Every year more than 3,000 Danish children under the age of 18 experience the loss of a parent by death. Another 42,OOO children experience that their mum or dad is acutely hospitalized with a severe illness. One of the basic conditions in working with children in loss and grief is that the responsible adult person involved in the child’s unbearable situation makes space for the child to be heard, seen and understood. The key to this work is to denounce the part of our upbringing that taught us that silence is golden. Grief is not an illness, but on the contrary a very tough condition of life. lf we realise that SPEECH is golden, we can help the child continue life in spite of the wounds in the soul that a big grief causes.
A very efficient way of helping grieving children in coping with the sad feelings of loss and despair is to establish training groups lead by one or two adults. ln the group the children can meet peers who are in a situation very similar to their own. They can listen to one another, discus similarities, differences and problems. For once they can be in a forum where everyone can look at one another and freely say: "l know exacily how you feel". Since the start in 2000 the Danish Cancer Society has managed to start or support others to establish more than 200 training groups nationwide. This is still far too few to meet children’s needs, but it is a successful beginning. The presentation will give a broad overview of the effort, present some details from the work, and point out some of the benefits and outcomes for the child to be part of the group. ln addition we will show a few samples of a TV-documentary from one of the training groups.
Civilian populations living in or near combat zones suffer profound trauma and loss and as fighting ends, face immense challenges in post war recovery. Relief and aid, desperately needed, come from many quarters. Those who have suffered also need opportunities to be active players in their own recovery, calling on their own strengths and capacities in the service of repairing damage and building a preferred future.
The problem of finding and identifying missing persons from the war in Bosnia Herzegovina (1992-95) remains one of the most painful consequences of the conflict. Around 13.000 people are still considered missing. The suffering experienced by the families of missing persons can be viewed as a kind of torture, and therefore considered as a serious violation of human rights. This paper presents findings from a 2 year project working with 20 women with missing family members. Group work was conducted with 20 women at the location where their trauma occurred over a 2 year period.
For more than 13 years the project OmSorg (Dealing with Bereavement) has been a nationwide practical founded school and kindergarten based intervention towards children (age: 0 - 18) in loss and grief. The aim is to inspire and support teachers and kindergarten staff in attending the difficult matters concerning responsible adult help to grieving children. This is done by offering educational materials, giving lectures, consultation and courses, establishing training groups for bereaved children and by political lobbyism. One of the basic conditions in working with children in loss and grief is that the teachers share a common approach on what their basic responsibilities are.
This visual presentation explores the relationship between creative arts practice and trauma, loss and grief, including the shadowy world of sexual abuse. It is an examination of what art and the artist, through collaborative creative processes, contributes to wellbeing in the aftermath of such experiences. I will speak of my recently completed PhD and the creative research projects I conducted with communities of women who had experienced trauma and loss and who carried the pain of these experiences for years afterwards.