Writing as Therapy

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Writing as Therapy

Postby Imagine » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:36 pm

[color=blue]Barbara, I found your musings about what to call the Write-Speak forum very relevant to an issue I have been trying to explore for a long time. As a former English teacher and one who loves to read and write, I always knew that writing was therapeutic. Well, that may go without saying to those of us who have kept journals all our lives. What I have been trying to find is a school which trains people to be writing therapists in the same way that they train people to become art therapists. Why is it was can recognize that the act of creating with the eye and hand is a form of therapy but we fail to acknowledge that putting the pen to paper (or the fingers to keyboards) is almost always done as a developmental tool. The problem is one cannot just put out a sign called, "Writing Therapist" and then have people sign up to conduct a class or one on one guidance without getting in big trouble from some government agency whose job is legitimately to make sure that everything is on the up and up. So just as you ponder what to call the forum, so do I ponder on what to call the process of assisting others to find the therapeutic value of writing. Any ideas from the group? Any info on schools which may have this option? Linda Rancho Cucamonga Registered Success Team Leader[color=darkblue
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Writing to clear the mind

Postby Hawkeye » Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:43 pm

Hi, Linda, I am reading Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", 2005 tenth anniversary edition. Her growth and healing activities are centered on writing, no matter what artistic pursuit one follows. It can feel like a purge of fears. Essentially, she says, every morning, do a Brain Drain. Write down all the whines and worries and fears, keep it private, too. She refers to these as Morning Pages. I note that I get the anxiety out, plus find action and remedy ideas within each posting. Later, instead of ruminating, I recall that the fears are all safely stowed in the Pages. I also am able to refashion the phrasing to positive ideas when verbalizing later to friends and family and supporters. The book is in a step by step sort of workbook format. Excellent. Revisit it if you haven't in a while! Best, Pat "Hawkeye" Wulfson, creativity coach, Dover Studio of Fine Arts, "a bridge from self-doubt to self-confidence"
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Postby ScootermanII » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:16 pm

After a psychiatrist finally, correctly, AND ACCIDENTALLY, diagnosed what my medical problem as multiple sclerosis, MS, and then didn't bother refunding any of the fees I paid him for 18 months of office visits, I began writing down many of my bizarre stories and concluded, doing that, i.e., writing, was a "cheap form of psychotherapy!" After I realized that people usually laughed at the stories I told, I considered what was really happening. I concluded they were laughing at my stories because they felt laughing was the only socially acceptable thing they could do upon hearing something they just were so relieved hadn't happened to them! It was the exact same reaction males have when they watch a baseball game and see the poor catcher get hit in his "privates" with a foul tip! Based on that observation, the name I came up with for my stories and sense of humor was, "Cup Humor!" Stan
Very little is truly impossible in this day and age as long as you have the right resources available, the time to get the task done and have some creativity.
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Postby dani » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:38 pm

Imagine, You raise a very interesting and cogent issue. Here's what I think the problem is: art, dance and music can be simplified to meet the needs of people at all levels of cognition. Therefore, these therapies can be used in their simplest form on a broad spectrum of the population. Most schools which train in the medical or helping professions focus on bringing a problem to the status quo, or functional, level. Writing goes beyond these basic concepts. It takes a higher level of functioning to formulate thoughts and then put them in writing. Private psychotherapists or others involved with an over-all higher functioning population than say, vocational rehabilitation, serve people with the conceptual skills to write in at least a journaling fashion. So, they're able to build some form of writing therapy into their practice. Why don't you look into starting a credentialed program or school? You see, the practice areas mentioned above run a risk of having higher functioning people fall through the cracks--they just aren't equipped to meet their needs. It seems to me that writing therapy would be a valuable auxiliary service for many settings. I really encourage you to pursue this. One of my beefs about human services in general is that it focuses on resolving negative situations to the exclusion of helping people who, with some support, could well move into an achievement mode. I apologize if this post seems overly general or even erudite. English teachers have that effect on me. :roll: :oops: Best, dani
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Postby Serial Diver » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:37 pm

