Did you notice how many of us reached for creative activities when the Covid-19 lockdown hit us in 2020? Writing, art, craft, sewing, dancing, learning languages, gardening, home decorating… so many people found satisfaction and solace in creating things and learning new creative skills while furloughed or shielding.
It’s well-documented that creative writing and writing for self expression can help people feel better, deal with difficult experiences and feelings, and look after themselves through illness and mental health struggles. The pen and page provide a place in which to talk and express ourselves at any time of day or night. It will always listen, and there’s no charge. Neat handwriting and spelling don’t matter and this sort of writing does not have to be shared unless the writer wishes it. It cannot be done ‘wrong’. That’s a liberating thought.
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 support. I’ve volunteered with Cruse Bereavement Care and Macmillan, 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 safely 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.