The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

By Gillie Bolton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Approaches to Therapeutic Writing:
‘But Who Are You?’

In the beginning was the word.

(St John 1:1)

Give sorrow words: the grief, that does not speak,
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.

(Macbeth III iv 24)

Art gives a voice to suffering.

(Stephen K Levine)

Who are you? What is your suffering? Does it want to be heard? Why? How can this be done? Who can best facilitate this to help me with the question: who am I? Different approaches to the use of writing in attempting to respond to these questions is examined in this chapter.


Words and voices

The three statements which precede this chapter would seem to contradict each other. If there is the word before anything else, why do we need writing (and psychotherapy, etc) to express sorrow and suffering? We need them because the heart becomes ‘o’er-fraught’ when words of pain and suffering have gone round and round in the head silently – unexpressed and uncommunicated. The value of therapy lies in its facilitation of communication and development of respect for feelings. In the quote from Macbeth at the beginning of this chapter, Malcolm is chiding Macduff for not sharing the pain he is clearly feeling at hearing of the murder of his wife and children, for not giving it the space it clearly warranted. Levine continues from his above quote: ‘To dance suffering, to paint it or put it into poetic form

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