Recently we had a special opportunity to introduce Expressive Digital Imagery (EDI) to a group of children and teens at Jeff’s Place, a wonderful organization providing free support groups, education, and crisis intervention to grieving children, adolescents and their families. The youth were asked to describe what a “bad day” vs. a “good day” feels like in their new normal since the death loss. This was theoretically based on the dual process model (DPM) of adaptive coping with bereavement, which is widely used as a best practice.
The group consisted of eight youth ranging from 9-17 years old, Consistent with all peer-based support groups at Jeff’s Place, parents met simultaneously in another room. With the children’s permission at the end, the parents were able to witness what the group created together in a slideshow providing a rare and authentic glimpse into what their grieving children experience.
Much like the grieving process, the images created were unique for each participant. The youth shared their images, stories, and witnessed one another’s collective feelings of loss, sadness, and at times, hopelessness. Their parents watched in awe, some with tears flowing down their cheeks as they connected with their children in a new way. In the words of the Jeff’s Place clinician who facilitated the group, “EDI enabled the youth to access the depth of their emotions, creating a shared sense of hope and that each was not alone.”
This video offers a view into the expressive imagery that was shared.