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New Therapeutic Activity Book Helps Children Deal With Grief and Loss

SEATTLE – Draw It Out, from Seattle-based non-profit Art with Heart, is an interactive, therapeutic activity book that supports children with complex and confusing emotions due to grief and loss. The new book launched nationally in August.

In the words of 10-year-old “Emmett” who lost his father recently, “This book helps me understand how to calm down my anger and sadness. Inside, I can write all about me and my dad so I don’t forget.”

Draw It Out is co-written by Steffanie Lorig, executive director of Art with Heart, and Rosalie Frankel of Seattle Children’s Hospital. To create an age-appropriate research-based book, they collaborated with a national advisory board of 27 experts in the fields of bereavement counseling, social work, grief camps, child life and art therapy.

Each one of Draw It Out’s 48 pages helps children articulate questions they may have, identify support systems, process loss and increase coping skills.

“Draw It Out is one of few books available that provides truly creative and inspiring prompts and activities for young people who are challenged by grief, loss and trauma,” said Cathy Malchiodi, art therapist, research psychologist and respected author in the fields of art therapy, trauma-informed practice and art in health care. “The content is empowering and engaging, with an emphasis on resilience and personal strengths. It not only is a welcome resource for children and adolescents who have lost family members or friends or are confronted by serious illness, but also is a great tool for therapists to use with young clients.”

The book features illustrations by professional artists from the U.S. Canada, Germany, Sweden and England. Thirty different artists have donated their skills for the pages of the book.

Draw It Out is the fifth book published by Art with Heart and is aimed at first responders, school counselors, funeral service directors, social workers, hospital and hospice professionals, and chaplains. It is designed to be used alone or with the use of a companion workbook along with the curriculum, kit and program to improve delivery of support services to children, especially those reticent to talk about loss; gain trust faster and begin difficult conversations easier; help address specific emotions, including sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, isolation, guilt and worry; and provide expressive arts activities to support children’s coping skills in both group and individual situations.

“Often after a death, separation or trauma, children are left to mend and fend on their own,” Lorig said. “But as that pain festers, it can lead to emotional struggles and behavioral issues. Art with Heart works every day to help kids where they are at now – before that emotional wound becomes a cancer. Draw It Out was created for that very reason.”

The book is available online at Proceeds benefit children in crisis.


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