When we feel stressed or unhappy, or if we want to reflect on our experiences and check in with our thoughts and feelings, it helps to talk. Sometimes, though, our thoughts and feelings are too difficult, private or confusing to talk about.
Writing can help. The page can be a friend at any time of day or night. It will always listen. All you need is a pen and paper and a quiet place. Neat handwriting and spelling don’t matter and you don’t have to share it unless you wish to. You cannot do this kind of writing ‘wrong’; you can only do it your way, which will be the right way for you.
There are many writers who offer writing as a complement to talking therapies. Some are trained counsellors and psychotherapists, and some in those occupations are also skilled at offering writing as part of their support to clients. You can find out more from Lapidus, the UK organisation for writing for wellbeing.
I use writing in bereavement counselling. I’ve been a volunteer with Cruse Bereavement Care and I have run writing groups with the bereavement counselling teams at Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey and the Macmillan team at Meadow House Hospice in west London.
My book, Writing in Bereavement, A Creative Handbook, is a practical guide for counsellors, therapists, volunteers and others involved in helping people after a bereavement. It’s full of ideas and structured exercises to enable people to write about their memories, feelings and thoughts as they work through grief.
The book is part of a series published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers entitled’ Writing for personal development and therapy’. The series includes titles by leading practitioners such as Gillie Bolton and Kate Thompson.
I run training sessions for counsellors and volunteers which are designed to provide a taste of some of the ways in which writing can help people express themselves. I tailor the sessions to the size and interest of a group, and they can take place over a couple of hours or a half or full day.
Contact me to find out more about writing for wellbeing and training sessions.