REMAKING MEMORIES: ANALYZING GRIEF STORIES AND VALUE SYSTEMS THROUGH THE EXPRESSIVE ARTWORKS OF A PHILIPPINE GRIEF SUPPORT PROGRAM
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Alyssa Roxanne Hernandez Publico
expressive arts, grief, Philippine psychology, support groups
Expressive art has been popularly used in clinical practices for mental health, trauma work, and grief. Studies that reflect the experiences of non-Western countries such as the Philippines may offer more testimony to the effectiveness of art therapy across different cultures. This paper aims to show the grief experiences shared by Filipinos, how art-making was used as a way of narrating these stories of loss and recreating meaning from their memories with their loved ones. After the loss of her mother in 2016, the author and her father began a series of Grief Support Group workshops in 2018. The workshops used Christian-based lessons and artmaking activities to facilitate discussions in each session. Through two focus group discussions consisting of short art-related activities, the author interviewed four participants from 2018’s Grief Support Group and four participants from 2019’s Grief Support Group. The narratives and artworks gathered to show us how expressive art for the Filipino participants became their way of honoring the lives of those they lost, and, as one participant shared, “bringing back color” to the memories with their loved ones. In the context of Philippine Psychology or Sikolohiyang Pilipino, the narratives shared in this study can be analyzed through the three levels of Dr. Virgilio Enriquez’s Pagkapamilya model, which include Pakikipagpalagayang-loob (building rapport/understanding/acceptance), Pakikisangkot (being involved) and Pakikiisa (being one with others or in a community).