Friday, December 21, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: The Mask of Grief

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  

This week's tragedy in Newton has left the nation coping with grief for the loss of innocent lives and may have re opened wounds for other parents of lost children. No matter who we have lost in our lives, children, or loved ones of any age, getting through the grieving process is difficult and we are often forced to maintain a mask of composure and hide our often overwhelming sorrow to deal with the tasks of daily life.

This process asks that you use an actual mask shape, make a dimensional mask or simply draw it out on paper.   Show, on the left side, the outer face you show to the world, and use the right side the inner emotions you feel regarding your loss or grief.  

By drawing out or expressing the duality of emotions, responsibilities and the conflict of doing what needs to be done and feeling, we give permission to our inner selves to release those emotions and recognize their truth and importance.  

When you show the mask to others, do they turn away or do they embrace you? 

They, most often than not, embrace and support you... you can always find true friends who will, and that means that you need to spend Less time with the mask on the left on... and more time wearing your true feelings on your face.  

The more time you spend sharing your grief, the more you can work through it and come back to the world stronger and with a sense of purpose renewed.  

Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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