Thursday, 22 October 2015

Writing - as therapy

When I write I feel better in fact it is almost a treatment for me.

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Writing therapy

Writing therapy has been in use for many years but not necessarily described as a therapy. There are writing interventions online, in schools, in colleges and more. It is often delivered by a consultant and is built around tasks that involve the subject writing about situations in a variety of ways. On such intervention which is in common usage is the writing of a letter never intended to be sent. I have taught letter writing in school in this way and have seen it used by writing forums as an exercise.

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WWII diarist.

Anne Frank is a shining example of the power of writing therapy. Here is the above quote completed and while reading it remember this girl was in hiding from the Nazis for two years before her eventual capture and death in a prisoner of war camp.

“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year old school girl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing.” ~ Anne Frank

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Bad dreams

We are told that if you are having unsettled nights and troubled dreams to keep a notepad by the bed and write down what you dreamed. That process is supposed to help rid your brain of the problem. I have my smartphone by the bed and voice record words that occur during the dark hours. It has led me to write poems and include ideas in the fiction I produce.

Writing as a therapy is cheap, available to all and works on everything from anxiety to depression. Unlike many treatments there are no side-effects, it is available to anyone of any age, pretty much anywhere, over the counter. Jim Pollard, writer and editor with a particular interest in men's health, states that if it were a drug it would have a larger profile than Viagra, but you don't need pharmaceutical companies just a pen and a piece of paper. The miracle treatment is what I'm doing right now - writing.

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Talking therapies are much lauded at the moment and when I was wanting help with depression I would have loved to try it rather than the chemical intervention. In the end I began writing. The beauty of writing over talking is that you can write whatever and if you don't like it tear it up and try again. You can choose the words, the tone and the scope in short you are in control. For those less comfortable in verbalising their problems it provides the ideal medium, as it is concrete and available anywhere.

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Finally, therapeutic writing can unleash creative writing. The above poster says it all really and the style, content, quantity and genre are entirely your choice. Feel empowered.

I leave this with a beautiful quote from Anne Frank's Diary,

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” ~ Anne Frank

God Bless