admission, 22 people attended the workshop.

“It gave people an opportunity to experience collage as a healing modality for themselves,” she said.

Strouse provided attendees scissors, paper, glue sticks and a variety of magazines and encouraged them to get creative and use their creativity as a way of grieving over a loss or a tragic situation that happened in their life.

In the beginning of Strouse’s session, she had attendees clear their mind of all distractions and to be in the moment. She gave them collage techniques like ripping and cutting and told them to pay attention to how they felt during the process.

After the participants were finished creating their collage, they were told to discuss and explain their collage with another person and have an understanding of how each element related to their situation.

“[Creating a collage] allows you to engage the elements of the loss and trauma that have no language,” Strouse said.

She explained that there are other ways to cope with a loss or something traumatic other than just visiting a therapist. Strouse suggested for people who are interested in art therapy to research art therapists in the area, but if there aren’t any, there are other ways to get involved.

“You can simply sit with the materials and use them to explore,” she said. “Let whatever is inside move through you and onto the paper.”

At Salisbury University, the Counseling Center is on the top floor of the Guerrieri University Center and offers resources for those going through hard times, including information and one-on-one sessions with counselors.

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