Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) is a growing field of research and practice. This course aims to prepare students for the challenges and demands of working in the field of CWTP. The core values of the course are humanistic and person-centred, emphasising people’s potential for growth, change and movement in a positive direction in their lives.
A Bristol based course offering the option of a one year part-time non-clinical PGCert, or non-clinical PGDip on completion of a further part-time year. Participants then have the option to complete a research dissertation and obtain the MSc award
Time commitment: The programme is taught over 10 weekends per academic year, in each of the first two years. Participants may choose to undertake a research project in Year Three.
Developing student awareness of people’s experiences and emotions in health and illness through the arts and the therapeutic value of the arts in clinical practice.
These sessions give an overview of the domain of Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP), applications and research. Students have the opportunity to reflect on moments of change/learning through creative writing, in order to increase their understanding and awareness of the potential of creative writing. Writing and sharing within the group is part of this experiential session.
Boosting confidence in narrating practical and professional experience.
Word power and reflective writing are important skill for nurses preparing for practical work and reporting from the field. During this session, Claire encourages visual narrative and writing in poetic form to build confidence in reflective practice.
As part of the Foundation Degree in Counselling, Claire facilitates a Creative Therapeutic Writing Summer School. This week-long programme supports students to explore their relationship, with language, metaphor, imagery and the use of creative writing: in the counselling encounter; for reflective practice and for personal development.
Claire is an assessor for APEL applications and the MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, which employs a range of social science methodologies, including Narrative Inquiry, Poetic Inquiry, Autoethnography, Action Research, Phenomenological and Heuristic Inquiry.
‘Righting the Self: Life sustaining effects of writing’ was the topic of Claire’s Masters dissertation. Looking particularly at the work of Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf, Claire explored the phenomenological and psychotherapeutic effects of writing
‘The socialisation of the young in literature’ was the topic of Claire’s undergraduate dissertations, exploring the work of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Antonia White.
Click on the book cover to read more:
Fal Publications (ISBN 0-9544980-9-7)
eds Zeeba Ansari & Victoria Field
Chapter: Reflections of a Writing Practitioner Reflections on working in the field of ‘Writing for Therapeutic Purposes’
This book celebrates the completion of Words for Well-Being, a three year Arts Council South West Lottery-funded series of workshops and training organised by Lapidus Cornwall. It includes articles, reflections, poems, stories and accounts of workshops by over 30 contributors who participated in the programme. Contributors: Mari Alschuler, Roselle Angwin, Zeeba Ansari, Gillie Bolton, Ted Bowman, Angie Butler, Caroline Carver, Geri Chavis, Dorothy Coventon, Cathy Davey, Llyn Evans, Victoria Field, Rose Flint, Fiona Friend, Rosie Hadden , Jenny Hamlett, David Hart, Rebecca Hazzard, Hilary Hendra, Elaine Holman, John Killick, Mary Lunnen, Eleanor Maxted, Bill Mycock, Myra Schneider, Sandra Sheppard, Penelope Shuttle, Angela Stoner, Jane Tozer, George Wallace, Claire Williamson, Rogan WolfBuy Prompted to Write
Jessica Kingsley Publishers (ISBN 1-84310-468-7)
Eds by Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field, Kate Thompson
Contribution: ‘Writer’s Mask’ exercise in chapter ‘Different Masks’
An empty catkin
has shed all its golden pollen
given everything up
like good boy
This combination of poetry and cultural contextualising presents the case for poetics as a form for autoethnographic writing after bereavement by suicide.
I was already working as a poet when my brother took his own life in January 2003 and found poetic expression to be a place where silence was subverted to ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant’ (Emily Dickinson). The landscape of poetics: metaphor, imagery, characters, voices and reflection provide a creative context in which to inhabit. Poems in my books, Ride On (PoTA Press, 2005) and Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018) explore the aftermath of suicide. With a narrative element to both collections, they interrogate topics such as shame, guilt, blame, violence, memory and the legacies that live on.
Aims and Objectives of session:
CWTP is a skilled profession, requiring therapeutic and literary sensibilities, CWTP specific knowledge and the ability to facilitate a research-informed, safe and inspirational environment. This workshop will suggest key elements of preparation and support for CWTP practitioners, and ask: How do CWTP practitioners attain, maintain and develop their competence?
The focus of this panel is the application of Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) in the UK. With the government facing growing mental health issues, an arts and health agenda is emerging. Lapidus is the UK organisation that provides networks and information for people interested in writing for wellbeing.
Metanoia Institute provides a Masters-level course in CWTP to prepare writers for the challenges of working at this growing edge (www.metanoia.ac.uk/cwtp). Many writers take up residencies in institutions where people may have a history of trauma (e.g. prisons) and need appropriate support to assess competence and find appropriate interventions for vulnerable people.
Creative Writing students often draw on their own histories, whether requested to ‘write about what you know…’ or not. As Micheline Wandor (2004) raises, there are pedagogic issues around teachers managing groups where students use themselves as subject. Meanwhile, creative writing students find that outcomes from their studies inform contemporary social issues.
Some counsellors and psychotherapists use creative writing activities and bibliotherapy to support client expression (Hedges, 2005) and creative arts are being incorporated in some therapeutic trainings.
The medical profession are looking towards patient narratives for information on treating patients (Baruch, 2013) and creative reflective practice has become an important strand in medical training on medical courses (e.g. School of Social and Community Medicine – University of Bristol)
This panel aims to open up the questions and ethics of CWTP and hopes to bridge some of the, at times, uncomfortable divide between creative writing and CWTP.
In response to both an increasing recognition that creative writing is therapeutic within health and social care settings and a need for ethically sound and well-versed practitioners, courses in CWTP have been growing over the last twenty or so years, alongside the rise of Lapidus (The UK Writing for Wellbeing Organisation) with an expanding literature and research base on the topic.
As Programme Leader for the MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at Metanoia Institute, I will share the story so far in developing this M-level course, both at University of Bristol and with Middlesex University, holding a wide remit of creative writing literature, therapeutic literature, CWTP literature, groupwork, assessment and preparing students for social science research.
Many unique research projects have arisen from the course, important discoveries for CWTP practice. Learning has taken place around programming and management of an academic course teaching students how to facilitate and research a therapeutic creative art; this learning is potentially transferable to similar courses around the world.
This session offers a mixture of presentation, writing and discussion.