A teenager goes to art therapy to help her cope with grief.

Yes, Art Therapy Can Help You Cope With Grief

Art therapy helps provide a safe and supportive environment for people to navigate the complex feelings of grief.


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How art therapy treats grief

Art therapy can offer people a way to process and express their emotions in times of grief. Through creative methods such as painting, drawing, and sculpting, people can tap into their inner feelings and find a means of catharsis. By engaging in art therapy, people can externalize their emotions and explore their grief in a non-verbal and non-threatening way. Working with an art therapist can lead to a greater understanding and acceptance of a person’s emotions, ultimately aiding the healing process. Art therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for people to navigate the complex feelings of grief, allowing them to find peace and resilience through creative expression.

Skills taught in art therapy for grief

Emotional expression

Art therapy for grief teaches people how to express their emotions through various art activities such as painting, drawing, or sculpting. This skill allows a person to release pent-up feelings and healthily process their grief.


Art therapy teaches people how to reflect on their emotions, thoughts, and experiences related to their grief. This skill helps them gain insight into their feelings and understand their loss’s impact.


Art therapy helps people cultivate mindfulness, which involves being in the present moment and fully engaging in the creative process. This skill can help people manage their grief by increasing self-awareness and reducing stress.

Coping strategies

Art therapy teaches people different coping strategies for dealing with grief. These strategies can include specific art exercises that help people relax, focus, and manage their emotions during difficult times.


Art therapy can improve a person’s ability to communicate their feelings and experiences related to grief. Through art, people can express themselves nonverbally and easily share their emotions with others.


Art therapy encourages people to engage in self-care practices that can help them navigate their grief. This skill can involve creating art that promotes relaxation, self-compassion, and overall well-being.


Art therapy can help people build resilience by providing a creative outlet for processing their grief and finding strength in the face of loss. This skill empowers people to move forward and adapt to their challenges.

Positive distractions

Art therapy teaches people how to use art as a positive distraction from their grief. Engaging in creative activities can offer a temporary reprieve from intense emotions and provide a sense of relief and comfort.


Art therapy allows people to explore and discover new aspects of themselves as they navigate their grief. This skill can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of one’s emotions and needs.


Art therapy can help people connect with others experiencing grief, fostering a sense of community and support. This skill can provide comfort and validation as people share their art and stories with each other.

Benefits of art therapy for grief

Art therapy can have long-term benefits for people experiencing grief. People can express and explore their emotions nonverbally through engaging in the creative process. By partaking in an art therapy session, people can find a sense of relief and release from the intense emotions associated with the grieving process. In the long run, art therapy can help people manage their grief in a healthier way, providing them with a valuable outlet for their emotions and a means of finding comfort and healing.

How quickly does art therapy work for grief? 

Art therapy can work quickly for people experiencing grief. Through creating art, people can begin to express and work through their emotions nonverbally. This can lead to a sense of relief and release, allowing people to process their grief more effectively. As people engage in art therapy sessions, they may begin to experience a reduction in the intensity of their emotions and a greater sense of healing and resilience.

Coping skills for grief?

Connecting with others

People find comfort in talking with friends and family about their loss. Sharing memories and emotions with others who are also grieving can provide a sense of understanding and support.

Engaging in physical activity

Exercise can be a helpful outlet for processing grief. Going for a walk, practicing yoga, or participating in a team sport can help people release stress and tension and improve their overall mood.

Practicing mindfulness and meditation

Taking time to be present in the moment and focus on breathing can help people manage the intense emotions that come with the grieving process. Meditation can provide a sense of calm and allow people to experience their emotions without becoming overwhelmed.

Seeking professional support

Speaking with a therapist or counselor can provide people with the opportunity to process their grief in a safe and understanding environment. A mental health professional can offer guidance and support in navigating the complexities of the grief process.

Engaging in self-care activities

Taking care of oneself through activities such as getting enough rest, eating well, and partaking in hobbies can assist people in managing their grief. Engaging in self-care can contribute to an improved sense of well-being and help people to better cope with the difficult emotions associated with loss.

Other types of treatments for grief

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that can contribute to prolonged grief. A therapist helps people identify and reframe distorted thinking and develop healthier coping skills.

Mindfulness-based therapy

Mindfulness-based therapy encourages people to practice being present and nonjudgmental towards their emotions related to grief. People can develop acceptance and reduce distress by learning to sit with their feelings and observe them without attachment.

Group therapy

Group therapy provides a supportive environment for people to share their experiences of loss and connect with others who are also grieving. It offers a sense of community and understanding and can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Intensive outpatient program for grief

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are used to treat people experiencing significant and prolonged grief following the loss of a loved one. In an IOP, people participate in grief therapy sessions and various treatment modalities, such as group therapy, individual counseling, and art therapy, to address their emotional pain and process their feelings of loss. These programs provide a supportive and structured environment for people to receive the necessary care and support to navigate through their grief experience and develop coping strategies for their healing process.

Grief treatment with Charlie Health 

If a young person in your life is struggling with grief, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health offers a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with serious mental health conditions, including grief. Our expert clinicians incorporate art therapy into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic treatment, managing grief is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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