Young people giving each other a hand massage

Eleven traumatically-bereaved young people have completed a new non-talking therapy programme at Treetops Hospice Care.

Aimed at supporting young people, 11-17yrs, who find it difficult to express their grief in words, the Mollitiam Projx included six weekly group-based sessions with activities including animal therapy, drumming therapy, art therapy, yoga therapy and complementary therapy to help the group understand grief and manage their feelings better.

Treetops, based in Risley, offers a range of services including counselling and emotional support for adults, children and families. All services are provided free of charge.

It taught me that we could still have fun

One young person explained the difference the project has made:

“Even though there was an elephant in the room, it taught me that we could still have fun, just as normal children would.

“Even though there was something that had gone drastically wrong in our lives and hurt us deeply, it taught me that I could still feel happiness, friendship and love, without having to talk about that person, or bring them up.

“We’ve put that aside and had fun like normal kids would and that brought a lot of warmth to me.”

It’s been so useful to feel that I’m not alone

Another young person added:

“A big thing for me dealing with grief, is that a lot of the time I feel I have to cope alone.

“Coming here as really helped me and made me realise the fear I have about death, many people have it – it’s common and it’s okay. The support I’ve had from the group, is that it’s okay to not be okay and I have so many people that I can relate to and talk to. It’s been so useful to feel that I’m not alone.”

My children learnt new coping mechanisms

Tina, mum of one of the young people said:

“The main skills my children learnt were new coping mechanisms and a way to bring them back up from their down days and anxieties.

“They came away realising they weren’t alone and made friends with similar experiences.”

A way of accessing, expressing and processing the most difficult and unspeakable feelings

Jules Kirk, Treetops therapeutic services manager and head of children’s services, explained more:

“The Mollitiam Projx allows us to support those affected by traumatic bereavement, who are not quite ready to talk about their experience and offer them another way of processing their grief.

“Sometimes when you have been through a traumatic experience, it can be hard to articulate or process your feelings. With guidance, these non-talking therapies offer a way of accessing, expressing and processing the most difficult and unspeakable feelings.

“As the project is all group work, it gives the young people the opportunity to be with others who have had a similar life event so they feel less alone or isolated.

“It has been fantastic to see the young people making new friendships within the group and having fun, despite their difficult circumstances. The fact they have all been bereaved seemed to bring them together.”




The programme is available to young people who are registered with a GP practice in Derby city or the southern Derbyshire area, or have used Treetops Hospice Care services.

Parents, carers and professionals can refer young people onto the programme and self-referrals can also be made by young people aged 13yrs or above.

Further information is available by contacting the Counselling and Emotional Support team on 0115 949 6944 or by emailing therapy@treetopshospice.org.uk

Funding for the new programme has come from the Hospice UK Masonic Charitable Foundation Hospice Bereavement Care Programme.

Treetops services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.