There are many books written on writing for therapy, but in response to questions asked about my own experience as a Writing for Therapy Tutor I have decided to write 6 free blogs starting today and over the next 5 Wednesdays. .
Introduction followed by:
Week 1 What is the problem?
Week 2 What answers can I find through writing words?
Week 3 Sharing
Week 4 Writing tool kit, with exercises.
Week 5 Responsibility with words and creativity.
Week 6 Don’t give up writing.
Introduction of myself and the subject:
When I started writing seriously and then qualified to be a creative writing tutor, my journey into writing for therapy began.
Firstly, I realised that in teaching a creative subject much about peoples lives spilled out. It isn’t like teaching maths or history when you are dealing with presumed facts.
Secondly, there was scope for using writing alongside other resources for people looking for a hand up in life.
Thirdly, 25 years ago, it was a journey into the unknown. Now creativity in many fields is used to help people along the road of life, including Writing for Therapy.
I have worked in mental health units, at centres for homeless people, in prisons and in adult education centres.
I have been teaching: Creative Writing – communication studies and media.
Now I am retired from paid work, but I am involved in teaching Creative Writing in Sri Lanka. As a volunteer I have worked in schools for girls and teacher training. The idea is to use creative writing skills alongside English grammar and it has met with higher success rates in English as a second language, especially confidence in speaking another language. More on that another time.
Let’s get started:
Which one are you?
I can’t write as I am not creative,
I love writing, but I have not used it for therapy.
If you don’t think you can write it is not an exact subject. Give it a go and keep practicing. It is not about marks out of 10.
If you love writing, it’s a question of finding out how to add on exercises to what is already a way of life – writing for pleasure.
I’ll start with a simple exercise. But it is surprising how difficult some people find it – usually those with and a good academic brain.
1 word, add 19 more.
Lesson. Stop being exact to word numbers, but try and get imaginative.
Not a word association. Go all over the place – let creativity begin.
Write as fast as you can without thinking.
Easy for some takes longer for others.
Rainbow, blue, crisps, shops, coffee, warmth, cold, gloves, elegance, drama, T.V. stories, children, loaves of bread, cooking, mother, memories, photos, albums music .
This took approximately 20 seconds, but then I am used to doing it. Some words obviously connect for me, others not so sure why they came into my mind.
Now I have words to play with and I can go on forever taking out a word and repeating.
If your words associate too closely to the first word and you don’t go anywhere keep doing it. You might like to do the exercise with someone else, or in a group.
The purpose of the exercise – to loosen up your mind. A useful exercise before writing.
Don’t read too much into your list. We will return to it later, but not to analyse. You might find it interesting.
Please don’t think you need to be good at spelling or writing – be prepared to keep going. Share your writing or keep it to yourself – it doesn’t matter.
For writers who write – try something new to write about – check your writing has a work/life balance.
Writing for Therapy can work because it is a journey, because you can share.
No therapeutic resource is a one size fits all. I hope this introduction to writing for therapy free course, may be just one small stepping stone across the rivers of life.
Who is it for
What answers can I find through words?
I wrote a novel when early retirement from the day job gave me the chance. I write with a sense of humor because that’s what comes naturally to me. I love making up characters and stories.
Is it therapy? – Yes – it keeps me happy and interested in life. I’m not trying to overcome or deal with anything. Writing can be pure escapism. A place where you make friends and meet people – real and imagined.
Is it magical? – No – but I get a lot out of it.
My debut novel
Brenda H Sedgwick,
Author. Marriage, a Journey and a Dog. Unusual romance and comedy. Can be read on the beach with ice cream and a smile.
Ebook and a paperback http://tinyurl.com/gp9maje