The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself


Writing is a means of making sense of experience, and of arriving at a deeper understanding of the self. The use of creative writing therapeutically can complement verbal discussions, and offers a cost- and time-effective way of extending support to depressed or psychologically distressed patients. Suitable both for health-care professionals who wish to implement therapeutic writing with their patients, and for those wishing to start writing creatively in order to help themselves, The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing provides practical, well tried and tested suggestions for beginning to write and for developing writing further. It includes ideas for writing individually and for directing groups, and explores journal writing, poetry, fiction, autobiography and writing out trauma, with established writers and those who have taken up writing for private enjoyment.


Quality of life for patients and professionals is clearly important. We need to change our understanding as to how it might be improved. Physical problems, pain and disability, have always received a great deal of attention, and psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression, are being increasingly investigated. Writing therapy is a relatively new development. It provides opportunities for self-reflection for both patients and practitioners. Putting down on paper what you feel and how you are responding to a personal or professional issue can be therapeutic. Gillie Bolton’s book emphasises the role of creative writing and begins an evaluation of its potential.

It is part of a broader movement of linking the arts (visual, dramatic, literature, etc.) to the physical, psychological and social problems of patients in communities. Such initiatives are to be welcomed as they open up new possibilities for improving well-being in the broadest sense. An assessment of its value is also important to ensure that time and effort are appropriately directed.

I therefore welcome this volume as a contribution to improving both patient care and the understanding of professional staff in dealing with complex patient problems.

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer March 1998

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