192 pages, 6 x 9
Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts
By Laura Seftel
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
At least one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, yet pregnancy loss remains a taboo topic and effective aftercare is rarely available for those who have experienced it. Grief Unseen explains the different kinds of childbearing losses, such as failed fertility treatment, ectopic pregnancy, and stillbirth, and explores their emotional impact on women and their partners, and the process of healing.An established art therapist and mental health counselor, Laura Seftel shares her own experiences of miscarriage and recovery, and describes the use of art and ritual as a response to loss in traditional and modern cultures. She presents a rich variety of artists who have explored pregnancy loss in their work, including Frida Kahlo, Judy Chicago, and Tori Amos, and shows how people with no previous artistic experience can generate creative responses as part of the healing process. The book includes step-by-step exercises in guided imagery, poetry, visual art, journaling, and creating rituals.This accessible, positive resource will be useful to practitioners in the fields of medicine, mental health, art therapy, and counseling, as well as women and families who have suffered pregnancy loss.
'The book is primarily written for women and men who have lost a baby, and I imagine it being a huge comfort to them. The initial chapter sets the scene by stating that pregnancy loss is an invisible loss, so for many, their loss becomes an invisible grief. I feel it makes invaluable reading for anyone working in the helping professions... The text is well researched, easy to read, and enhanced by artwork from many contributors. Many of the case examples are multi-cultural. Examples of how women have expressed their grief by documenting their experiences on film, poetry, music and blogs are described. The last three chapters are the most useful for a counselor, providing practical guidance on creating healing rituals: bodywork, artwork, and exercises for writing, individually or in a therapeutic group. The author stresses that you don't need to be an artist to have a go, and that feelings may be expressed through creative processes that may be hard to verbalize... Whilst acknowledging that this way of working is not for all clients and counsellors, there I much useful material here for therapists who enjoy working creatively with their clients or that clients might be encouraged to experiment with on their own. In summary, a book that is definitely worth reading.'- Therapy Today'Grief Unseen is worthwhile reading for every midwife and other provider who cares for patients who may experience perinatal loss. [It] will give new ideas to experienced midwives, student midwives, and graduates on how a non-therapist might encourage the expression of grief through ritual and art.'- Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health'I found this a very humane book, reaching out directly to those affected by pregnancy and loss, validating their experience and empowering their creativity and healing. I recommend it as an accessible, informative and positive resource for a broad range of professional practitioners, including counsellors working with any kind of reproductive loss.'- Kate Grieve, HCPJ Magazine
Laura Seftel ATR-BC is Founding Director of the Secret Club Project, a grant-winning project portraying artists' experiences of pregnancy loss. She is a speaker for the American Art Therapy Association and Co-Director of The Art Therapy Studio in Massachusetts, offering individual and group counseling focused on art and healing. She has previously run a number of training courses and has authored articles for journals such as the American Journal of Art Therapy.
Foreword, Sherokee Ilse ,international speaker and author of Empty Arms: Coping With Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death. Introduction: A Grief Without Shape 1. My Story. 2. Losing a Dream. 3. Griefwork. 4. Singing the Silence. 5. Art in Therapy. 6. Lost Traditions: Butter, Toads and Miracles. 7. New Rituals: The Creative Response to Loss. 8. Creating Your Own Healing Practice through the Arts. 9. Creative Activities. 10. Conclusion. References. Further Reading. Useful Organizations. Subject Index. Author Index.
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