Linda, Here's a link to an online article called \"A Brief History of Journal Therapy\": http://www.journaltherapy.com/rosen.htm This link is for the Progoff Intensive Journal Program for Self-Development: http://www.intensivejournal.org/ Here's the home page for Dr. James Pennebaker, who's done research on writing as a tool for coping with stress: http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage ... WPhome.htm Best wishes, SD
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Postby dani » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:03 pm

Serial Diver, those links are really good. The problem is that non of the certification programs appear to be connected to accredited academic institutions. Many professional associations offer certifications of various types, which can be very good. These certifications are usually add-ons for people with basic field and academic credentials who want to specialize in an area. Linda, I was under the impression that you were looking for academic accreditation for writing therapy as an independent entity. Considering that such exists for music and art therapy, there's no reason why writing shouldn't be included. My searches just don't turn up such schools. On the other hand, it might be good to connect with the linked organizations SD recommends to see what's going on for certification. They may know of schools which offer that, or at least be allies in working for academic certification. Best, dani :)
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Postby Serial Diver » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:30 pm

I just remembered a wonderful woman named Irene Borger, who started leading writer's workshop at a center for people living with HIV. I knew I'd be able to dig up a link: http://www.thebody.com/apla/nov00/workshop.html She'd be a great role model, as she didn't have therapeutic credentials, and I see they mention \"teaching the teacher\" workshops. Assuming that you don't want to go back and get some sort of mental health credential, I'd look for a term other than \"writing therapy.\" Something like \"transformational writing\" or \"writing to heal\" or \"Journal something\"... You get the picture. SD
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Postby Serial Diver » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:15 pm

One more link, this one for the Amherst Writers & Artists Certificate Training: http://www.amherstwriters.com/CertTrai.html SD
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Postby suzanonymous » Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:53 pm

imagine/Linda wrote: "So just as you ponder what to call the forum, so do I ponder on what to call the process of assisting others to find the therapeutic value of writing. Any ideas from the group? Any info on schools which may have this option?" Isn't this called journaling or keeping a diary? I think it doesn't occur to everyone to keep a diary, usually starting when they are teenagers, or they do and their parents or siblings or someone steals and trashes their diaries and then they never again take up this very private but rewarding writing. That is, I can believe that some people could just use a reminder and helpful nudge. I remember reading there was a study done of the effects of journaling and they were just as good as therapy. I'm pretty sure I read about this in Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence, that people would do the familiar pattern to me of starting out an entry writing about frustrations and venting and slowly progress toward a more even keel and more neocortex sorts of thinking. If you have the patience, time, money for going back to school to become a LCSW or therapist you could, once licensed, surely use your sessions with clients to help them find the therapeutic benefits of writing. I remember reading Reviving Ophelia, whose author (Mary Pipher) gives her clients homework assignments and that (if I recall correctly) gets them back on track sooner. I mean, once you're licensed, you can use your own best judgment and develop a reputation for helping people in this way. Pipher was known in her community before writing that book as someone very effective with teen girls (which is the topic of her book).
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Book by Stephanie Dowrick on Creative Journal Writing

Postby bethanyjoy » Sun May 06, 2007 9:22 pm

The renowned Australian writer Stephanie Dowrick has just released a book called Creative Journal Writing. It is a wonderful mixtures of tips, observations and suggestions about writing for pleasure, therapy, relaxation or as the foundation for professional writing. Not sure how widely available it is beyond Australia - but highly recommended.
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Postby barefootwriter » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:32 am

Here's a link that explains the research on why putting words to feelings helps: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 090727.htm
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Postby ajpor » Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:51 pm

Progoff Intensive Journal workshops are fabulous! Tremendously revealing and helpful. Cost to become a facilitator is steep - around $10K, I think. If you are near a very large metro area, it might be worth the investment. Have you tried Creative Journal process by Dr. Lucia Capacchione? It's well regarded, I understand. She's an art therapist and does offer certification. Find out more here: http://www.luciac.com/ Sample exercises can be found here: http://www.healthy.net/creativejournal/ Good luck! jean
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Postby Trueasiteverwas » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:25 pm

While not related directly to any certification, With pen in hand : the healing power of writing by Henriette Anne Klauser is a whole book on writing therapy.
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