On grief talk with Audrey, I bring you experts in the fields of death and dying, grief and loss, hope and healing and those who have themselves been on their own grief journey, to share their experiences and skills to help my listeners.
To the patients and families of Haven Hospice, Nancy Gershman is “the Memory Artist” creating their Preferred Story from interviews, personal photos and photo research. This culminates in a realistic (and sometimes surrealistic) digital photomontage. The process involves asking factual questions about when the subject was at “their most vibrant;” then picking up on subtle cues like a detective, leading to the memories she immortalizes. On hospice nightstands, these dignity portraits give 11th hour sustenance. Taken home by surviving relatives, they become a supportive presence in the wake of loss.
Published work on Gershman’s “Dreamscapes” has appeared in Annals of American Psychotherapy; Advance for Nurses; Journal of Palliative Care; and in therapist Courtney Armstrong’s “Transforming Traumatic Grief: Six Steps to Move from Grief To Peace.” Grief expert Robert Neimeyer PhD includes a chapter on prescriptive photomontage in his compendium, “Techniques in Grief Therapy: Creative Strategies for Counseling the Bereaved.”
Currently, a traveling exhibit of Gershman’s Dreamscapes is on view at The University of Chicago Medicine following extended runs at NYU Langone Medical Center and The University of Rochester Medical Center.
Gershman received her Bachelor of Arts in Design and Communications from Hampshire College.
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