By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Los Alamos Retired & Senior Organization
One thing I have noticed over the course of the last six weeks is the continuous need for grief therapy in the community.
There are a variety of types of grief support needed not just related to the death of a loved one. The Betty Ehart Senior Center will host a free program beginning July 11, for those 50 and over. Paint Strokes Through Grief, just might be the program that meets the need for many in the community.
Lauren Sherwood and Jane McConnell are two students from Southwestern College, studying art therapy and counseling. They contacted the senior center to see if we would be in need of such a program. The free, community effort is part of their course requirement, overseen by instructors from the college. There’s no artistic ability required and the plan is to have a variety of mediums on hand for the participants. The facilitators also welcome the conversation to be as light or multi-layered as the group presents.
Sherwood first approached me with the idea and the timing couldn’t have been better. She has a kindness and warmth that I felt would be well received with community members and she invited McConnell to assist. That being said, those who would like to attend don’t need to be senior center member, just over 50.
If you enjoy your time with us, naturally I hope you’ll stay.
The goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for seniors to express and work through their grief from loss of loved ones, illnesses, and significant life changes. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to gain information on grief, gain coping strategies, process their own grief and be among others going through similar experiences.
Jane McConnell, our second facilitator is excited about the potential of the group.
“Southwestern College is a progressive school that focuses on holistic and person-centered methods of art therapy and counseling,” McConnell said. “This summer, I have been given the opportunity to run art therapy groups in Northern New Mexico as part of my practicum and service requirements. I am passionate about providing my community with opportunities to use the arts to heal and grow.”
The instructors know that the process for healing is unique to the individual and hope to create space that allows for their individual healing. The free registration can be done by calling either the Los Alamos Senior Center at 505.662.8920 or the White Rock Center at 505.672.2034. Donations of art supplies are welcome at either center. All varieties of supplies would be welcome including; paint, brushes, oil colors, papers, ribbons, clay, traditional or colored pencils, stamps, ink, glue and more.