Expressive Arts Therapy with Bereaved Families

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Most current grief programs support the children and/or parents of bereaved families rather than the family as a whole. This exploratory study was a quantitative and qualitative investigation of the use of expressive arts therapy with bereaved families during a weekend camp experience and a series of followup sessions. The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of using expressive arts activities in improving the functioning of the bereaved family as a whole as well as individual family members. Participants included eight families who lost a child to a chronic illness between 2 to 36 months months prior ... continued below

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Webb-Ferebee, Kelly August 2001.

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  • Webb-Ferebee, Kelly

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Description

Most current grief programs support the children and/or parents of bereaved families rather than the family as a whole. This exploratory study was a quantitative and qualitative investigation of the use of expressive arts therapy with bereaved families during a weekend camp experience and a series of followup sessions. The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of using expressive arts activities in improving the functioning of the bereaved family as a whole as well as individual family members. Participants included eight families who lost a child to a chronic illness between 2 to 36 months months prior to the onset of the study. Children ranged in age from 3 to15, and parents ranged in age from 26 to 66, for a total of 27 participants. The Child Life Department at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, a division of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas recruited the families. Participants received flyers and invitational letters and registered through the mail. Families attended a weekend camp where they experienced a wide variety of expressive arts activities in a combination of group formats: multi-family groups, parents' group, developmental age groups for children, total childrens' group, individual family group, mothers' group, and fathers' group. The research design was a pretest/posttest quasi-experimental control group design, but a control group could not be established. Therefore, one-tailed t-tests were used to compare participant functioning between the beginning and end of the study. Instruments used in this study included the Family Environment Scale, the Behavior Assessment System for Children the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory. In addition, the researcher used qualitative analysis to assess contents of family members' and counseling staff's journals, expressive arts products, and family members' evaluations. Results of this exploratory study indicated some improvements in children's, parents' and total family functioning. Expressive arts therapy shows promise in effecting constructive change in bereaved families and is deserving of further research.

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  • August 2001

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  • Sept. 25, 2007, 10:38 p.m.

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  • March 1, 2012, 3:23 p.m.

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Webb-Ferebee, Kelly. Expressive Arts Therapy with Bereaved Families, dissertation, August 2001; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2861/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .