Creative writing to help soldiers deal with trauma

Soldiers suffering severe physical and psychological after-effects of war are to benefit from expressive writing workshops to help process and transcend their trauma.

The use of creative writing as therapy will be core to the Operation Homecoming programme to help heal service members at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland who have been affected by traumatic brain injuries and psychological health conditions.  Continue reading

the healing power of a grief journal

Tears streamed down my face when I read about a woman who had lost her only child chart her journey through journaling. This post is really worth reading on Life Goes Strong, entitled Writing for Life: How Journal Writing Helps Heal One Mother’s Grief.

Writing really was therapy in this case, for Tamara Thomas, and the process took her through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance – and the tasks of mourning: to accept the reality of loss; to work through the feelings about that loss; to learn to live without the person you’ve lost; and to Continue reading

rap star feels the therapeutic benefits of writing his life story

Writing down my ‘stuff’ – letting it flow on the page and then close the book on it – has long been my therapeutic secret. While it’s great to have a therapist with whom to share  and pick over the darkest, most uncomfortable aspects of one’s character, there’s something about the easy availability and non-judgemental nature of pages in a notebook that are all-ears all times of the day.

Which is why it’s inspiring to hear how rapper Dizzee Rascal, in writing his autobiography with the aid of a ghostwriter, felt the process of telling his story was ‘like therapy’. He told the Evening Standard that he had lots of Continue reading

a poem after the london riots

The lasting legacy of ludicrous riots:

what will that mean for me?

Not the mobs in their looted trainers,

or the YouTube vigilantes;

not the columns condemning violence

or the angry-eyed document’ries.

Maybe the broom-wielding Wombles

or the Continue reading

does writing help you deal with your own darkness?

I’m not the only writer who infuses her fiction with the shadowy elements of her psyche.

Who knows what can emerge from the shadows of the unconscious?

I’ve just read an interview with thriller writer Mo Hayder – winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library 2011 award – where she says her writing helps her deal with the darkness in her mind. By fictionalising what terrifies her most, she is able to allay the intensity of her fears.

Psychoanalytic theory suggests that characters in novels are all projections of the author’s anxieties, neuroses and inner conflicts which the author him/herself may not be fully conscious of. It is this unconscious element that Continue reading

why I need a room of my own on a boat on the Broads

I know I don’t appreciate things until I don’t have them any more – that’s human nature. But boy have I missed a room of my own since embarking on a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads.

Norfolk Broads boat

Boating on the Broads

Before departing, I had imagined a serene journey along the river network of Norfolk, gliding past wildlife and other friendly ‘sailors’ with their jaunty hats and jovial waves, and plenty of time and space to think and write.

I was right about the first two, but wrong about the second. Not used to ‘camping’ or managing without wi-fi broadband, hot running water, and the ability to Continue reading

guilt about not writing

Not writing is like a shadow on my shoulder, always projecting itself in front of or behind me; always making me aware of its dark, pressured presence.

Not writing feels like I’m cheating myself of something.

Not writing and pretending that life is OK without writing is being in denial about my true life force, and what sustains me.

Not writing means missing out on Continue reading