News 2016-12 Yo-Yo

Friday 18th November 2016

Counsellors and therapists at The Yo-Yo Project, our bereavement support service for 4-18 year olds, often use art to help young people express their emotions. 

I’m an Art Therapist working for the Yo-Yo project within the bereavement team at Farleigh Hospice. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication; art is used to address emotional issues that may be confusing and distressing. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be fun. Clients need not have any previous experience or be good at art.

Our team carry out assessments and offer individual work to children and young people who have experienced the death of someone very special in their lives. We also offer support to children and young people that have a family member who is terminally ill and are at the end of their life. The Yo-Yo project also offers various group activities throughout the year.

When doing bereavement work with children and young people building a trusting relationship is important so they feel safe enough to explore their complex and difficult emotions. Using a variety of different art materials in the session to help communicate is especially helpful for children who find verbal expression difficult, at times when children and young people have experienced loss there are no words for the emotional pain the are feeling.

The bereavement work is to help make sense of the children and young people’s distress and to allow them to tell their story. Memory work is important for the children and young people in order for them to continue the bond that they have with the person they loved. This work can be done in a variety of different ways, such as creating a memory box or book, looking at photos, thinking and talking about memories or making paintings and pictures about their loved one. Being in a safe, confidential space using art materials and just being with the client can be therapeutic in itself at times.

Ruth Felgate, Bereavement Counsellor

The Yo-Yo Project had a taste of fame recently when it was featured in a major BBC One campaign. Due to its part funding from BBC Children in Need, the Yo-Yo Project was chosen to highlight the impact of the BBC’s charitable funding on young people in the area. The campaign featured on BBC One from 27th September to 5th October, showing at prime time before Strictly Come Dancing!

BBC Children in Need also shared the video on Facebook, where it was viewed 16,000 times. You can see the video on YouTube at

<< previous article

next article >>