Writing as Therapy
Writing as therapy and for wellbeing is different to creative writing for publication. There is no critique of work, no discussion of writing techniques or preparing work for publication. It is purely writing with a therapeutic purpose, perhaps in a group or in individual counselling sessions. Perhaps writing will enable you to work through issues that are too difficult to talk about and allow you to move on through them.
Research has shown that writing, and creativity in general, can be beneficial for individual wellbeing. Additional research has demonstrated it to have been effective in helping with mental health problems, and even physical health problems like asthma and arthritis. It has revealed that people who take part in writing groups with a therapeutic outcome have a reduction in the visits their GPs.
The wind dances through the trees, the flowers,
and you can hear it, and the songs
of different birds and animals; nature
rises above us in our hours,
Jacqui Empson-High - April 2020
I offer therapeutic/writing with a therapeutic purpose/writing for wellbeing to groups and individuals.
I also offer supervision in this area as there is a growing body of research and awareness that practitioners working in this area may be dealing with complex or difficult mental health issues. Often, writers may not have had counselling training, or only basic skills training, or experience and may feel out of their depth if these issues emerge in sessions. Having somewhere to discuss and 'offload' them enables the safety of the practitioner and the group members to be monitored, maintained and signposted to further support if necessary.
The important point to remember about writing for wellbeing is that it is not the finished product that is important but the process of actually writing. That is the different between creative writing and writing for health and wellbeing.
If you have had negative experiences around 'creative writing' or think your writing is 'no good', don't worry. It does not matter when you write for your wellbeing. It is the process of putting the words on the paper that is healing. It does not matter what the final piece of writing looks like.
Different Types of Therapeutic Writing
Writing within therapy
This type of writing is usually carried out on a one-to-one basis as part of counselling but can be undertaken as part of a therapy group.
This is always offered by a trained counsellor who can hold the client in that therapeutic space and have the experience to deal with any issues that may surface during the session.
Therapeutic writing groups
The facilitator/counsellor provides opportunities for the clients to move beyond 'talking therapy' word. Writing can be a way of reaching and uncovering deeper areas and bringing them to the surface to be acknowledged and worked with in a safe space
This type of writing is always offered by a trained counsellor, preferably a writer themselves or an interest in the benefits of writing for wellbeing, who are able to hold the client safely and confidentially.
Writing groups with therapeutic outcomes
This is where the aim is for personal development, where members of the group are supportive of one another. Although not specifically a therapeutic session, a high degree of confidentiality is maintained.
These groups can be in Primary Health Care e.g. GP practices, or community settings or in mental health or physical health care in hospitals.
This type of writing can be used by other therapists as part of CPD or a personal development group. It is also useful for organisations requiring team-building for new teams or to refresh established teams, to give them new ideas to move forward and develop the business. It can also be used to address work-based issues if the facilitator is external to the organisation and confidentiality is assured.
This type of writing can be offered either by a writer with some counselling skills or a counsellor who writes and/or is interested in words for wellbeing. Larger groups are better facilitated by two people, perhaps a counsellor and a writer together.
- I can offer all three of the above to:
- Individuals in therapy
- Groups requiring therapy using writing either in the community or hospital setting
- Counsellors/therapist as part of Continuing Professional Development, either as a one-off session or a series of closed group workshops
- Counsellors/therapists as an ongoing, closed Personal Development group
- GP practices for patients or staff
- Community groups
- Organisations, (if larger groups I work with a writer to assist facilitation), in the voluntary, private or statutory sectors
Individuals within therapy sessions - as per counselling session price
Groups - specifically therapy groups - by negotiation
Groups - CPD/PD - by negotiation
Health care settings - by negotiation or a funded number of sessions
Community Groups - by negotiation or a funded number of sessions
Organisations - by negotiation