Creativity & Madness
- CME Lecture
Healing from Grief Using
a Website, Color, Writing, Poetry & Wilderness
Dec 27, 2000: Learning Objectives
The Internet has an enormous potential for providing
web-education, or clarifying information. It also has the potential of
incorporating many different modalities—color, art, poetry, images, graphics,
and writing—to create a unique on-line experience. One of the challenges
for this new millennium will be to find ways of accessing the Internet
technology for patient education.
Grief and loss are common experiences that left
untreated can result in personal anguish, multiple somatic complaints,
functional impairment, over utilization of health care systems, clinical
depression and a risk of suicide. Unrecognized and untreated acute depression
or grief response following a significant loss can result in personal anguish,
multiple somatic complaints, functional impairment, over utilization of
health care systems, clinical depression, and a risk of suicide. Grief
also impacts friends, family, and the community of those affected by the
loss; thus one person’s grief ultimately affects many people. One potential
use of the Internet is creating resources to help in diagnosing, treating,
and managing the increasing number of people with depression and grief.
The Journey of Hearts website, www.journeyofhearts.org,
demonstrates the blending of Internet artistic and technologic components
with education to find highly effective, new methods of reaching, educating
and helping patients and providers. The design combines medicine, psychiatry,
poetry, prose and images and other modalities show to be effective in helping
with the grieving process. This is a new style of medical website: part
medical, part psychiatric, part art, part literary and part self-help,
one that functions as an adjunctive medical resource to educate while still
being visually appealing. Incorporated into the design are many different
elements that have been shown to be effective methods of helping people
to heal during the grieving process. The site provides medical, non-medical
and inspirational resources and support for anyone at any time with Internet
Understand the grief response, the various symptoms
of grief, the various causes, how unprocessed grief impacts physical and
Recognize signs and symptoms of depression and/or
Discussing the importance of "Healing the Healer"
giving physicians and other healthcare providers the time to heal from
their losses—personal and professional.
Use of the Internet, via a multi-modality website,
www.journeyofhearts.org, as an educational tool to help visitors understand
the grief process.
Discuss various different modalities that can be
utilized to help aid in the healing process from loss—color, poetry, writing
and wilderness therapies—with examples from the website.
The following articles were handed out as supplemental
materials for this presentation:
The American Institute
of Medical Education
Dyer, KA. Thompson CD. Journey of Hearts: From Idea
to Reality A Website for Web-
education on Grief and Loss. ITCH
2000 (Information Technology in community Health) Conference Preceedings.
University of Victoria, School of Information Health Sciences. Available
Dyer KA, Thompson CD. Triad of Medical Web-Education:
Advantages of Using a Website for Patient Web-education. JAMIP. November
1, 1999. Available at: Medical Web-Education.
Dyer KA. "Journey of Hearts™ website offers resources
to cope with loss." National Association for Poetry Therapy: The Museletter,
March 1999. Available at: Museletter.
Zotovich KD. Helping Families Deal with Loss Through
the Journaling Process. Available at: Journaling.
Horowitz HW. Poetry on Rounds: a model for the integration
of humanities into residency training. Lancet 1996; 347:447-49.
Shelton DL. Healing words: Some doctors find poetry
can treat wounds that medicine can't always reach. AMNews May 17, 1999.
Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_99/feat0517.htm
Dyer KA. Nature Awareness as a Therapeutic Modality:
The Healing Qualities of Nature. Available as a later version of the article
at: Nature Awareness.
The American Institute of Medical Education is
a non-profit educational organization established in 1981. They have sponsored
more than 80 national and international conferences. The Creativity and
Madness, Psychological Studies of Art and Artists conference is designed
for the intelligent layman interested in art, psychology, and creativity,
as well as the general medical community. For more information see their
website at: http://www.aimed.com .
of the challenges for this new millennium will be to find ways of
accessing the Internet
technology for patient education.
Kirsti A. Dyer,
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
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