Healing Arts
Alternative Therapies > Art & Poetry Therapies

Compiled by Kara L.C. Jones
KotaPress Editor

Over the years here at KotaPress, we've discovered many alternative therapy options such as art or poetry therapy. While lots of organizations gear their sites toward practioners, we also encourage bereaved parents and others who will become clients to get informed as well! With that in mind, I offer the following bits and pieces for those interested in either side of the coin. This is meant to give you ideas regardless of whether or not you are a "professional". The tools of art and poetry therapy can be used by anyone in their own self-development! So check out the information provided here and click through to read and learn:

Art Therapy

Arts In Therapy Network
This is a great resources from Chriss Berk who is offering an overview of everything from dance to drama, from poetry to photo therapies.

Art Therapy at Wikipedia
Wiki is always a good place to start looking for information. They have lots of links to the "official" art therapy associations and other organizations around the world.

Grief Dolls

Back in 2001, we had the good forture to meet Kimberly Sauter who was running Healthful Attitudes. She shared with us a wonderful idea she called a "grief doll" in a q&a where she shared:

A grief doll is an alternative form of journal writing that helps to externalize your feelings of sadness and loss. It is a doll that can hold your grief so that you no longer have to and I feel that it is an active and supportive process for healing that can be used alone or in conjunction with a diary. It is easy to make and use a grief doll. Simply cut out two identical gingerbread type people from fabric and sew them together. This makes an un-stuffed doll. Cut or leave a hole open somewhere so that your feelings (wrapped in cotton batting) can be added. The doll will become filled over time with your sadness and hopefully at the same time, you will become less weighed down by your loss. I created the name "Intention doll" because I think that this technique can be used for other purposes as well such as, embracing gratitude or healing your inner child.

American Art Therapy Association
For lots of information about the "official" certifications and whatnot in the U.S. They publish a great Journal that appears to be available online as a PDF now -- or at least a few sample issues are there.

Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss Through the Arts
A wonderful book by Laura Seftel, founder of the Secret Club Project. Explores lots of ideas and artworks.

Poetry Therapy

Institute for Poetic Medicine
The book written by and the Institute founded by John Fox. Really amazing book for anyone to use when exploring poetry as a tool on the grief journey!

National Association for Poetry Therapy
NAPT is a U.S. based organization, lots of options there to learn about certification and whatnot. Their Museletter is great and now available online!

Poetry Therapy at Suite 101

This column used to be hosted by me (Kara here at KotaPress), but I archived it and have posted revised editions of all the articles here on our own site. But Suite101 keeps the archive -- and maybe someday another poet will pick up the thread there and create it anew. In the meantime, I thought I would mention it here because Google and other still offer it up as a result to "Poetry Therapy" searches. I would suggest you check out the new version and new articles here on our site!

Works by Nick Mazza
He's written the seminal books and founded the Journal. You probably won't find a more thorough look at the cross section of poetry and psychology anywhere else.

About the Author

Kara has been using poetry and other expressive arts tools on the grief journey since the death of her son in 1999. Her poetic and non-fiction works have been included in publications such as New Works Review, PoetsWest, Real Henna, Shared Heart Foundation's "Meant To Be", LightHearts Publication's "Soul Trek", MISSing Angels Newsletter, American Tanka, Mother Tongue Ink's We'Moon, Honored Babies, Cup of Comfort series, and more. She is a Carnegie Mellon graduate who co-founded KotaPress with her husband Hawk Jones. She is currently in an apprenticeship working toward Master level of Reiki. And she founded where she is exploring the ancient art of henna and its uses for ritual and healing.

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